COMMUNITY VOICES | What do creative tenants need?


Major developer First & First is teaming with the Creative Enterprise Zone to host an evening of connection and collaboration around their latest project, Vandalia Tower, at 550 Vandalia St. The meeting, April 2, 4-6pm, is open to the public and all who are interested in exploring the intersection of creative entrepreneurship and modern urban development are encouraged to attend.

This is a great opportunity for creative tenants to connect with one of the Twin Cities most innovative developers. Figuring out how to support creative entrepreneurship as the demands of a thriving metropolitan area push developers to think about land use and urban planning in new ways is tantamount to the success of our creative economy. 

The 550 Vandalia building is currently home to around 30 tenants, many of whom play an important role driving creative commerce in the metro area. From woodworkers and cabinet makers, to glass blowers, coffee roasters and more, entrepreneurial makers of all sorts have benefitted from the reasonable rent rates, unfinished interior and large work spaces at Vandalia Tower.

Woodsport is a nationally recognized independent woodcraft studio currently housed in the building. Master craftsman and designer Scott McGlasson creates one-of-a-kind handmade wood furniture and accessories that have found their way into corporate board rooms, offices and homes across the country.

Nordeast Makers is another important cog in our creative economy based out of the Vandalia Tower building. It’s a communal space for makers of all kinds. With top of the line equipment and a large shared workspace, it has grown into a community with more than 100 artists, crafters, tech developers and entrepreneurs of all types.

Some use the space to make products for sale as their full time job; others use it to make art, furniture, to code software and innovate new ways of interacting with technology. The amount of productive creativity that happens there is astounding, it’s valuable, and it’s well-worth fostering.

First & First seems to understand that. In partnership with the Creative Enterprise Zone, they are inviting the public to join in a conversation about how to foster creative activity while bringing urban design into the modern age.

The Minneapolis-based developer is well known for it’s innovative designs and creative conceptualization of space.

First & First doesn’t just renovate rundown properties. It re-imagines, then reinvents them in a way that connects the past to the future—preserving a city’s heritage while pushing urban design to new heights.

From the mind of Peter Remes, First & First has transformed close to a dozen buildings in Minneapolis, including The Broadway, 945 Broadway St. NE, Icehouse Plaza at 2528 Nicollet Ave, and Aria, a grand event space in the former Jeune Lune Theater on 1st St.

For his first project in St. Paul, Remes seems to be thinking big. First & First purchased the 5.5-acre, multi-building campus in the Creative Enterprise Zone last year. From the beginning phases of development, First & First has expressed interest in retaining and recruiting creative tenants for the space.

Please join us as we work to break ground on a new type of relationship between developers, property owners and creative tenants. All who are interested in furthering this conversation are encouraged to attend April 2, 4-6pm, 550 Vandalia St. Light appetizers and refreshments will be provided.