ST. PAUL, MN-Many credit Mayor Norm Coleman with leading a remarkable renaissance of Downtown, including such marquee projects at the Lawson Commons office building and the Xcel Energy Center, a professional hockey arena. Now Coleman, a Republican challenging Democrat incumbent Paul Wellstone for his US Senate seat, has thrown his support behind Randy Kelly, a state Senator who hopes to succeed Coleman as St. Paul’s mayor.

Kelly has adopted Coleman’s pro-economic development policies and wants to continue along the same path that Coleman has taken while in office. He has attacked his opponent, Jay Benanav, for criticizing some of Coleman’s projects, including a $6-million subsidy to Target Corp. for the renovation of its Marshall Field’s (formerly Dayton’s) department store in Downtown. Benanav, who was profiled by Sept. 27, prefers to concentrate new development efforts in St. Paul’s neighborhoods. Both Kelly andBenanav are Democrats.

Kelly has backed plans to build 5,000 new housing units throughout St. Paul for all income levels. He also supports mixed-use developments for University Avenue, W. Seventh Street and the East Side and called for the creation of a blues and jazz district along Selby Avenue.

As state senator, Kelly has played a part in helping a variety of St. Paul building projects, including the Science Museum of Minnesota, Xcel Energy Center, RiverCenter convention center and Phalen Corridorredevelopment.

Election day is Nov. 6.