Ryan Company Snelling/Selby St. Paul Site Moves Forward

Recent developments suggest that the area around Snelling and Selby avenues in St. Paul could get a high-end grocery store and 206-unit apartment complex sooner rather than later.

Green Bay, Wis.-based Associated Bank, which needs to move its current branch so that the mixed-use project can proceed, has purchased a property at 202 Snelling Ave. N., according to a recently filed certificate of real estate value. The bank closed Sept. 4 on the $525,000 purchase of the property, which is one block north of Snelling and Selby. The sellers are Dennis and Kathryn Getten, whose Getten Credit Co. is on the site.

Meanwhile, the St. Paul Planning Commission on Sept. 20 approved a rezoning request to allow for the mixed-use development and the new, roughly 12,000-square-foot bank location. A City Council vote is expected in coming weeks.

Developers Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. US Inc. and Eden Prairie-based The Excelsior Group also have come up with a name for the project: the Vintage on Selby.

Tony Barranco, vice president of development with Ryan, said conversations still continue with Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market Inc. about a 39,000-square-foot grocery store slated for the project. But a publicly shared concept drawing of the project shows a Whole Foods sign on the building.

Green Bay, Wis.-based Associated Bank paid $525,000 for the Getten Credit Co. property at 202 Snelling Ave. N. in St. Paul, one block north of its current branch site at the Snelling and Selby intersection where the Vintage on Selby project is planned. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)

Ryan and Excelsior have a track record with Whole Foods: They packaged a similarly sized Whole Foods into their 286-unit luxury222 Hennepin Apartments, which opened Wednesday in downtown Minneapolis.

“The investment by key property owners over the last few years has really energized the Selby-Snelling area,” said St. Paul economic development director Cecile Bedor. “Ryan recognized that this area has really taken off, and their proposal will complement the other retail in the area and make this part of our city an even more attractive place to live and work.”

The Union Park District Council supports the project because it will bring in more residents, who in turn could patronize local businesses, said Anne White, a retired photographer who is the council’s land-use chairwoman.

“We like it because this is exactly the type of location where new development should be occurring,” White said. She noted the arrival of the Green Line, which is slated to start running light rail trains next year on the other side of Interstate 94, and the Snelling Avenue bus rapid transit line, expected to open in 2015.

Barranco expects demolition to make way for the new bank branch will start soon after the St. Paul City Council approves the rezoning request. Associated Bank will move its operations into the new location in the late second quarter of 2014 as it sells its old location to a Ryan and Excelsior entity.

“We have truly outgrown the building we’re in and are looking forward to greeting our customers with a new and improved banking experience,” Darren Dewing, Associated’s senior vice president and director of retail distribution, said in an August news release.

The plan is to have the Vintage on Selby open in 2015.

The Twin Cities is in the midst of an apartment development boom, with Finance & Commercetracking 19,184 units proposed and in development — many in Minneapolis’ downtown, Uptown and around the University of Minnesota campus.

Developers, however, have been chasing high rents in other areas, including around Southdale Center in Edina and around Highway 100 and Interstate 394 in Golden Valley and St. Louis Park.

Barranco thinks the Snelling and Selby area has its own selling points — “very eclectic, very well-educated,” with longtime businesses and proximity to Macalester College and Concordia University.

“We are feeding on all of those strong attributes,” Barranco said.

Half of Union Park households made more than $54,940 a year from 2005 to 2009, according to its Minnesota Compass neighborhood profile. It was $66,195 across the Twin Cities.

Mary Bujold, president of Minneapolis-based Maxfield Research, questioned whether the area can support luxury apartments, though she thinks student housing is needed. But she also noted the “high bar” to develop, with little available land for apartments.

Source: Finance and Commerce