Blair Arcade is located on the corner of Western and Selby Avenues in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul. Built in 1887, the original Blair Arcade is a stunning historic centerpiece of the Cathedral Hill neighborhood with condos above retail and office space. A 1980s addition doubled the commercial space and added 91 apartment buildings. When the Excelsior Group purchased the property in 2017, it undertook a massive renovation of the apartment building upgrading common areas and modernizing the apartments to appeal to younger residents.
Element was selected to lead the leasing for the commercial space because of its experience working on repositioning historic properties. Working closely with the ownership and design team, Element analyzed the existing leases and proposed a strategy to attract more health and wellness businesses that would attract a new customer base and compliment the residential uses. Element’s repositioning strategy included orienting spaces around skylights and views to the outside, and exposing architectural features like brick ceilings and stone walls to increase the appeal to potential tenants. The common areas and exterior of the building have been transformed with a modern minimalist aesthetic that compliments the historic character of the building, revitalizing the property for a new generation of entrepreneurs and residents.
With an intense focus and strong partnership with the ownership team, Element brought the property from 70% occupied to 93% occupied within two years, creating significant value by increasing base rent in both renewals and new leases.