What’s With St. Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone and Why Does It Matter?

Will the planned Minnesota commercial real estate projects breathe new life and energy into the creative zone, or do they spell a change of direction for local “makers” who might be priced out of the zone that was intended to encourage affordable live and work spaces?

Will High Prices Lead to Dying Creativity?

Rising prices, high demand and new development costs have all been cited as elements that contribute to the current high, and continually rising prices for housing in the Twin Cities and throughout the nation. The dilemma of shrinking opportunities for medium-to-lower-income renters is not limited to specific areas, however, and solutions are not easy.

Affordable housing initiatives that require a certain percentage of units in new developments be set aside as “affordable” are only a band-aid for a major wound, according to critics. In other areas, however, creative live-work spaces and “enterprise zones” allow residents to define their lifestyles in ways that don’t fall into easy categories. That is the vision for the area in the residential and commercial area in Ramsey County between Raymond Avenue in St. Paul and the Minneapolis line. The former warehouse district north and south of University Ave. has been known as the Creative Enterprise Zone for years.

It is a sometimes seedy, sometimes exciting, district that attracts a virtual kaleidoscope of residents, artists, startup firms, creative media types, light industry and others who thrive on the different and the unusual. There is little separation in the area between the workaday world and weekend or “off-duty” lifestyle. The preservation of this kind of distinctive culture has sparked a move that is designed to strengthen the vitality of the zone and preserve it for future creative uses. Through a community-driven development effort, the board of directors of the Creative Enterprise Zone announced that a sum of $205,000 has been secured to fund the effort.

A Diverse Coalition for Growth

Public input is invited to help develop strategies, mobilize support, define possibilities and work toward the defined goals. Current funding will be used to hire a staff person tasked to pursue local ownership of creative maker spaces, and with the goal of boosting operating income through other local real estate strategies.

The national Local Initiatives Support Corp. provided a one-year grant, and the following foundations offered two-year grants: The McKnight Foundation, St. Paul Foundation, Bigelow Foundation and the Mardag Foundation. Public donations are also encouraged. Anyone interested in learning more or participating in other ways is encouraged to contact Creative Enterprise Zone, a non-profit organization headquartered in St. Paul.

Co-working is Back: What This Means for CRE

With the need for full-time work-from-home declining, many professionals are seeking out new co-working spaces and are bringing new expectations and trends with them. Commercial real estate experienced rapid changes in the last couple of years, and some developers failed to adapt to these changes. Commercial real estate property managers need to be aware of […]

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The Future of the Hospitality Industry

Even though many people have cut back on travel this summer, there are some who believe that stay-at-home vacations represent a continuing trend. In fact, the hospitality industry is gearing up for travelers as soon as worldwide restrictions become even a little less restrictive. That’s good news for commercial real estate and construction, in addition […]

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The Future of Commercial Office Space

As people return to work, just what will the office environment have in store for them? Will it be totally automated or will it even exist? There are “experts” on both sides of the fence. Some who once predicted that office buildings of the future would be substantially revamped to accommodate greater workplace flexibility now […]

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