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Ramsey County gets ‘bargain price’ for Metro Square building

Ramsey County got a good deal, apparently, on the mostly-vacant Metro Square building in downtown St. Paul, paying $4 million for the 350,000-square-foot office building, or a rock-bottom price of not much more than $11 per square foot, says Finance and Commerce.

The county still plans to spend an additional $10 million in upgrades and overhauling the HVAC and other systems.

The county will use the building to house employees now based in the old West Publishing site on the river bluff in downtown St. Paul.

Says Finance and Commerce:

Ramsey County bought the building at 121 East Seventh Place from the Miami Beach, Fla.-based LNR Partners Inc. The lender had taken control of the property when the owner handed it back (a deed in lieu of foreclosure) in 2008.

Julio Mangine, director of property management for Ramsey County, said that when the county first began pursuing the building, the price was $14 million.

The county bought the building in order to relocate remaining county employees out of the old West Publishing complex on Kellogg Boulevard. The county has been shopping that site, overlooking the riverfront, for redevelopment for years, but plans have fizzled.

In the long term, the county is hoping to improve the redevelopment prospects for the riverfront site by vacating the building.

“The overall plan is that we’d have everyone out of the West building who’s going to go to Metro Square by late 2011,” Mangine said.

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