St. Paul building that was designated backup morgue is now for sale

A building that was a designated backup morgue when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit is now for sale.

Minnesota bought a warehouse last year as the state prepared for the worst case scenario with COVID-19 deaths. The multi-million dollar purchase would have served as a backup morgue in St. Paul, but now the building is for sale and has a potential buyer.

The Saint Paul Port Authority's Board of Commissioners is meeting Tuesday to discuss purchasing the property from the State of Minnesota.

The nearly five-acre property is located on the 1400 block of L'Orient Street. At the time, Governor Tim Walz referred to it as an insurance policy, a building that could serve as an overflow morgue during the pandemic. It would have been capable of holding more than 5,000 bodies.

Thankfully, that was never needed, so the warehouse was briefly used to store shipments of PPE. 

Now, appraisers say the property is worth $175,000 more than what it was last sold for, and documents show the Port Authority hopes to close on the sale by December 1st.

The Port Authority said they will need to determine job goals for the site and secure a buyer or partner who can deliver on economic development goals.