Developer changing deserted St. Paul high-rise into downtown housing

Developer changing deserted St. Paul high-rise into downtown housing

Part of St. Paul’s skyline that has been sitting empty for years will quickly be transformed into downtown housing.

An actual property firm from Illinois not too long ago bought the previous Ecolab College constructing and plans to show the vacant high-rise into 178 housing items by the center of the subsequent yr.

Inland Actual Property Acquisitions cited the property’s best downtown location and skyway entry as the first draw.

As 5 INVESTIGATES first reported, the 16-story constructing was deserted by a earlier developer and almost condemned by town final yr.

John E. Thomas, a convicted felon from Chicago, had additionally deliberate to show it into luxurious flats.

However Thomas was accused of defaulting on a $12-million mortgage and never paying quite a few native contractors employed to renovate the property.

A Ramsey County choose finally took the high-rise away from Thomas’ firm after metropolis inspectors mentioned the constructing had no electrical energy, no warmth, and damaged home windows, which “almost resulted within the condemnation of the property.”

Thomas’s firm purchased the high-rise shortly after he was launched from federal jail in 2017.

He was convicted of stealing greater than $370,000 in taxpayer cash from a south Chicago suburb after promising to redevelop the city’s marina. Prosecutors known as him a “serial con man.”

Throughout an interview inside his workplace in downtown Chicago final yr, Thomas instructed 5 INVESTIGATES he was working to safe extra funding to “re-acquire” the previous Ecolab constructing and was not planning to stroll away from the challenge.

As soon as Inland started the method of buying the property, Thomas supplied a unique response.

“I hope the challenge is (a) success for the subsequent purchaser,” Thomas mentioned in an e-mail final summer time.

Kaeding Improvement Group of Bloomington will function the brand new developer on the challenge, in keeping with a information launch.