A recent Twitter thread revealed that the 3D view in Apple Maps still uses imagery from 2012, which gives us a time capsule to see the change that has happened in West St. Paul in the last decade.
Too often people assume that things never change or that all West St. Paul ever gets is fast food, laundromats, and car washes (or worse, the city is blamed for the free market). But even a cursory glance at where we were a decade ago shows a tremendous amount of change as aging, dilapidated buildings were redeveloped.
5 Big Changes Across West St. Paul
Here’s a look at five places that have seen big change in the last decade:
1. Gateway Place
The northern end of Robert Street has seen immense transformation in the last decade. The Gateway Place apartment is the big one, but Suite Living and the Children’s Minnesota Clinic also helped transform that area (with potentially another apartment next to Gateway Place in the future). You can also see the series of small buildings that these developments replaced. (Here’s a Then & Now look at the corner of Robert and Annapolis.)
2. Harmon Park
Before the renovation of Harmon Park, the Wolters Greenhouses still existed
3. Signal Hills
One of the most visible projects in West St. Paul has been the transformation of the empty K-Mart, bank building, and parking lots at Signal Hills into two apartments, Hilltop and Legacy Commons. Here’s more on the initial proposal and design phase.
4. The Dome
The corner of Wentworth and Robert has seen phenomenal change in the last decade. The dome went up, and both the northwest and southwest corners were completely rebuild with Lifetime Fitness and the Savor apartment building. The River-to-River Greenway Trail also comes through the area with a tunnel under Robert Street where a Blockbuster Video used to be.
5. Town Center II
A major redevelopment project took down three buildings and gave us Cane’s, Jersey Mike’s, and Qdoba. The synergy also brought Sola Salons to a formerly empty lot. Across the street and just out of view, Chick-fil-A took over an empty parking lot.
Even More Transformation
Those five views are just scratching the surface. There are a lot of other changes.
- Thompson Oaks: While not fully realized, the Thompson Oaks area has seen major change with the loss of the YMCA and the new Westlyn apartment. More change is coming with a watershed reclamation project, townhouses on the east end of the property, and whatever happens with the former YMCA space.
- Housing: Several buildings have gone up in the last few years in addition to the ones mentioned above, including The Winslow, The Sanctuary, and Rooftop 252. There are also pockets of single family homes, including all of Crowley Circle.
- Smith-Dodd: Change is coming slowly to this corner with the demolition of AJ’s Garage and the addition of FoodSmith, but more change is coming with the redevelopment of Camelot Cleaners and a proposal for Doddway Center.
- Robert Street: Perhaps the biggest change in the last decade is the redesign of Robert Street itself with the addition of medians. You can also see change up and down Robert Street with new or redeveloped businesses, including Guiding Star Wakota, Dunkin’, Micho Love, Taco Libre, Thai Pepper, World Famous Momo, the building with Bubble Boy Laundry, Papa John’s, and more, Tumble Fresh, Hawaii Poke Bowl, Denny’s, Burger King, Bobby & Steve’s, Crew Carwash, MedExpress, Bank of America, Southview Animal Hospital, and Starbucks and Crumbl Cookies. (There are a lot of new businesses in town—and a lot of turnover as well.)
- Parks: We covered Harmon Park above, but parks saw a number of changes with the north end of Marthaler Park redesigned (and more to come), new playgrounds at multiple parks, including a new parking lot at the Sports Complex, additions to the Art Park, and more. Thompson Park also saw two major projects, one focused on water quality and another offering a big redesign.
Check out Apple Maps, turn on the 3D satellite view, and explore what’s changed in West St. Paul in the last decade.
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