The historic James J. Hill Reference Library in downtown St. Paul has been purchased by a developer who's planning to renovate the building.
Driving the news: The library board of directors' sale to Peter Remes, who owns the development firm First & First, closed Tuesday.
- The board has been trying to sell its half of the century-old building since 2019, due to financial losses.
Why it matters: Remes is a creative real estate developer whose past projects have been major hits.
- He redeveloped St. Paul's Vandalia Tower, a complex that is now home to Lake Monster Brewing.
- Remes took an ice warehouse on Nicollet Avenue and turned it into a rock climbing gym and The Icehouse restaurant/music venue.
- He turned an old warehouse in the North Loop into the Aria event center, a popular wedding and corporate event venue.
The details: Remes said he may pursue historic tax credits for the St. Paul renovation and he wants "to be completely respectful to the grandeur and the architecture of the Hill Library."
- The building will be used primarily as an event center, with a focus on arts and culture, he said. It'll also host wedding and corporate events.
Of note: Only the Hill Library part of the building was sold. The other side of the building will remain the George Latimer Central Library.
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