Project Library

Landmark Plaza:
From parking lot to lively,
river-themed town square

Landmark Plaza is located on the former Firstar Bank site, a small triangular parcel bounded by 5th, 6th, St. Peter and Market Streets – and adjacent to Landmark Center, The Saint Paul Hotel, restaurants and businesses. By 1999, major redevelopments had occurred around the underutilized lot, including construction of the Lawson Software building. The site held great potential to become an important crossroads, connecting the central business district with Rice Park and surrounding arts and cultural organizations.

Recognizing this opportunity, the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation acquired the property with an eye on redeveloping it as public green space. The Corporation launched a community design process to develop plans for the site – urban in character, yet green and accessible. Dedicated in 2003, Landmark Plaza is now a lively downtown park which hosts the annual WinterSkate outdoor ice rink, the Ordway’s International Children’s Festival and dozens of events. Its tree-lined walkways and benches have also become a favorite downtown lunch spot. With park space evenly divided between a paved plaza and an open grass lawn, the Plaza is flexible enough to function as a destination for events, festivals and performances and as an integral downtown greenway connection.

The $4.2 million funding for site acquisition and redevelopment came from a diverse partnership including the City of Saint Paul, foundations, corporations, the Saint Paul Port Authority and donations from Riverfront Corporation board members and individuals. A Plant Your Roots in Saint Paul community campaign brought in over 300 gifts for the park.

Landmark Plaza Features:

The open lawn provides space for reading a book, picnicking, playing bocce ball or viewing events. Over 40 trees, including river birch, sugar maple, aspen, and bur oak, provide shade and tree trunks for backrests. Limestone walls and park benches provide additional seating.

Market Street, along the park’s western border is uniquely designed to be closed, allowing it to become part of the plaza to accommodate festivals, concerts, exhibits and markets.

Unique stormwater management systems direct rain water to irrigate the surrounding planting beds and also filter the
runoff to remove contaminants before the water drains to the Mississippi.

Public art enhances the plaza, including three bronze sculptural groups of Peanuts characters, celebrating the city’s permanent tribute to Charles M. Schulz.

Clockwise from upper left: Landmark Plaza prior to redevelopment as a public green space; Landmark Plaza’s open lawn has become a popular gathering spot for downtown workers and residents, featuring River Birch and native plantings; the renovated Landmark Plaza, photo courtesy of SRF Consulting Group Inc.