The 428 Rooftop Terrace HDR

“The 428” Earns WELL Certification at the Gold Level

For nearly 30 years, the 1950’s-era F.W. Woolworth Co. Building sat derelict in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. But the recently renovated, former five-and-dime store reopened its doors in September 2018 as a strikingly contemporary office building. Capturing a mid-century architectural vibe, the building — appropriately named The 428 because of its address on the northeast corner of 7th Place and Minnesota Street — was thoughtfully planned to support personal wellness, environmental sustainability and flexible tenant requirements.

What makes the 60,000-square-foot building especially progressive was the fact that The 428 was the first in the city of St. Paul to pursue WELL Building Standard Core & Shell Certification. This new performance-based system has been embraced for its comprehensive strategies for advancing human health and well-being through building design and operations.

Even more impressive: The 428 is now the first building in the five-state area to achieve WELL Certification and among only 19 buildings in the U.S. to earn a WELL Gold level rating.


Owners HFS Properties and Commercial Real Estate Services had decided early in the process to pursue LEED Silver certification, recognizing it as the pinnacle standard in green building and energy efficiency. But they also wanted to incorporate cutting-edge innovations that would contribute to capturing and retaining talented employees, an attractive benefit for tenants seeking a meaningful return on investment in terms of their personnel costs.

To that end, the architecture and design team of HDR, along with general contractor McGough Construction, turned to the WELL Building Standard and its strategies that emphasize the seven focus areas of health and well-being: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind.

Several features of WELL, both visible and invisible, were built into the structure:

  • Exterior brick on the south and west façades was replaced with an appropriate amount of glazing  to allow natural light to enter deep into tenant spaces in the building’s core, while maximizing views to the outdoor and mitigating any harsh direct solar glare that may enter from these directions.
  • The roof top houses patios and an annex of occupiable space intended for collaborative working, with floor-to-ceiling glass that provides a biophilic connection to nature for those utilizing the space.
  • The communal rooftop patios are available for all tenants to use.
  • The interior lighting responds to the daylighting of the outdoors to support a person’s natural circadian rhythm, adjusting for the amount and color of light at the correct time of day.
  •  In order to encourage tenants’ physical activity the south stair was relocated from behind a closed door to front and center, inspiring tenants to take the stairs over the elevators. The stair enclosure was designed to extend to the exterior of the building, creating the lobby for the building. Earth-themed graphic elements and art work, along with colored precast concrete treads, further encourage the use of the stairs.

Among other WELL-inspired features are: filtered city water (to remove chemicals such as fluoride); heat-reflecting glass; sophisticated air filtering; bike storage and repair stations; and showers in the lower level.

About HDR

For more than a century, HDR has partnered with clients to shape communities and push the boundaries of what’s possible. Our expertise spans nearly 10,000 employees, in more than 200 locations around the world — and counting. Our engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services bring an impressive breadth of knowledge to every project. Our optimistic approach to finding innovative solutions defined our past and drives our future.