Update on the Mohawk Theater (is it for sale or isn’t it?)


If you’ve been by the Mohawk Theater lately, you’ve probably noticed some signs of activity. The “for sale” signs have come down, the doors have been painted red, and there’s a dumpster bag full of construction debris in the alley.

I hate burying the lede, so before you get your hopes up: The theater is up for sale again. maybe up for sale or maybe it isn’t. Not for sale anymore.

If you’re just catching up, the theater was seized by Ramsey County for back taxes back in 2013. The property failed to sell at auction last spring for $340,000, and again failed to sell at a September auction for $225,200.

However, according to a source at the county, the building was purchased by an entity called Beeldaaje First Properties LLC a week after the auction (tax-forfeit properties that don’t sell at auction remain available at the low-bid price, so we’re assuming it was purchased for $225,200).

Beeldaaje First is owned by a guy in Eagan, I was able to track down an email address and have attempted to contact him, but haven’t heard anything back yet. The clerk at Ramsey County is pretty sure he’s planning to resell (a very safe guess considering there’s an active real estate listing). but now he appears to have changed his mind.

So, Smith Avenue’s most prominent architectural landmark can be yours for $299,900. The listing has some additional photos of the interior if you’ve ever been curious about what it looks like on the inside.

UPDATE #1: Some conflicting reports now as to whether or not the building is actually for sale. I’ve got a call into the realtor, will update soon.

UPDATE #2: A neighboring business owner says the new theater owner’s plan to sell or rent the building has run into code and permitting snags. At this point, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, the new owner doesn’t want to sell because he’s has now invested a lot of money bringing the building up to code. He instead wants to develop some sort of community center and/or rental hall. Still waiting to hear back.

UPDATE #3: The listing agent has confirmed that the property is no longer for sale. A couple of interested buyers had previously contacted the city about a liquor license but there are no more available in Ward 2, so that essentially eliminates any restaurant/bar-type usages unless someone else gives up their license or the city changes the charter.

Also, while the back taxes on the property were forgiven as part of the foreclosure sale, the owner must start paying current taxes (around $7,000/year) in May.

Oxendale’s has big plans for former Jim’s Market


Oxendale’s Market in Minneapolis

The grocery store at Smith and Dodd is changing hands for the second time in five years, but this time the owners are a little closer to home.

Oxendale’s Market, a grocery store serving the Nokomis neighborhood in Minneapolis, began operating the store as of November 1. The previous owner, Jim’s Market, was a rural chain based in central Minnesota.

Ray Oxendale, the retired owner of the Nokomis store (now run by his son, Neil), says there are big — but gradual — changes ahead for the West St. Paul store.

“Whatever they see at this [Nokomis] store, we’re going to try to have there.”

That includes more organic produce and local products, Ray says. The Nokomis store also has an in-house butcher shop, bulk goods (such as grains and dried beans) and a floral department. Local products carried at the store include Thousand Hills beef, Cedar Summit dairy products, Peace Coffee, Ames Farm Honey and others.

The existing staff will stay in place.

Ray also anticipates extensive remodeling of the Smith Avenue store, a process they’ve undertaken over the course of about seven years at the Minneapolis location.

The family sees a lot of potential in the neighborhood, which Ray described as demographically similar to Nokomis, and which doesn’t have a lot of competition in the grocery sector: “there’s nothing nearby.”

We’re excited to see another growing business set up in the neighborhood. You can find out more about Oxendale’s at their website or Facebook page.

[hat tip: Amanda Garza]

Last-minute Art on the Avenue additions

Some events have been added to Art on the Avenue that don’t appear in the program:

At the Doddway Shopping Center (Jim’s Market, at Smith and Dodd), there will be a West St. Paul fire truck and police car on display, as well as a rock-painting activity for kids, artisan candles, and a nature art show.

Also, the West Side Youth Guides will be holding a clothing drive in conjunction with the event. You can drop off donations at the BankCherokee parking lot.

The full schedule of events can be found here. We hope to see you on Saturday!

10 reasons why you should go to Art on the Avenue on Saturday

Art on the Avenue is this Saturday, starting at noon. Here’s why you need to go:

1) See Smith Avenue the way you’ve always imagined it. Get out and take a stroll, meet new neighbors, stop into that shop or cafe you’ve been meaning to check out but haven’t had the time for.

Kent and Emily Aldrich, Paulman kids outside Celtic jam

2) Go on a bicycle scavenger hunt with these guys:

capital deals

3) Try your hand at latte art:

Latte art Dali

4) Meet the person who made this video:


5) Help create a mile-long book. Seriously, it’s going to be a mile long! Or make your mark on neighborhood history with the West Side Mural Project.

Sarah Stengle shows off the first stages of the Mile Long Book.

6) Find some new artwork for your wall:

Electric Machete

7) Or maybe photography is more your thing?

Ellie Leonardsmith at Amore Coffee

8) You can see this band for free:

… or this band:

… or this band:


9) Get Chorizo and Eggs at the Capital View, coffee at Amore, a cupcake at Taste of Love, and a burger and a beer at the Cherokee Tavern all in the same day because hey, you burned a lot of calories walking around all afternoon, right?


10) Because there’s too much stuff to list here, so download the event program (or pick up a copy at a neighborhood business) and come on out and join us!

