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Construction to begin on St. Paul’s long-delayed downtown Penfield project

The  major downtown building will have 254 apartments on top of a Lunds grocery store.

The Penfield site on Monday night, with construction still pending.

The Penfield project — a major downtown St. Paul building that will have 254 apartments on top of a Lunds grocery store — is going up. At last.

Officials closed on the financing Friday, and construction was scheduled to start this week. An official groundbreaking will be held in mid-July.

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The $62 million building is going up on the site of the former downtown police and fire headquarters, on the block bordered by 10th, 11th, Minnesota and Robert.

Early versions of the project were floated in 2004, but the recession and financing problems kept derailing the effort.

Finally, with the scaled-down version getting a HUD  commitment for mortgage insurance in May, it got the green light.

The market-rate apartments, (as opposed to subsidized ones) will be near the coming Central Corridor light-rail line connecting downtown St. Paul with downtown Minneapolis, via University Avenue.

The project is owned by St. Paul’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority and managed by Village Green. The architectural firm is The BKV Group, and WEIS Builders is the general contractor.

Here are the tentative plans for early work on the site:

Week 1 (This Week):

  •  Preliminary work, and site  clearing and abatement begin.

Weeks 2 & 3

  • Complete abatement, remove skyway, complete perimeter fencing and gates, install temporary steel footings and start temporary steel.

Week 4

  • Temporary steel installation and demolition work to begin within the building.