Town Square Park

TownSquare.jpg

Summary

The third floor of the Town Square building existed as a city owned indoor park from 1981 to 2000. It was sold in 2002 and operated as an event center briefly before maintenance and subsequent legal battles shuttered it. No public update has been released about the space in over a decade.

The space is a frequent topic in CapitolRiver Council Committee meetings. There are many discussions expressing hope it might be reopened as an indoor public space. There are documented disputes between the owner of the Town Square building and the Town Square Park space and the situation is at a stand still.

Updates

2/27/20 (Submitted by Shevek McKee) - CRC Chair Shevek McKee unsuccessfully attempted to contact Michael Wong via email and telephone in Dec 2019. After John Rupp (Owner of the St. Paul Athletic Club and a handful of buildings on Cathedral Hill) spoke with the Development Review Committee, and a subsequent article was published in the Pioneer Press. Shevek reached out to Mr. Rupp and arranged a tour of Town Square Park on 2/14/20 along with Jonathan Reisetter and Jon Fure.

The following details were related by Mr. Rupp, as recalled by Shevek McKee:

  • The City paid the lower level owner (Sentinel?) ~$20k/year to access the water utility line, there was a dispute between Mr. Wong and lower level owner resulting the in the utility access being shut off. There is now legal authorization for a second line to be run directly to the space but it isn’t in place, presumably there would be an assessment to make that happen. Mr. Rupp speculated that was something that the Port Authority would be able to help with?
  • Freight elevator “big enough to drive a car in” in the Northwest corner.
  • Michael Wong put a commercial kitchen in the West end of space. (Unconfirmed if this vent/hood system is finished, up to code, and currently functional)
  • It was speculated that if equipped with the right kind of transparent solar roof panels, the space might be able to achieve carbon neutrality?? Negative energy??
  • Mr. Rupp says the city can exercise condemnation to guarantee escalator access?
  • Mr. Rupp is Michael Wong’s bank (holds the mortgage), and has a large investment owed. Doesn’t expect to make money but doesn’t want to lose money.

Shevek McKee also met with Lee Kruger of the Port Authority and Mr. Kruger did back the newspaper quote that the Port Authority would be interested in helping make a new roof happen for the space if the right proposal were made.

Additional Info:
Shevek's Photos from 2/14/20 tour

Contacts: 

Michael Wong

Town Square Park

Owner

612-868-2233

info@eventsbymicahelwong.com

John Rupp

St. Paul Athletic Club

Owner

 

jrrupp@commonwealthproperties.com

Lee Krueger

St. Paul Port Authority

President

 

ljk@sppa.com

 

Summer 2019 (Submitted by Jonathan Reisetter) - CRC intern Anna Lavanger reached out to the owner of Town Square. She did not speak to the owner of Town Square, but called him and left a message and he called back and left a message. She attempted to call him back multiple times after the message he left, to no avail. The message he left is roughly transcribed: "Hi Anna, this is Michael Wong calling you back about the Town Square property. You can give me a call back at 612-868-2233, thanks bye."

 

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