Remodeling St. Paul: The Foundry on Raymond


The Foundry on Raymond Avenue in St. Paul was under furious construction on September 28 as finishing carpenters and painters worked to make their September 30 deadline 

The 100-year-old building at 700 N. Raymond in St. Paul was purchased by the Update Company, a development and management business in April 2009. Codeweaver, a software company, is already a tenant and Minnesota Literacy Council, a learning support organization, will move into the building in October. There is space for two more businesses.

Originally the building was a foundry and then a manufacturing company for golf course lawn mowers.  National Mowers moved out of state after 50 years at the site.  This warehouse-turned-office-space is Update’s newest renovation and also it greenest building.  As part of their “greening” efforts, Update incorporated used bricks, kept huge wooden beams, and sold an old pole barn and shed that was on the grounds on Craig’s List.  In 30 years they have developed 15 properties and currently own eight buildings in St. Paul’s Midtown area.

“My parents were in the painting business (Schletty-McCann) and always outgrowing their buildings for storage of their paint,” said Sandy Jacobs, a co-owner of Update Company.  “We are a family business.  My two brothers, my sister and I are co-partners.  We have followed our parents’ interest in real estate. The best of our business is the renovation and the worst is the volatility, seeing people going out of business.  My day-to-day activities are leasing and maintaining roofs, locks, and windows.”

The Foundry building before remodeling

The Foundry building after remodeling

The Raymond Avenue office building has a long brick exterior, and the inside has a 24-foot high ceiling.  Past tenants have asked for windows and the building now has 120 windows, including upright skylight windows that can open if needed.  Besides the open spaces, the interiors are colorful with paint.

“The Raymond-University area has been growing for 10 to 15 years now,” said Jacobs.  “And with the light rail coming it may even be more successful.  What once were warehouses are now offices, restaurants, and coffeehouses.”   Nearby businesses are Lyric Apartments, Gremlin Theater, Edge Coffee Shop, Hampden Park Coop and Caffé Biaggio.