New jobs coming to Midway

Posted on 10 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

A firm with water resource projects, including the recent Transforming Central work, is relocating to University Ave.
The St. Paul City Council Jan. 8, 2020, acting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Board, unanimously approved a $49,500 forgivable Strategic Investment Fund loan to Emmons & Olivier Resources, Inc.
It is one of two jobs creation projects coming to the Midway.
“We’re excited to be here,” said Brent Emmons, CEO of Emmons & Olivier. “This is a big decision for us. Our business is growing.” He described the University Ave. site as being in a vibrant area. “We found a great location.”
The location is on University between Fairview and Prior avenues.
Recently the development firm Reuther Walton announced plans to build two apartment buildings east of the site.

Central High project
Emmons & Olivier Resources is moving its headquarters to 1919 University Ave. from Oakdale. It is a water resource-based engineering and environmental consulting firm that specializes in water resources engineering, watershed planning, environmental compliance, biological surveying, restoration. sustainable site design, planning, and landscape architecture. The company works with watershed districts and watershed management organizations, municipalities, counties, federal and state agencies, corporations and individuals. It has six offices, with two in Ontario, Canada, three in Iowa and one in Wisconsin.
Emmons & Olivier has been in business since 1996 and has been looking for a St. Paul site since 2016, according to an HRA staff report. The site at 1919 University Ave. was occupied for many years by University of Minnesota offices. Now known as University Centre, the building houses a variety of local government and private companies.
The move will fill vacant office space, which is undergoing renovation. The company will use the city funds to purchase office furnishings and fixtures.
Emmons & Olivier was involved in design work for Transforming Central. The St. Paul Central High School project took place between 2011-2019. Part of the project included managing stormwater runoff on school property, improving landscaping, relocating walkways and creating an outdoor classroom. The project had a total cost of more than $760,000.

‘We’re seeing job growth’
Interim Department of Planning and Economic Development (PED) Director Kristin Guild praised the company’s move to St. Paul. “They’re bringing 33 jobs to start and are projecting at least three more so we’re seeing some growth,” she said.
The Strategic Investment Fund will have $208,602 remaining after the Emmons & Olivier funding was approved. The loan fund can be used for capital expenses, leasehold improvements or other renovation of space. It can also costs of parking and transit-related improvements. The term of the loan would be five years and the interest rate will be 5.75 percent (prime plus one percent).
A key feature of the Strategic Investment Fund is its focus on retaining companies. Each scheduled yearly payment on the loan would be forgiven if Emmons & Olivier maintains at least 33 full-time (or full-time equivalent) jobs on site. The loan will be a full-recourse obligation of the company. The HRA will have a separate security interest in the firm’s fixtures, equipment, and other business assets.
Most firms that receive loans from the fund meet their obligations and the loans are forgiven. It’s rare for a firm to default on a loan.

‘This is a great fit’
Mary Rick administers the fund for PED. “We really felt like this was a great fit, primarily because the company is relocating their headquarters into St. Paul,” she said. That is one of the primary criteria for the fund. Rick also said that the Emmons & Olivier track record, historical financial performance, the types of jobs offered and the types of business the firm generates are other factors. “We use a pretty extensive scorecard,” she added.

108 new jobs coming
The move of Emmons & Olivier, and a second Jan. 8 HRA action to sell part of the old St. Paul Fire Department property at 1675 Energy Park Drive will bring a total of 108 new jobs to the city.
Citing the increased jobs, Ward 2 Council Member Rebecca Noecker said, “It’s a great day for St. Paul.”
The property sale to Wellington Management affiliate Snelling Properties LLC will help tenant Minnetronix expand its medical technology business, but adding parking area. Minnetronix current employs 260 people at its location near Energy Park Drive, and has plans to add 75 more jobs over the next three years. A $6 million expansion is planned by Snelling Properties to accommodate Minnetronix.

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