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Ryan Cos. to build St. Paul ballpark, after all

Ryan Cos. was finally awarded the contract to build the $54 million minor-league baseball stadium in St. Paul's Lowertown.

The deal to design and build comes three months after the city and the company had expected.

Back in October, the day after the city was awarded $25 million in state bonding funds for the project, the city announced a no-bid contract was going to Ryan to build the ballpark.

That sparked some outrage and a lawsuit by the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. So the city dropped the no-bid plan, and opened it up for bids.

Today, they announced that three companies had bid for the job and that Ryan was selected. The city will now begin contract negotiations with Ryan.

The other bidders were: Knutson Construction of Golden Valley and PCL Construction of Burnsville.

Said Mayor Chris Coleman, who'd made the ballpark a top legislative priority for the past few years:

"We are thrilled that this part of the process is complete, and that we are able to move forward to build the ballpark with a company that we know will be responsive and responsible, has demonstrated experience, and will hit the ground running. This ballpark will be an attraction for families across the region, it will add vitality to our community, it will bring 400,000 people to downtown yearly, and create hundreds of jobs. With this decision, we are one significant step closer to playing baseball in Lowertown."

The regional ballpark will have 7,000 seats and host games for the St. Paul Saints, which will provide $10 million in funding for the project, with $1.5 million up front and, for the rest, repaying bonds with revenue from naming rights and other sources. Amateur teams also will play there.

Ryan Cos. had worked with the city to develop the ballpark proposal, which is why it appeared to have a lock on the contract from the beginning.

Ryan President Pat Ryan said today:

"Based on our extensive past experience on this project, we knew we would submit a very competitive proposal. The Ryan team has a lot of experience and we look forward to leveraging our design/build expertise on this project."

The city notes that recent Ryan projects in the state include: the Minnesota Department of Revenue building in St. Paul, the Target Commons space and the MoZaic office and retail building, both in Minneapolis. And the company is now working on a major, multi-year renovation of the Bishop Henry Whipple building at Fort Snelling and 222 Hennepin, a mixed-use project that includes luxury apartments and a Whole Foods grocery store. 

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