Future Looks Bleak for Sholom Home Property
Friday, February 2, 2018 9:10 AM


Owners of the former Sholom Home property on Midway Parkway say they are out of money and uncertain about the site’s future.

For more than two years, the Carlson CRE Group has been trying to assemble private and public financing to convert the abandoned nursing home into a 168-unit assisted living facility called Como Park Senior Living. But their latest stab at financing fell through, says David Grzan, president and CEO.

“We’re kind of in a free fall right now,” Grzan told District 10 in a phone conversation. “It’s a bad situation that’s getting worse, and we’re trying to catch our breath.”

Security fencing removed
In January, the owners’ previous construction partner removed security fencing from the site’s perimeter. “That was a huge disappointment,” Grzan said. “But we owe them money, so they’re not in the mood to do us any favors.”

Within a day, the main building was tagged with graffiti – an ominous sign, given the rampant vandalism, squatting, and criminal activity that neighbors say took place before Graham Construction installed fencing in late 2016. However, Grzan since has arranged with Zeman Construction to install a new fence, board up some additional first- and second-story windows, and clear public sidewalks of ice and snow. Initial graffiti also has been covered over.

The property at 1554 Midway Parkway has been vacant since 2009. District 10's Land Use Committee met with neighbors Feb. 7 to discuss concerns about the future of the property. The committee will meet with neighbors again during its March 7 meeting. In the meantime:

  • Neighbors calling in complaints about the property should consistently identify the property's address as 1554 Midway Parkway.
  • Neighbors who see suspicious or criminal activity in or around the building should call police at 651-291-1111 -- or call 911 for emergencies. They also should log or otherwise document the activity they report.
  • Neighbors who want to report code issues -- such as snow or ice on sidewalks, graffiti, or illegal dumping -- should call the city's Department of Safety and Inspections hotline: 651-266-8989.

DSI says it will monitor the property at least twice a week during daylight hours "and as often as possible during the evening hours."

Owners are in debt
Grzan says Carlson owes Graham and other debtors, and investors are not happy. “We’re in a defensive posture right now,” he says. “There are a lot of people chasing us for money.”

The irony, he says, is that the project could not secure additional financing, in part, because potential lenders wanted the buildings cleared of asbestos and permit-ready. “That took time and money,” but owners got it done, Grzan says. “We fixed the problems the market asked us to fix. The property is now bankable. But we’re in a financial bind.”

Selling the property is a possibility, but “isn’t optimal,” Grzan says, because owners are not likely to recover their investment. “We haven’t thrown in the towel, but our back is against the wall.”

Updated March 1, 2018

District 10 Como Community Council | 1224 Lexington Pkwy N, Saint Paul, MN 55103 | 651.644.3889 | district10 [at] district10comopark.org

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