Long-term vacancies in the City of Saint Paul are detrimental to neighborhood vitality and
depress economic growth. Based on our analysis, we recommend the following actions for
reducing long-term commercial vacancies:
● Improve Processes
○ Create and maintain a comprehensive list of commercial vacancies.
○ Better align Historic Preservation Commission activities with other City
○ Promote signage to activate spaces and invigorate Saint Paul streets.
○ Expand online permitting.
● Incentivize Behaviors
○ Increase property taxes on long-term commercial vacancies.
○ Use tax revenues (from long-term commercial vacancies) to provide tax
incentives to attract new businesses.
● Activate Spaces
○ Create a business pop-up/incubator program.
Scope & Process:
We implemented an exploratory approach in which discoveries in the first phase of the project
informed and directed the work plan for subsequent phases. Work proceeded in three phases,
which may be likened to a medical process: observation, diagnosis, and prescription.
Professional paper for the fulfillment of the Master of Public Policy degree.
Larson, Emily; McKay, Buck; Rashid, Umar.
Assessment of Long-Term Commercial Vancies in Saint Paul.
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