The Saint Paul Athletic Club was designed by Allen Stem of Reed and Stem, who notably worked on the St. Paul Hotel, the University Club of St. Paul, and NYC’s Grand Central Station. Today, the building functions as a spectacular venue thanks to the stunning Grand Ballroom, which dates back to 1917, and it also offers an array of other inviting amenities.
Just a 15-minute drive and over 23-minute train journey from Minneapolis, the Saint Paul Athletic Club is worth visiting thanks to its breathtaking design features and interesting past. It’s also the place to plan an unforgettable event surrounded by elegance.
Facts, Curiosities and Interesting Things about the Saint Paul Athletic Club
1. Constructing a landmark
The Saint Paul Athletic Club belongs to a generation of landmarks. During the early 1900s, wealthy individuals were thinking about “legacy projects”. Based on this want be remembered and gift the community with something meaningful, several landmark buildings, including The Minnesota Club (1910), The University Club of St. Paul (1913), and The Saint Paul Athletic Club (1917) were built.
2. Conscious creation and design
The Saint Paul Athletic Club was not only recognized by locals, but it also drew national attention thanks to the renowned architect Allen Stem’s design. The club was a place of relaxation as well as an important meeting place. With squash courts, sleeping rooms, a barber shop, and many more amenities, and its English Renaissance style, the Saint Paul Athletic Club thrived and continued to expand—in 1950, penthouse dining was added to the 14th floor.
3. Something worth saving
Unfortunately, this expansion later led to unfixable problems. The member-owned club went bankrupt nine years later, and closed suddenly in 1989. An auction was scheduled to sell the building’s structural elements, after having already auctioned off its furniture etc., but just one hour before the Saint Paul Athletic Club was stripped of all its history, Wallas Orfield Sr. purchased the building and exclaimed, “Stop the auction I just bought the building!”
Although he never purchased the building, Wallas Orfield Sr. did buy the building time.
What can you do at the Saint Paul Athletic Club?
After sitting vacant for about five years, John Rupp saw the building’s potential and bought it out of bankruptcy. After spending millions of dollars on renovation the building, together with Lifetime Fitness (Rupp’s first tenant), the Saint Paul Athletic Club was transformed into a stunning event venue in Saint Paul.
Today, you can enjoy top-tier amenities at the Saint Paul Athletic Club, including Hotel 340 (a boutique hotel located on floors 10, 11, and 12), providing a venue for weddings and corporate events, office leasing, a gym, bar, pool, and more.
For some time, the Saint Paul Athletic Club hosted the Candlelight series where musical delights were unveiled bathed in the soft glow of candlelight. Although there are no upcoming intimate concerts at the club, Candlelight is illuminating several other striking venues across Minneapolis.