East Side site will be place to learn, meditate
If St. Paul plays a role in fostering world peace, look to the southwest corner of Ruth Street and Wilson Avenue as the center of the peace sign.
The Global Country of World Peace, the organization at the heart of transcendental meditation practice worldwide, on Wednesday closed on the purchase of three-quarters of an acre zoned for commercial use. There, in the southeast corner of the city, Minnesota will see its first “peace palace.”
Barring snags in the permits process, directors plan to break ground by June on a two-story, 12,000-square-foot building. Though directors have heard it could take 10 months to complete construction, their hope is to open to the public by year’s end.
The $1.5 million palace would house yoga and meditation sessions and classes, a lecture hall, a store for health products and a clearinghouse for literature and other Global Country information. If illustrations at the organization’s Web site are representative, arched windows and beveled columns will surround the marble-plated exterior of a domed, modular rectangle.
“We’re definitely a lot further along in terms of the investors, financing, the architecture and the builders,” said Michael Hauth, co-director of the drive to establish peace palaces in Minnesota.
Global Country insiders want to build 10 palaces in the Twin Cities — one for every 200,000 to 300,000 people — as part of a plan to establish 2,400 across the United States and 600 more in Europe. There are peace palaces in Lexington, Ky., Bethesda, Md., and Houston, as well as in Fairfield, Iowa, the group’s American base.
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“The next thing we need is a piece of land in Minneapolis,” Hauth said. “We don’t want just one palace.”
Some of the functions of the peace palace, primarily the store, have just become available at a Maharishi Vedic Spa, which opened Tuesday at Nicollet Avenue and 54th Street in Minneapolis. Hundreds of people also have responded to weekly advertisements touting the peace palace and what it will offer, Hauth said.
“I haven’t had a single negative call. People are just curious,” Hauth said. “Whatever their political affiliation, people do want world peace.”