June 25, 2018 10:31 PM
Ryan Companies, a Minneapolis-based development and realty company, has been awarded development of the former Ford plant site in St. Paul.
The company confirmed the news in a press release Monday.
The release said the company will begin "an extensive due diligence period to understand the history and complexities of the site," and will work with the city to follow its development plan.
The sale and development of the Ford site has been a tense topic in St. Paul. After the closure of the plant, the city formulated a master plan that laid out the process for redevelopment.
The council passed the plan in September.
The city's proposal includes mixed-use development for both business and residential buildings, while preserving green space at the site. Some in the Highland Park neighborhood felt buildings of 10 or 11 stories would be out of character with the surrounding area.
Longtime St. Paul City Council member, Dan Bostrom, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the size of the redevelopment site, 135 acres, makes this one of the most lucrative sites he's seen in his 22 years on the council and he thinks some tweaks to those new zoning laws are still possible.
"This is a very big site and I am not saying it is going to happen, but some changes to the zoning changes we recently made are a possibility," Bostrom said.
And, Bostrom added he thinks Ryan Cos. probably has an anchor already lined up to help complete whatever plans they have for the site.
"These things need something big at the center of it, sort of like a hub, and then they fan out with the spokes from there," Bostrom said. "With something this big, I would not be surprised if Ryan has already talked with some folks about providing that housing, or commercial anchor."
Dick Reitz told KSTP he was born and grew up with the Ford Plant in the Highland Park neighborhood and remembers riding his bike around the plant and often tried to gain a peek inside the windows.
"A lot of fond memories of that place," Reitz said. "I would try to press my face up against the factory windows to watch them build the cars and now to hear change is coming I think it can be a good thing for this neighborhood."
Any plans submitted by Ryan will have to be approved by the Planning Commission. Public hearings will be held and a final vote is needed for approval from the city council.
Ben Rodgers/Jay Kolls
Updated: June 25, 2018 10:31 PM
Created: June 25, 2018 05:03 PM
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