Old fire station finds new owner

Plans call for the old St. Paul fire station at East Seventh Street and Flandrau Avenue to become a single-family home, with wood floors, a patio and a garden sanctuary. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Building will turn into a home, with fancy features

When St. Paul officials built “Old Engine House No. 24” in 1916 at the corner of East Seventh Street and Flandrau Avenue, they probably had no idea it would one day be turned into a home.

But after a months-long process to find a new owner, the city will sell the property to an East Sider to be renovated into a house.

St. Paul City Council approved the sale on Wednesday, March 5.

The new owner, Brian Kjellberg, will buy the 4,760-square-foot property from the city for $75,000, and plans to live in the building as his primary residence. He looks to be planning a substantial renovation.

While he’s buying the property as-is, he has agreed to make $67,500 in improvements required by the city.

Beyond that, the buyer has proposed a variety of extra features that aren’t required by the city: adding an elevator, a patio, and even a garden sanctuary.

Other proposed improvements include adding a security system, putting in new windows, a new boiler, and hardwood floors, as well as kitchen appliances, cabinets, and tile flooring.

In all, he anticipates spending just under $200,000 on improvements, according to a city document.

Chuck Repke, director of the District 2 Community Council, said the firehouse rehabilitation is “a positive change in the neighborhood.”

He said he expects it will turn out to be a nice building, and makes for “a nice way of maintaining a historic-looking structure in the neighborhood.”

The building was last used as an active fire station in 1970. Since then it’s been used mostly for equipment storage, and most recently held trailers, hazmat equipment, and a portable communications tower.

St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said that money from the sale will be used to keep a fire squad on the budget, and will also be part of funding to add a bay to Fire Station 19 in Highland Park.

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.

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