Announcements

 

BOMA Needs Your Help

St. Paul BOMA has been leading a security initiative for the past 18 months.  This initiative is important for downtown Saint Paul and the East Metro Region as a whole.  As we’ve communicated to you in the past, there are three phases to this project which leads to the creation of a comprehensive security plan for downtown.

Right now we are in Phase One of the project which involves collecting data and other information.  I am asking for your assistance.  One element of this initial phase is to conduct a survey of employees, residents and visitors of the downtown area and ask questions regarding their perception of safety in the central business district.  I need your help in distributing this online survey.  An invitation with a link to the survey is available here.  I would appreciate if you can forward this survey invitation to anyone who may have an opinion on this topic.  This potentially includes employees in your organization, tenants (and their employees) in your building, or residents in your building.  If your employees work outside of downtown, but make trips into the central business district, their opinions are still valuable and I encourage them to participate in this survey.  And of course, you should take the survey also. 

Here is a suggested email message you can use or modify as you choose to introduce the survey.

Dear [Employees, Tenants or Residents]

We value your opinion.  Greater Saint Paul BOMA has asked us to send you a survey about safety and cleanliness in downtown Saint Paul.  It will only take 5 minutes to complete and your input will be appreciated.  Attached is a survey invitation from BOMA and the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance. The invitation contains a link to the survey.  Surveys must be completed by November 6, 2018.  [If you are sending this to tenants with employees, include the following…We encourage you to share this survey with employees in your organization.] Thank you for your consideration and we hope you participate in the survey.

 

We ask that you send out this survey invitation to potential participants as soon as possible to give them adequate time prior to the survey close date.  Thank you for your assistance on this important initiative.  We’ll continue to keep you informed as we make progress on this project.

 

Joe Spartz

 

City of Saint Paul Accepting Development Proposals for Seven Corners Gateway Site

Site provides excellent opportunity to develop on the West 7th Street Commercial Corridor  

SAINT PAUL – The City of Saint Paul’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) is seeking proposals from interested developers for the Seven Corners Gateway site, a prominent parcel located in downtown Saint Paul on the West 7th Street Commercial Corridor across from the Xcel Energy Center. The HRA has issued a Request For Proposals seeking developer interest for the 2.38 acre site. Following proposal review, the City of Saint Paul’s Department of Planning and Economic Development (PED) will make a recommendation to the HRA board to award tentative developer status for the site.

“The Seven Corners Gateway site is one of many excellent opportunities for development in downtown Saint Paul,” Mayor Chris Coleman said. “The city’s momentum and vitality continue to grow as creative people and industries find new homes and create businesses in our city. We view mixed-use and commercial developments as key to ensuring Saint Paul remains an attractive place to work, live and visit.”

The Seven Corners Gateway site is positioned for views of the downtown skyline, the Mississippi River bluffs, and the State Capitol. The site is located near fantastic public amenities, and is conveniently supplied with easy access to the Smith Avenue Transit Center, access to 23 bus routes, and near the Green Line LRT.

“Creating more opportunity for housing, retail and entertainment options is a win-win for everybody,” said Councilmember and HRA Commissioner Dave Thune. “Attracting new development downtown is important in keeping our city moving and attracting residents young and old.”

Developer proposals are urged to embrace the city’s vision of a high-density, mixed-use site with vibrant first-floor uses for a thriving street level and entertainment district. Proposals are due August 29.

To learn more about the Seven Corners Gateway site and the Request for Proposals information, visit www.stpaul.gov/7cornersgateway.

For more information about PED, visit www.stpaul.gov/ped.

ATTACHMENT: Seven Corners Gateway Request for Proposals

 

BOMA National Conference Recap

BOMA International’s Every Building Conference & Expo was held June 22-24 in Orlando FL.  It was attended by over 3,000 participants.  Highlights for the conference include:

The Nominating Committee concluded several days of interviews and presented a slate of candidates for Officer and Executive Committee positions.  The slate was ratified by the Board of Governors.  Included on the Executive Committee was Bruce Koehler from Hines, a member of Minneapolis BOMA.  Jerry Hersman, a Greater Saint Paul BOMA Board Member, served on the Nominating Committee.

The Board of Governors meeting approved affiliation agreements for Greece, Russia and Panama, bringing the total of international affiliates to 17.

The Government Affairs Committee announced three new policy positions approved by the committee focusing on Federal Rule Impacting Local ZoningLike-Kind Exchanges?, and Patent Trolls.

The vendor tradeshow was outstanding with local representation by both Ecolab and ABM.

