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ST. PAUL, MN-A new design for a controversial retail and parking development in St. Paul’s upscale Grand Avenue retail strip was unveiled this week, as site work has already begun on the project.

Exeter Holdings, the St. Paul-based developer, released the design for the $10-million project on the corner of Victoria and Grand. The design now features a turn-of-the-century architectural style that blends in with the Victoria Crossing area that is the center of activity of “Saint Paul’s main street”.

“We are going to wait until after Christmas–probably until mid to late January–before we start any major work,” says Jim Stolpestad, an Exeter principal.

Although neighbors in the area were opposed to the project, some of the recent design changes were made in response to their objections, as well as requirements imposed by the city in granting a building permit.

Among the changes the new plan makes are:

* Providing space in a 208-car ramp to handle eight waiting cars in an effort to avoid traffic congestion on the street.

* The brick and stone traditional design fits the turn of the century character of Grand Avenue.

* The project has a 14-ft. alley setback that will be landscaped with mature evergreens, which will help buffer the project from houses that share the alley.

* The building will be lower than the neighboring three-story brick apartment building.

Aside from increasing parking in the parking-starved area, the new project will bring a new 14,000-sf bookstore called Bound to Read, an 8,000-sf Pottery Barn, and a 5,200-sf tenant as yet to be determined to the shopping district.

The new project was designed by Pope Architects, and will be built by McGough Construction, both of St. Paul.

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