Location: 200 10th Street East, Saint Paul
Nominated by: Aeon
Renaissance Box is a six-story, 67,000 sq ft historic building located in the Wacouta Commons neighborhood of St. Paul. It was built in 1915 and occupied by O’Donnell Shoe Company from 1915-35, then hosted many tenants from light commercial space to produce and seed warehousing before being listed as vacant in 1994. It was renamed Renaissance Box by a new owner with minimal use and tenants in 1999, then purchased out of foreclosure in 2006 by Aeon. The building was a vacant warehouse prior to redevelopment.
A Phase II Environmental Investigation determined approximately 1,390 cubic yards of soil in a 5,000 sq ft area were contaminated with lead, mercury, arsenic, barium, cadmium polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and petroleum compounds. Asbestos-containing materials were found in the floor tile & mastic, fireproofing, wall adhesive pucks, ceramic tile grout, roofing, exterior caulk, fire doors, and exterior wall putty. Lead-based paint was also found in the windows, floor, wall, and ceiling surfaces, and concrete structural columns.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building represented an enormous amount of potential. With the ever present need for affordable housing, the historical structure offered a great opportunity to save a pillar of the Wacouta Commons neighborhood’s past while creating a new community asset. The project was planned with long-term sustainability as a priority and achieved Gold LEED certification while offering onsite green space, green roof, and rain gardens. Aeon used no-VOC or low-VOC materials, Energy Star Appliances, and connected to District Energy heating and cooling, rather than using on-site boiler and cooling systems, thereby reducing monthly expenses for residents. The plan created a space that honored the area’s artistic tradition with a public gallery space, as well as two art studios for residents. The Renaissance Box turned a blighted and underutilized building into a community amenity while reducing homelessness, providing healthy affordable homes, and preserving a piece of St. Paul history. The project resulted in 70 affordable apartment homes, 61% of which are targeted for individuals with annual incomes of $21,000-$33,000, while 14 units are reserved for those transitioning out of long-term homelessness.
$ 252,952 Total Remediation
$ 18,066,818 Total Redevelopment
- LHB Architects
- The Javelin Group, Inc.
- Landscape Research LLC
- Frerichs Construction
- Housing and Redevelopment Authority of the City of St. Paul
- Minnesota Housing Finance Agency
- Wells Fargo Bank
- Family Housing Fund
- Metropolitan Council
- MN DEED
- F.R. Bigelow Foundation
- National Trust Loan Fund
- The Saint Paul Foundation
- John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
- House of Hope Fund
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- Premier Bank
- National Trust for Historic Preservation
- Enterprise Green Communities
- The State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund
- Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation
- Fannie Mae
- Local Initiatives Support Corporation
- Non-Profits Assistance Fund
- Wachovia Affordable Housing Community Development Corporation