 

 

Mayor Coleman names Jonathan Sage-Martinson new Planning and Economic Development Director

SAINT PAUL – Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman today announced the appointment of Jonathan Sage-Martinson as the City’s new Planning and Economic Development (PED) Director. With more than 15 years of community and economic development experience, including serving as the Director of the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, Sage-Martinson succeeds Cecile Bedor, who left May 8 to serve as Executive Vice President of Greater MSP. Sage-Martinson will assume his duties as PED Director on August 4.         

“There is incredible momentum in Saint Paul right now and I am confident that Jonathan will be able to hit the ground running, working with stakeholders in all sectors of the planning and economic development community to continue the City’s proactive, business-friendly approach to innovation and growth,” said Mayor Coleman. “Jonathan is also committed to the values I believe are essential to making our City the most livable – including viewing planning and economic development opportunities through the lens of equity, sustainability and innovation.”

Sage-Martinson will bring extensive background in community development and nonprofit management to the city. In addition to playing a significant role in the Green Line project during his six years at the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, Sage-Martinson served as Executive Director of SPARC, Associate Director of the Green Institute and has also played key roles in sustainable economic development collaborations such as the Phalen Corridor Initiative and the Great Northern Corridor.

“Under Mayor Coleman’s leadership, the City of Saint Paul is consistently reaching out to a broad coalition of economic development stakeholders – from the business and development community, to the non-profit community, to the state and federal government and beyond, looking to create synergies and build the most livable city," Sage-Martinson said. "I am excited to work with him, the experts within PED and leaders in the wider community to continue the momentum here in Saint Paul.”

Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Matt Kramer said, “Jonathan brings an energy and dedication to inclusive and innovative development, which served us well on the Green Line. We are excited for him to bring those skills to other developments in the city – like Ford, Macy's and our unique neighborhoods."

Sage-Martinson, a Saint Paul resident, holds leadership positions on several community boards, including the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies Executive Committee, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Local Advisory Board, and Advocates for Human Rights Board of Directors. Sage-Martinson earned a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Minnesota, with dual concentrations in community economic development and nonprofit management.

 

BOMA MN Legislative Year-End Recap

The 2014 Minnesota Legislative Session began on February 25, 2014 and was historically unique for three reasons:

  • First, this was the second year of the biennium under the control of the Democrat-Farmer-Labor party. The DFL has not controlled the House, Senate and Governor's office since 1990.
  • Second, the state budget was forecast to have a $1.2 billion surplus, rather than the usual deficits of the past 15 years.
  • Third, the session began later than usual on February 25, which dictated a fast pace to meet the constitutional deadline for adjournment on May 19.  

 

Policy decisions, as well as fiscal decisions, influenced the direction of the session. Legislators passed a total of 165 bills that were signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton. Among them was the Women's Economic Security Act, an increase in the minimum wage, and the legalization of medical marijuana. There was also a push to eliminate redundant, outdated and unnecessary laws during the session in response to the Governor's call for an "unsession."

The news of a state budget surplus was the focus of the discussion at the beginning of the session. In late March, the legislature passed the omnibus tax relief bill. A second omnibus tax bill was passed on the last day of the session. Lawmakers agreed upon a roughly $1 billion bonding bill for capital improvements and passed a $283 million supplemental budget bill. For a complete list of laws enacted this session, visit the Minnesota Legislative Tracker web page.

 

State Budget Surplus
During the first week of the 2014 legislative session, Minnesota Management and Budget announced that the state had a forecasted budget surplus of $1.23 billion. Lawmakers came up with various proposals on how to utilize the extra funds, but ultimately the surplus was spent with $550 million of tax relief, $283 million in supplemental finance spending, $199 million for capital projects funded with cash, $150 million deposited in the budget reserve and the remaining $31 million to an assortment of unallocated funds. Looking forward to the next legislative session, lawmakers will have a projected general fund balance of $597 million for the 2016-17 biennium.

 

First Omnibus Tax Bill
One month into the legislative session, the first major piece of legislation was signed into law. HF1777, authored by Tax Committee Chairs Representative Ann Lenczewski (DFL-Bloomington) and Senator Rod Skoe (DFL-Clearbrook), included $447 million in tax relief. The bill was primarily designed to conform the state's individual and corporate franchise tax code to recent changes in the federal tax code retroactive to tax year 2013. The bill also repealed three business-to-business sales taxes that were enacted in the previous session, including the repair and maintenance of business equipment, telecommunications equipment purchases, and storage and warehousing services. 

