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ST. PAUL, MN-White Bear Lake-based developer Pak Properties will start selling condominiums this week after it recently completed a $5 million deal to buy the Rossmor Building here.

The Rossmor is now used mostly as workspace for Lowertown artists, and some artists fear that it could be an end of an era for them. But the developer, Rich Pakonen president of Pak Properties, hopes that many of these same artists could live and work in the building once it its renovated and brought up to code.

“Downtown St. Paul is a deep market for condominiums with its entertainment, sports, restaurants and nightclubs,” Pakonen says.

The condominium market in downtown Minneapolis is also undergoing a boom, but Pakonen points out that units are far less expensive in downtown St. Paul.

Pakonen said he bought the 162,000 sf apartment building on the northwest edge of the Lowertown area in downtown St. Paul. The 1916 building, which is located at 500 N. Robert St, was at one time a shoe factory. He plans to invest $7 million to renovate the building and turn it into 109 residential units. The units will be sold for a little more than $155,000 on average, Pakonen said.

The Rossmor, which was sold by the John Mutschler family, was built for the manufacture of boots for World War I.

Pak Properties recently completed a renovation of the historic Produce Exchange Building at the corner of Jackson and 10th streets. The building was converted into 36 condos and 1,500 sf of retail space.

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