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  • Downtown is different

    6th street
    E 6th street

    Downtown St. Paul is really hopping these days with all the parks and events and the greenline and the new grocery store and the new ballpark which will be opening in May. Condo values have gone up but not quite to the levels we saw in 2006.

    There are 60 condos on the market. There are several condo buildings in three separate neighborhoods. There are not many real estate agents who really know the downtown area. Agents who do not know downtown have a hard time figuring out how to get into the buildings and they may not understand the whole parking thing or building amenities.

    A few agents from a big local real estate company really dominate the downtown condo scene. There are some advantages in working with those agents but there are also some advantages in not working with them. When one agent has several units for sale in one building that agent needs to promote all of the units instead of focusing on yours. Those agents are also more likely to get into a dual agency situation where one broker or agent is representing both the buyer and the seller.

    If you don’t want to work with the same agent who is selling your next door neighbors unit give me a call. I sell a few downtown condos each year and rarely have more than one on the market in any of the buildings at one time. I am a much better choice than the real estate agent who doesn’t normally work downtown and I may be a better choice than the agent who has several competing units on the market in the building and in the building down the street.

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  • Capturing history

    The light rail construction is underway in downtown St. paul and I thought I would grab a few more shots before the snow comes.  The Rail line will run down 4th Street E.  The Union Depot building will serve as the transit hub once more and the large deck on top of the post office building will also be part of the new transit system.

    This is what fourth street looks like now.

    Picnik collage
    News, information and updates on the project can be found on the regional rail web site.  I will be taking photos of the corridor again in the spring.  Maybe by then the bull dozers will be done. 

     

     

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  • Trick or treat

    BY Jack Boardman – Guest Author

    “Trick or Treat, Money or Eats” It's been a very-long time since I made that call at every neighbor's home. It wouldn't have been quite so long had my parents not banned the “Money of Eats” part early in my Halloween-urchin career; they felt it sounded too much like begging. Come to think of it…no matter which version of the chant is used, it still sounds like begging.

    Both my parents were adults during the Depression and experienced Hobos and Tramps coming to the door and begging for food; Hobos would offer to work for the food, according to my dad, Tramps would not. Both would ride the rails dodging the railroad cops looking for work or an easy touch.

    Some of my friends would dress up in old clothes and put coal or charcoal on their faces to look like a hobo or tramp; come to think of it, that may be where that popular kid-costume came from. I was never allowed to dress as a hobo; I had to settle for being a ghost or maybe the Lone Ranger with a pair of chrome six-guns and a mask.

    In Saint Paul during the fifties, there were a gazillion kids on every block and parents seldom accompanied their kids; little ones were assigned to bigger ones. The thought being there was safety in numbers. I wonder if they considered that the “trick” part of the chant as an activity was learned by the young kids from the older kids? The tricks were pretty simple and relatively harmless, writing “Boo” on a car window with a bar of Ivory soap was considered great fun…unless we were caught, of course.

    Now when we prepare for this evening's little (and some not-so-little) urchins, as every year, we never really know how many to expect; some years very few knock at the door and some years they arrive in hoards…leaving little if any treats left over for us to enjoy.

    Snickers

    Maybe it's the quality of the treats. Years we stock up on the good stuff are years of the hoards and years we stock up on ho-hum candy that I don't like, very few show up and we're left with a stock-pile of candy I don't like.

    This year we have both! 
    Happy Halloween!

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  • Sell it or rent it out

    Brick As I mentioned in September rentals have now been added to our MLS.  They are also available in the public MLS.  If you click on my home search button there is a new tab for rental properties.

    Currently there are 36 homes listed as being for rent.  I looked through them and they are all condos, townhouses or single family homes.  I am not finding any appartment buildings but I find an apartment in a duplex here and there.

    Owners of apartment building probably have a system in place for renting them out and don't need to pay a Realtor.

    I like numbers but it will be probably about a year before I can get some numbers on average rental rates by square foot and the way it looks right now the numbers will not be averages for apartment buildings.

    There are some condos for rent downtown and a huge unit is for rent on Spring Street by the river. It will be interesting to see how long it takes before they are rented out.  I don't have a clue because I have never worked with rentals.  I have always encourage people to rent if they are not planning on staying in one place for long and by long I mean less than 5 to 7 years.  Buying a home is more of a long term thing. Renting is also a great way to get to know the area for those who are relocating to the Twin Cities.

    I have not decided if I am going to work with rentals. Just because I can doesn't mean that it is a good fit for me but I do want to keep up on all aspects of the local real estate market so I will continue to watch the rental market and provide reports on this site as I get more numbers.