 

Second Omnibus Tax Bill
The second omnibus tax bill was approved by the House and Senate with near unanimous support.  The bill provides $103 million in tax relief.  More than half of the relief is directed at property tax relief to homeowners, farmers, and renters.  The bill contains funding to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, provides additional local government aid payments to cities, and extends the local government sales tax exemptions to joint powers boards and other local government organizations.  Final negotiations by the tax conference committee overlapped with the bonding discussions when additional funding mechanisms for the Lewis and Clark water project were added to the tax bill.  The tax bill authorizes the local officials to issue $45 million in debt for the water project.  The debt service will be repaid 2/3rd by the state and 1/3rd by the local governments.  Most notably, the final bill did not contain a House proposal, vigorously opposed by BOMA, to shift Commercial/Industrial property taxes from lower valued buildings to higher valued ones.  This would have been a substantial property tax increase for BOMA members.  There are few years when two omnibus tax bills – with broad bipartisan support, pass during one legislative session.

 

Bonding Bill
The second year of a legislative biennium is referred to as the bonding year. The bonding bill includes capital investment projects that are located across the state intended to stimulate the state's economy through the creation of thousands of construction jobs. The bill can prove to be difficult to pass because it requires a supermajority vote for passage. That requires bipartisan support.

The general obligation bonding bill, HF2490, authored by Representative Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul), is an $846 million capital investment bill that funds numerous projects, including $279 million for the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, $126 million to continue the restoration of the State Capitol, $56 million for the Minnesota State Security Hospital in St. Peter and $21.5 million for the renovation of Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.

This year, there was an opportunity to have a second capital projects bill utilizing cash made available from the budget surplus. HF1068, also authored by Representative Hausman, spends a total of $199 million in cash for projects that include $35 million for the expansion of the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, $30 million for local road improvement grants, $22 million for the Lewis and Clark water pipeline in southwest Minnesota, and $14 million for the Mankato Civic Center.

 

Medical Marijuana
Although this bill appeared to be dead, chief authors Representative Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) and Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) held a news conference days before adjournment to announce a compromise that Governor Dayton could sign into law. The compromise was a narrow bill allowing for the medical use of cannabis in pill and oil form for certain qualifying medical conditions. The Department of Health will also start a patient registry for people with these conditions to create an observational study on the impact of medical marijuana. Patients will start to receive treatment in the summer of 2015.

 

Electronic Cigarettes
After much debate between the parties who felt strongly about the measure, a compromise was reached in the last week of the session on how to deal with electronic cigarettes. Health advocates proposed to treat e-cigarettes the same as traditional cigarettes under the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act. Those favoring the use of e-cigarettes, argued that no health hazard has been proven and no regulation should occur at this time. The ultimate language that was adopted bans the use of e-cigarettes in any building owned or operated by the State of Minnesota or other political subdivision. Further, the new law permits political subdivisions or businesses to adopt more stringent prohibitions on these devices as they see fit.

Women's Economic Security Act
The legislature passed the Women's Economic Security Act (WESA) and Governor Dayton signed the bill into law on Mother's Day. The bill, authored by Representative Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) and Senator Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul), expands a broad range of employment and labor protections for women. The law increases unpaid leave from six to 12 weeks and expands family leave and reasonable accommodations for pregnant and nursing mothers. Additionally, WESA allows victims of domestic violence to qualify for unemployment and requires state contractors with more than 40 employees and contracts larger than $500,000 to comply with new equal pay requirements. Concerns raised by the business community resulted in the elimination of several provisions from the bill as introduced and modifications to other provisions in the final package. Many of the provisions are complex and have varying effective dates. Faegre Baker Daniels attorneys Kyle Fogt and Daniel Prokott provided a detailed analysis in the firm's May 13 legal update.

 

Minimum Wage Increase
Minnesota's minimum wage will increase under a bill the House and Senate finalized in late April. The agreement, authored by Representative Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) and Senator Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis), sets a new Minnesota minimum wage at $9.50 an hour for business over $500,000 in gross receipts and $7.75 an hour for businesses under $500,000 in gross receipts that will be phased in by 2016. The House and Senate disagreed on many issues, including the minimum wage rate, an appropriate training wage and youth wage, and the size of a small business. The sharpest point of contention was whether to provide for increases tied to the consumer price index. Ultimately, the new law tied minimum wage increases to the implicit price deflator beginning in 2018. The bill also allows the Commissioner of Labor and Industry to suspend and/or accelerate the inflator. The debate about this bill will certainly continue during the fall elections.

 

Supplemental Budget
The supplemental budget, HF3172, was the final major piece of legislation to pass this session. The $283 million spending package, authored by Representative Lyndon Carlson (DFL-Crystal) and Senator Richard Cohen (DFL-St. Paul), includes funding for education, home- and community-based health workers and rural broadband. The bill will also provide debt service for the renovation of the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota.

