Norm's Shallow Pockets

St. Paul had no trouble coming up with $108 million for Lawson's new office tower, yet the city says it can only afford to pay $10,000 to relocate each of the uprooted businesses.

YOU'D THINK THAT since St. Paul is spending more than $100 million to build Lawson Software a posh new headquarters on a prime piece of downtown St. Paul real estate, the city would dig a little deeper than usual to help the owners of the businesses being displaced. But St. Paul has announced it will pay only up to $10,000 for moving expenses to the businesses they're running off the block bounded by Wabasha, St. Peter, and Fifth and Sixth streets, an amount that simply doesn't cover the costs, according to the affected businesses.

It will cost waymore than $10,000 to take everything down, move it, and set it back up, Jamie McGovern says of his Shannon Kelly Pub, at its current location for eight years. The city has offered low-interest loans to business owners to help close the gap, but as moving day, February 6, approaches, McGovern says he'd rather shut down than take out a loan to move. "It's probably the end of Shannon Kelly's as we know it," he says. "I don't think it's up to me to go into debt to move. I didn't decide to move, the city decided to take over the block. I think I should be compensated, whether it's for my fixtures or whatever... This is my livelihood--I've been at it since I got out of college."

Moudry Apothecary Shop and Arthur Williams Opticians, at their current locations since 1929 and 1923, respectively, will also have to find new digs, while the old Applebaum's supermarket will most likely simply be shuttered for good. "We have been very generous," Mayor Norm Coleman told the Star Tribune, "but there are shifts in economic realities we cannot control."

 
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