Skyway to Nowhere Removed
On Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, crews took down the famed Skyway to Nowhere, a downtown Saint Paul anomaly that has baffled residents and visitors alike for more than a decade. Construction crews are now able to remove much the brick façade that encapsulates the former Macy’s department store on the corner of Wabasha and Cedar Streets. In its a place will be a more welcoming design with ample windows.
Upon completion, in the fall of 2017, Wabasha Center will be home to a number of office and retail tenants. These will include a local brew pub, restaurant, health care provider and NHL-standard size ice rink fully enclosed on the rooftop.
“Right now, we are seeing significant traction with the project,” said Lee Krueger, president, Saint Paul Port Authority. “The Minnesota Wild signed the first lease in December 2016, which set-off a flurry of activity from others interested in being a part of this developing urban hub. Based on current negotiations, we expect to be 90 percent leased six months before the doors even open.”
Many in the community have asked about the availability of ice time. Community access to the ice rink will be critical to the success of the new Wabasha Center. It is estimated that the Minnesota Wild will only use roughly five percent of available ice time, leaving substantial opportunities for hockey tournaments, youth leagues, college teams and figure skating groups.
Because asbestos was found in the skyway structure, and its weight of 120,000 pounds created transportation challenges, it is being recycled (following asbestos removal). Should another building come in across Wabasha Street, Wabasha Center owner(s) will be responsible for replacing the skyway. The building is currently co-owned by Hempel Companies and the Saint Paul Port Authority.