Efforts to demolish fire-damaged buildings at Midway Center continue. The Saint Paul City Council on May 26 accepted communication from the city’s Department of Safety and Inspections declaring the commercial building at the southwest corner of University Avenue and Pascal Street to be a nuisance.

The building was extensively damaged in late May of 2020 during the civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. The fate of the building will be reviewed through a legislative hearing process, and a course of action will be recommended to the City Council. The council could set a deadline for building repair or removal.

The building used to contain more than a dozen stores. Some were extensively damaged by fire. Others sustained smoke or water damage. The property is owned by RK Midway, but Bill McGuire, the lead owner of the Minnesota United Major League Soccer team, heads a group that has a lease on the shopping center. A redevelopment plan is in place for Midway Shopping Center, but nothing has been implemented to date.

Last summer the tenants in the building had their leases terminated. Some of the businesses, including Thien Cajun Cuisine and Peking Garden, have reopened elsewhere. Others have closed permanently.

The City Council in May ordered the demolition of fire-damaged Big Top Liquors store at 1544 University Ave. That is expected to happen soon. Big Top’s owners have already obtained the city’s permission to retain its off-sale liquor license when and if it reopens elsewhere.

— Jane McClure


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