By Reg Chapman

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A St. Paul institution is ready to rebuild to keep up with the changing face of its neighborhood.

O’Gara’s Bar and Grill has called the corner of Selby and Snelling Avenues home for 77 years.

Now the owner hopes to tear it all down and rebuild.

It’s just a small part of a big turnaround in that area. The new Minnesota United Soccer stadium is only four blocks away.

“We’re looking to seek approval to have the next phase of O’Gara’s start,” Dan O’Gara said.

Third generation owner Dan O’Gara says he’s anxious to bring positive change to the business his grandfather started 77 years ago.

“I think for O’Gara’s to be here on the corner for the next generation we need to keep up with the times and the technology,” O’Gara said.

He wants a new building, equipped with all the latest technology, while still keeping the character and charm O’Gara’s is famous for.

“We are going to harvest a lot of the things that make O’Gara’s O’Gara’s out of the building,” O’Gara said

The tin ceilings and iconic ceiling fans will be removed and placed in the new building.

“My grandpa in the ’40s painted this mural and my dad had it restored probably in about the mid ’80s when he expanded,” O’Gara said.

This mural will also find a home in the new space.

Retail on the bottom and apartment on the top, much like the Whole Foods and Vintage apartments across the street. O’Gara will use the same builders to make his dream a reality.

“We’re kind of modeling the way they seek approval for this the same way they did that, where they don’t have really any drawings or sketches of anything. They want to get input from the community first before they start spending a bunch of money on drawings and things,” O’Gara said.

“I think it will be good for the area and stuff for sure,” Patrick Schlingman said.

Schlingman lived above the bar for three years.

He knows with a new ballpark four blocks away, it’s important for O’Gara’s to change to be an anchor in this up and coming neighborhood.

“We are going to run shuttle service to the games from here. So I think it’s a really exciting time for the whole Midway area,” O’Gara said.

O’Gara is anxious to start the process that will include a community meeting on March 19 where he hopes to hear input from the community.

If O’Gara’s gets approval from the city and input from the community on what it wants to see, construction can begin as soon as this fall.


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