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HPC approves Forepaugh’s porch reconstruction

On September 25, members of St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) approved the demolition and reconstruction of the front porch of the historic Forepaugh mansion, 276 Exchange St.

Thomas Duffy, the owner of Turn-Key Associates, the firm contracted to perform exterior renovation on the 152-year-old building, said in his testimony to the HPC that, while most of the exterior is able to be refurbished, the porch is completely unsalvable. 

“The front porch is a total loss,” he said. “The porch is in terrible, terrible condition. It’s really not safe.”

The demolition and reconstruction was unanimously approved by the HPC with nine conditions to ensure the work meets the City’s guidelines for historic preservation.

Duffy said that, while he is only contacted for exterior renovations, there have been contractors cleaning kitchens and dining rooms in the building and that the interior is in “pretty darn good shape.”

He said that he believes long-time owner and operator Taher, Inc. to be working toward reopening Forepaugh’s restaurant, which shuttered in 2019. 

Construction on the mansion was completed in 1871. It operated as a restaurant from 1976-2019, when it closed abruptly after the sudden death of their executive chef.

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