Capital Region Watershed District Office

Project Location: 595 Aldine St, St. Paul, MN 55104

Nominated by: Barr Engineering Co.

The Capital Region Watershed District Office is a beautiful office and educational facility in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood. In keeping with its sustainability objectives, CRWD chose to renovate, rather than entirely demolish the former building. This came with several challenges related to the building’s prior use. Before redevelopment, the site was owned by MacQueen Equipment, a servicer and distributor of heavy equipment. The building’s bays and parking lots were used for heavy vehicle maintenance. By 2016, MacQueen outgrew the premises, which had become over-crowded with staged heavy equipment and vehicles.

The cleanup included the abatement and selective demolition of the MacQueen building, the removal of underground storage tanks and petroleum contaminated soils, and the installation of sub-slab vapor mitigation systems. A major innovation at the site was the implementation of Minnesota’s first stormwater infiltration project into petroleum-impacted groundwater. This is a relatively new concept, which has gained little traction due to regulatory hurdles and liability concerns. The term “Beneficial Infiltration” was coined through discussions with the MPCA to describe the scenario where directing stormwater through clean native sand could actually reduce the concentration of certain contaminants. This innovation may inspire similar solutions elsewhere, as well as potentially influence policy.

In pursuing LEED Gold status, CRWD implemented other innovative features, including a 3,000-gallon cistern in the front lobby that captures rainfall from the roof and supplies 75% of the building’s non-potable water needs. The building also features a solar array that supplements its energy requirements, an electric car charging station, and other green infrastructure approaches. One of the project’s highlights is a pocket park that combines the natural and built environments with interactive elements to draw in neighbors and visitors. Neighbors are often seen enjoying picnic lunches on the benches, and playing with the exhibits.

Project Financing

$9,727,428 – Fully funded by CRWD through the existing local tax levy and the sale of tax supported revenue bonds.

Project Partners

  • Capital Region Watershed District (Owner)
  • Barr Engineering Co. (Environmental assessment and remediation)
  • City of St. Paul (Technical review & permitting)
  • MacQueen Equipment (Previous owner)
  • MSR (Architect)
  • EOR (Civil engineer, landscape architect)
  • Integral Group (Mechanic systems design)
  • Mazzetti (Lighting design)
  • JE Dunn (General contractor)
  • Parsons (Electrical contractor)
  • MPCA (Environmental Regulatory oversight)
  • NAC (Mechanical contractor)
  • Ta Columba Aiken (Visual artist)
  • David Bowen (Kinetic artist)
  • Tamsie Ringler (Metal works artist)
  • KidZibits (Educational stormwater art exhibit)
  • MU&E (Earthwork contractor)
  • CR Concrete (Concrete contractor)
  • Stevens Drilling & Environmental (Investigation and well drilling contractor)
  • Mavo Systems (Asbestos abatement contractor)
  • Swanson and Youngdale (Painting contractor)
  • Tierney Brothers (A/V contractor)
  • Margolis (Landscaping contractor)
  • Water in Motion (Landscaping contractor)
  • RMS (Rainwater Reuse Design contractor)
  • Opti RTC (Stormwater management controls design)
  • Egan (Mechanical contractor)
  • Empire house (Glazing contractor)
  • Berwald Roofing (Roofing contractor)