African children’s choir among Night to Unite highlights

This Tuesday night (August 5) is Night to Unite/National Night Out – a nationwide series of community block parties aimed to unite neighborhoods and prevent crime.

This year’s events are especially poignant as the community still reels from the death of Officer Scott Patrick — a memorial at the site of Ofc. Patrick’s shooting continues to grow at Smith and Dodd, and many of this year’s block parties will be collecting donations for his family.

There are several parties taking place in the Smith Avenue neighborhood (see list below). Typically, these are welcoming, informal affairs with food, games and an opportunity for neighbors to get to know each other. It’s a great night to go for a walk or hop on your bike and roam around.

The largest of these by far is the annual bash at St. James Lutheran Church at Annapolis and Cherokee. This year’s event includes a performance by the Asanti Children’s Choir along with food, puppet shows and other entertainment.

The St. James event runs from 6-8 p.m., Asanti is scheduled to perform at 6:15.

Below is a list of other neighborhood block parties taking place in the Smith Avenue neighborhood:

• Cherokee Heights Park (Baker between Delaware and Cherokee), 6-8:30 p.m.
• 800 block of Cherokee (btw Winona and Wyoming), 6-9 p.m.
• 700 block of Winslow (btw Sidney and Page), 5:30-9 p.m.
• 850 block of Ohio (btw Annapolis and Wyoming), 6-9 p.m.
• 230 block of Baker (btw Waseca and Charlton), 6-8:30 p.m.
• 780 block of Manomin (@ Curtice), 5-8 p.m.
• 750 block of Stryker (Curtice btw Stryker and Hall), 6-8 p.m.
• 900 block of Manomin, 6-9 p.m.
• 1000 block of Smith, 6-8 p.m.
• 900 block of Seminole, 6:30-9 p.m.
• 900 block of Stryker (times not posted)
• 900 block of Delaware 8-9 p.m.

The complete list of St. Paul block parties can be found here.

The complete West St. Paul list is here.

How you can help with Art on the Avenue


Art on the Avenue is by any definition a grassroots event. While the West Side Community Organization, particularly executive director Christine Shyne, does the heavy lifting of organizing, we depend on community volunteers to make the event happen.

We’re expecting this year’s event to be even bigger than last year, and we need your help! Please consider signing up to volunteer – there are tasks big and small, commitments from less than an hour to all day if you want.

Below are a list of opportunities. Please contact Christine at Christine@wsco.org or 651-293-1708 if you’re interested.

The event is Saturday, August 9 from noon to about 10 p.m. Either way, we hope to see you there!

Host site packet delivery
Help deliver artist signs, programs, etc. to host sites, check with host sites on needs/artists installation.  Times, flexible during the week of August 4-9th.

Sign distribution
Help us get the word out by putting out Art on the Avenue lawn signs at the host sites – time-flexible, date: August 8th.

Set up at BankCherokee lot
Saturday 10am-12pm, help set up tables, signs etc.

Set up at Mile Long Book
Saturday 11:45am-12:45pm, help to hold a section of the book as we walk it across the High Bridge. Children under 10 should be with an adult but otherwise child friendly.

Host Site greeter
Some hosts sites don’t have regular business hours or staff and want a volunteer to be there to greet guests and to answer basic questions about the art (info provided by artists), keep track of numbers of visitors, provide feedback about event to planning committee. Shifts are 2-3 hours in length between 12-6pm.
•BankCherokee Site Help: Help with children’s activity, set up and take down, watch for cleanliness, keep track of visitors provide programs and maps to visitors<
• WSCO site help: Help staff the WSCO booth at Rascher Plumbing. Keep track of visitors, answer questions about the event and WSCO, provide programs and maps, help answer questions about art exhibit (provided by artist)

Help take pictures and/or video of events and people.
shifts are flexible. (need to have own camera)

In-kind donation
Water, tents, chairs etc. If you can’t help during the day or have some of the items listed that you would like to loan out or donate for our volunteers it would be much appreciated!

Take down
Help us clean up and take down the lawn signs so we can use them the next year.

Help create a Mile Long Book at this year’s Art on the Avenue

Sarah Stengle shows off the first stages of the Mile Long Book.

Sarah Stengle shows off the first stages of the Mile Long Book.

One of the highlights of this year’s Art on the Avenue will be an opportunity to help create a Mile Long Book. The project, by artist and neighborhood resident Sarah Stengle, is a folding book that, when extended, will be literally one mile long once it is completed.

Stengle estimates the book will be completed by 2015. Meanwhile, participants of all ages at this year’s Art on the Avenue can help contribute by adding to the 64,000 pages it will take to complete the project.

“Participants can contribute to the book by folding, gluing, writing or drawing, as they prefer,” says Stengle.

Stengle’s plan is to ultimately unfold the entire book along the High Bridge, weather permitting.

“If it rips or tears in the process it can be mended,” she says. “I want this book to be the opposite of a precious artifact. I hope that a very hands-on collective process and a carefree attitude about mistakes, will make people comfortable in engage directly with the art of the book.”

The Mile Long Book project will be at Stengle’s studio near Smith and Stevens on St. Paul’s West Side. Other events, including art exhibits, music and children’s activities, will take place Saturday August 9 starting at noon along Smith Avenue from the south end of the High Bridge to Dodd Road in West St. Paul.

Watch for more posts highlighting Art on the Avenue events in the coming weeks…