The bill provided for a $105 million funding increase in Health and Human Services. Home health care workers received a 5 percent pay increase totaling $80.3 million. The supplemental budget bill allocated $54 million in additional spending on E-12 education. Legislators appropriated $4.6 million in additional funding for the early learning scholarships and are removing the $5,000 scholarship cap in 2016. Legislators also allocated additional funding for English language learners programs and school lunches, and permanently increased the per-pupil funding formula by $25. Efforts to remove the postsecondary enrollment options (PSEO) "gag rule" led to an amendment to the budget bill that allows higher education institutions to advertise the financial benefits of PSEO to students in school districts with more than 700 students in grades 7-10 through the 2019-20 school year. The bill allocates more than $22 million for higher education with $17 million going to cover compensation costs for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities faculty.

 

The "Unsession"
Governor Mark Dayton named the 2014 legislative session the "Unsession" in an effort to streamline and improve state government. State agencies reviewed Minnesota statute and rules to search for redundant, outdated and unnecessary laws. The Governor's office has reported that more than 1,100 Unsession provisions have been enacted.

 

Legislative Retirements
Several legislators announced their retirement from the Minnesota House of Representatives. The retiring legislators are:

  • Representative Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) — Abeler is running for the U.S. Senate
  • Representative Michael Beard (R-Shakopee) — Beard is running for Scott County Commissioner
  • Representative Mike Benson (R-Rochester)
  • Representative John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka)
  • Representative Kathy Brynaert (DFL-Mankato)
  • Representative David FitzSimmons (R-Albertville)
  • Representative Mary Liz Holberg (R-Lakeville) — Holberg is running for Dakota County Commissioner
  • Representative Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth)
  • Representative Andrea Kieffer (R-Woodbury)
  • Representative Ernie Leidiger (R-Mayer)
  • Representative Pam Myhra (R-Burnsville) — Myhra is running for Lieutenant Governor with former State Representative Marty Seifert
  • Representative Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul)
  • Representative Kelby Woodard (R-Belle Plaine)
  • Representative Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) — Zellers is running for Governor

 

Election Preview
This November, Minnesota voters will be selecting a Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Auditor, a U.S. Senator, all eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Representatives in the Minnesota House. Both the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and Republican Party are hosting their state endorsing conventions from May 30 to June 1. The primary election will be on August 12, and the general election will be held on November 4.

In the gubernatorial race, incumbent Governor Dayton is seeking re-election after serving one term. He has selected a new running mate for Lt. Governor in Tina Smith, his former chief of staff. Republican gubernatorial candidates include former Speaker of the Minnesota House Kurt Zellers, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, former State Representative Marty Seifert, State Senator Dave Thompson, businessman Scott Honour and school teacher Rob Farnsworth.

Seifert, Thompson, Johnson and Zellers have announced their Lieutenant Governor choices. Seifert is running with former State Representative Pam Myhra from Burnsville, Thompson has teamed with State Senator Michelle Benson from Ham Lake, Johnson selected former State Representative Bill Kuisle from Rochester and Zellers picked former State Representative Dean Simpson from New York Mills. The Independence Party has endorsed software developer Hannah Nicollet of Roseville as its gubernatorial candidate.

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Al Franken is seeking re-election after serving his first term. The Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate include State Senator Julianne Ortman, investment banker Mike McFadden, former State Representative Jim Abeler, St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg and farmer Monti Moreno. Business consultant Kevin Terrell of Minneapolis earned the Independence Party's nomination for the Senate seat.

Conclusion
The legislature adjourned early with DFL legislators emphasizing a stable budget accompanied by tax relief, increased education funding, health care workers salary increases, funding of many capital projects and the increase in the minimum wage. Republican minorities are criticizing the $2 billion tax increase from 2013, the minimum wage increase and other spending increases supported by the DFL. The voters will ultimately decide whether they approve of the work of the DFL majorities over the past two sessions when they go to the polls in November 2014. The newly elected legislature will convene on January 6, 2015.

 

For more information about BOMA Minnesota click here

 

UPDATE: BOMA Opposes C/I Tax Exemption Failed!

The conference committee decided not to adopt the House provision to exempt the first $150,000 of property value in C/I taxes.  BOMA is pleased with the results as it will help small, mid-size, and large property owners.  Greater Saint Paul BOMA, BOMA MN, along with other business groups, efforts to stop the enactment of this provision has resulted in an outcome that is beneficial to the commercial industry.  

The 2014 Minnesota House tax bill included a provision to exempt the first $150,000 of value for commercial and industrial properties.  The intent of the provision was to provide tax relief to small business property owners.  The overall effect would be that properties valued at greater than $1.1 Million would pay a net increase in property taxes to make up for the shortfall due to the exemption.  The Legislature’s Conference Committee discussed this provision.  Greater Saint Paul BOMA, in cooperation with BOMA MN, sent a letter to Conference Committee members opposing this provision to the tax bill.  BOMA presented the argument that this provision will negatively impact small business tenants in properties over $1.1 Million.  Thus, the provision is just a shift of taxes from one group to another, not true property relief.

Letter to Conference Committee  

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