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Como Lakeside Pavilion

Como Lakeside Pavilion features a full-service Café/Deli, banquet and meeting rooms currently managed by Black Bear Crossings (Events can still be booked with Black Bear Crossings through the end of 2014). No new bookings will be accepted for dates after Jan. 4, 2015, as Black Bear Crossings will be leaving the Pavilion at the end of 2014. All events dates already booked for 2015 or 2016 will continue to be honored by the city (and the new partner). Customers may also elect to cancel their event and request a full refund. 

Over the past several months, the City completed a competitive selection process for finding a new vendor for the management of the Pavilion. In June, the City collected feedback and ideas through a survey (see results here), and hosted two community meetings and collected feedback from an on-site survey of users around Como Lake in August. The meetings and surveys allowed Saint Paul residents and park users to explore ideas and identify options that were included as part of the outreach for a new service provider at the Pavilion. 

The department used the ideas and analyses gathered at the community meetings and surveys to shape a request for proposals to attract service providers who will create attractive and fun opportunities for area residents and park visitors alike to enjoy Como Lake. 

Anticipated timeline:

September 2: Request for proposal (RFP) release date. Please see
September 12, 9-11 a.m.: Proposal meeting at Como Lakeside Pavilion (for prospective vendors possibly submitting a proposal)
October 9: Proposals due
October 10-12: Evaluation of proposals (by committee)
December 4: Contract ready for Parks Commission review

Evaluation Committee

Proposals will be evaluated by representatives from the following:
• City Council Wards 1, 4, 5
• District 6 North End Planning Council
• District 10 Como Community Council
• Parks & Recreation Commission
• City of Saint Paul (Parks, City Finance, & Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity)
• Entertainment/Restaurant Industry
• Midway Chamber of Commerce
• Community Input Facilitator - BWBR

12/4/14 - UPDATE - The City issued the following press release

Mayor Coleman, Councilmember Brendmoen Announce Como Dockside Selected to Manage Como Lakeside Pavilion

New venue will reflect community demands for top-notch customer experience, connection to Lake, significant private investment

SAINT PAULMayor Chris Coleman and Councilmember Amy Brendmoen today announced Como Dockside has been selected as the new management partner for the Como Lakeside Pavilion – with plans to open a newly renovated venue as soon as the spring of 2015. The tentative agreement will be reviewed by the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Commission on Dec. 10, before heading to the Saint Paul City Council for final approval on Dec. 17.

“Como Regional Park is one of the state’s most popular destinations,” said Mayor Coleman. “This proposed new venue will not only take full advantage of the unique space situated on the edge of Como Lake, but it will also offer services, food and recreation activities that will make it a vibrant destination for residents and visitors alike.”

Following a lengthy competitive bidding process and community-based evaluation, the selected proposal reflects significant public input and includes a full-service restaurant, catering services, outdoor summer recreation options on the lake, a summer concession stand with direct access from the adjacent walking trails and at least 100 events at a newly renovated outdoor promenade performance area and stage overlooking the lake.

“The Como Lakeside Pavilion is a beautiful and beloved public facility,” said Councilmember Amy Brendmoen. “Launching off the feedback of nearly 1,500 community members, these proven Saint Paul proprietors bring the business acumen, creativity and positive energy that will help bring these visions to life.”

Under the tentative agreement, Como Dockside – whose owners also operate Amsterdam Bar in Saint Paul and the 331 Club in Minneapolis – will be responsible for operations and day-to-day maintenance costs. Como Dockside will also make capital investments totaling $200,000 by June 1, 2015, meet or exceed a series of performance expectations established by the city, and guarantee a minimum $500,000 commission to the city through 2020 – with conservative commission projections surpassing $780,000. With the capital investment and the commission projections combined, the City stands to gain more than $1 million over five years.

“This venue offers incredible potential, and the city successfully negotiated a solid deal in a competitive marketplace,” said Vice President/General Manager of the Saint Paul RiverCentre Jim Ibister, who was asked by the City to review the key tenets of the deal. “There are always two sides to every agreement, and the city has structured the agreement in a way that should allow both Como Dockside and the city to be successful.”

Deal highlights

The following are basic deal points that take effect following an initial start-up period:

  • Guaranteed minimum annual revenue payments of $100,000, and an initial capital investment of $200,000 by June 1, 2015
  • Monthly revenue commission payments to city totaling nine percent of monthly gross revenue
  • Responsibility by Como Dockside for all day-to-day maintenance costs of facility (City retains responsibility for all exterior maintenance)
  • A capital investment fund that receives three percent of monthly gross revenue above $150,000 during peak summer months
  • Full evaluation of Como Dockside’s performance by the city prior to any potential agreement renewal
  • Expanded minimum hours
  • Breakfast lunch and dinner options
  • Enhanced focus on community amenities and public access
  • New recreational amenities – including bocce ball courts, rental equipment and picnic tables
  • A summer concession stand with direct access from the adjacent walking trails
  • At least 100 events at a newly renovated outdoor promenade performance area and stage overlooking the lake

Therese Kelly, a former Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Commissioner and member of the 14 person review committee who helped select Como Dockside added, “We have seen the venues like Tin Fish and Sandcastle take off in Minneapolis and to really become destinations. As a community member, I am excited to see a similarly dynamic entity take hold in this unique setting.”

Como Dockside will take over the facility beginning January 5, 2015, with its grand opening tentatively scheduled for late spring of 2015. Como Dockside will announce plans in the near future for how new event bookings can be made starting in 2015.

  • 1360 Lexington Pkwy. N.

Groups or individuals seeking to lock in a new 2015 event at the Como Lakeside Pavilion will need to wait until a new vendor is selected. The City of Saint Paul has a variety of other public facilities available though that can be reserved by contacting the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Permit Office at  or 651-632-5111. Although new 2015 bookings for the Pavilion are not being taken at this time, groups or individuals wanting to reserve the Pavilion for a new event in 2015 can continue to check this website for status updates and details.

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