The Penfield – throwback Thursday

The Penfield is located on 10th street and Minnesota street in downtown St. Paul. Luxury apartments using the facade from the old HQ of the Saint Paul Police department. The picture was taken in November 2013 while the building was still under construction.

Light rail was still under construction in the fall of 2013 as was the Lunds store next to the Penfield.

Penfield during construction in 2013

Downtown is open and festive

Landmark Plaza
Landmark Plaza – Hamm building in the background

There were numerous holiday events downtown last weekend. There was a lot of traffic with people headed to the Xcel, to CHS Field for skating, to the Union Depot for the North Pole Express, and to the Holiday Market. (The picture was taken very early in the morning)

There is a lot of housing in downtown St. Paul too.  At last count, there were over 7100 residents and 4300 households.

Right now is a better time to buy a downtown condo. Median prices are around $235,000 and about 25% of all housing on the market in St. Paul is downtown.  There are 55 housing units to choose from. Some are in luxury buildings and some are lower-cost units in buildings that were converted from apartments. There are also rentals available in all price ranges, starting at $114,000 and going up to a million.

There is currently a 4.6-month supply of housing downtown. Not quite a buyer’s market but less competitive than the rest of the city where were are seeing less than a two-month supply.

Maybe you don’t want to live downtown but you really should visit during the holiday season. If you are into photography bring your camera.

Downtown – Wabasha bike way

You can tell when someone isn’t from around here by the way they pronounce “Wabasha”. The Capital City Bikeway (CCB) is complete along Wabasha street through downtown. Another beautiful bikeway. I don’t often ride in the winter but will try out the bikeway as soon as the weather allows.

Wabasha street facing North
Wabasha street at 5th and facing North
Wabasha street at 6th looking south
Wabasha street at 6th looking south
Wabasha street at 5th looking North
Wabasha street at 5th looking North

CCB Along Robert street, downtown St. Paul


Your downtown condo will sell

Things are a little slower in downtown St. Paul than they are in the rest of the city:

Median days on market in St. Paul = 35 Average days on market = 38

Downtown St. Paul condos:

Median days on market = 59 average days on market = 82

There is a 4.2-month supply of downtown condos vs. a 1.3-month supply of homes for sale in St. Paul.

There is a 2.6-month supply of condos on the market in all of St. Paul and they sell in about 44 days.

Downtown St. Paul is still experiencing a seller’s market. Overall the downtown market tends to be more stable and it changes more slowly.

There is more housing than ever downtown and more than 10,000 residents. There are fewer businesses. I don’t have any number but I can see the vacant storefronts as I walk through the skyway.

The popcorn wagon is vacant and for sale. I am tempted. I would move it down to the river or maybe it could go near one of the many microbreweries in my neighborhood and I could sell popcorn.


popcorn wagon
Popcorn wagon for sale

This just in from the National Association of Realtors for July: “Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 500,000 units in July, down 9.1% from June and down 29.6% from one year ago” “The median existing condo price was $345,000 in July, an annual increase of 9.9%.” Single Family homes were up 10.6% for the same period.

Housing opportunities in downtown St. Paul

I don’t believe the pandemic has ended but many people do and that has been good for downtown St. Paul which was a ghost town during the summer of 2020.

There are or were 55K downtown workers. Many are back downtown working again which means there are people out on the streets and in the skyways and restaurants and coffee shops are open too.

There are concerts again and Minnesota Wild games and Baseball too. There are plays at the Ordway and events at the Union Depot. The Saint Paul Farmer’s market is open every weekend.

More than 10,000 people live downtown too. There are definitely opportunities for home ownership downtown and this might be a better time to buy as prices have leveled off and are likely to start rising again.

Right now there 61 condos on the market downtown starting at 105K and going up to 1.6 million.

Downtown is best explored on foot either outside or through the skyways. St. Paul’s skyway system links 47 city blocks and covers five miles, making it one of the largest systems in the world, which makes downtown the most walkable neighborhood in St. Paul.


Downtown St. Paul condo sales 2021

When I mention downtown it is assumed that I mean downtown Minneapolis and sometimes I do but today I am doing a deep dive into downtown St. Paul housing. There is more housing than ever in downtown St. Paul.  The housing units that are individually owned are condos. There are also several apartment buildings including some luxury housing.

There are about 7500 people living downtown. The population has grown at the same time there is less retail and more vacant office space than ever. Downtown used to be kind of quiet at night and busy during the day now we are seeing the opposite because there are more people living downtown and there are more restaurants and bars, a ballpark and the farmer’s market too.  Let’s not forget the Ordway, Union Depot, and CandyLand. The children’s Museum and the Minnesota Science Museum are down there too.

In 2021 185 condo units were sold. The average list price was $234, 564 and the average sale price was $229,583. There is a 4.5 month supply of condos for sale which means it is a seller’s market but in the rest of the city, there is a 1.3 month supply of houses for sale which is an even stronger seller’s market.

Downtown condos were on the market for an average of almost 74 days vs. the almost 23 days for housing in the rest of the city.

Currently, prices in downtown St. Paul start at less than 100,000 for a very small condo and they go up into the millions.

the source in rice park
The source all dressed up for the Rice park grand opening