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Developers detail $788 million plan for St. Paul riverfront

A rendering of the proposed development
Courtesy of AECOM
A rendering of the proposed development along the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul.

From the Pioneer Press’ Tad Vezner: “Developers of a Ramsey County project to place high-rises and public play space along a large swath of St. Paul’s downtown riverfront presented a clearer picture of what they’ve been working on the past several months — as well as an $80 million taxpayer price tag. During a County Board workshop Tuesday, representatives of Los Angeles-based AECOM presented a plan that largely coincided with the pitch they delivered in January: Four towers, ranging from 15 to 29 stories, atop an open-air shelf stretching from the upper levels of downtown nearly to the Mississippi River’s edge. … All at a cost of $788 million — including a requested $80 million in public funding.”

For MPR, Brian Bakst reports, “President Trump and Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar lobbed more criticism at each other Tuesday, with the president suggesting the feud would pay off politically for him next year. … Earlier in the day, Omar accused Trump of inflaming racial tensions and vilifying minorities with comments and actions that stretch back decades. …Minnesota state Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, and the conservative Judicial Watch separately asked the U.S. House Committee on Ethics to investigate Omar.”

The Star Tribune’s Erin Adler writes: “For five years, Excelsior city officials petitioned the state in vain for permission to levy a local sales tax so they could capture some of the dollars spent by out-of-towners at their lakeshore and picturesque downtown.… But this spring the Legislature gave the west-metro city of 2,400 the authority to enact a half-cent sales tax on general purchases starting Oct. 1, making Excelsior — along with Rogers, West St. Paul and Elk River — the first metro-area suburbs to implement a local tax on top of the statewide general sales tax of 6.875%.”

Also from the PiPress’ Vezner: “The Ramsey County board voted Tuesday to divert millions from other parks projects — including a multi-million dollar plan to make the county’s ice rinks more eco-friendly — to pay for a new dome at the Vadnais Sports Center. … During their regular board meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a $6 million budget and financing plan for the project. County officials hope to have more than half of that covered …. But that still leaves a significant chunk unfunded.”

For the Star Tribune, Torey Van Oot writes: “A businessman and military veteran from Medina has filed paperwork to challenge freshman DFL Rep. Dean Phillips in the Third Congressional District. Republican Kendall Qualls declared his intention to seek the suburban House seat in a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission Tuesday.According to Qualls’ LinkedIn profile, the former U.S. Army captain has spent the last three decades working in the health care and medical-technology industries.”

In the Star Tribune, Chris Riemenschneider says, “In a July 2016 front-page Star Tribune report analyzing the steep influx and costly inflation of resale tickets in the local concert business, Metallica’s show that summer at U.S. Bank Stadium caught our attention as one particularly price-gouged affair. Apparently, it also caught the attention of Metallica’s management. … In short, Metallica’s management reportedly got so upset by the amount of money made by brokers and other resale specialists off the date at the then-brand-new Vikings stadium, it decided to join the resellers if it couldn’t beat them at their own game, according to Billboard’s article.”

The AP reports,A Native American tribe in Wisconsin is suing Enbridge Inc. in hopes of forcing the Canadian company to remove a key pipeline that runs through their reservation. The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Madison. The Line 5 pipeline carries oil and natural gas liquids from Canada to eastern Michigan. Twelve miles of it runs through the Bad River’s reservation along the shores of Lake Superior in far northern Wisconsin.”

WCCO-TV reports: “In less than two months, Como Zoo has welcomed two baby zebras. The second foal was born early Friday morning. The baby, who doesn’t have a name yet, joins 2-month-old Lydia. Both are Grant’s zebras. … ‘There were no complications and mother and baby appear to be doing great,’ senior zookeepers Jo Kelly said. Grant’s zebras are commonly found in the grassy plains of eastern Africa, including Kenya and Ethiopia.

Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 07/24/2019 - 08:19 am.

    Excellent, a series of tall buildings lining the river front, sparing the neighborhoods behind it the unsightly view of the river. My only question would be why not put in a giant wall?

    • Submitted by Colin Brownlow on 07/24/2019 - 08:46 am.

      Henk, I had exactly the same thought when I saw the picture in the paper this morning. Just what St. Paul needs, another visual barrier to the river.

    • Submitted by Joe Schantz on 07/24/2019 - 09:47 am.

      What neighborhoods are you referring to? The centurylink and ramsey county/city of st paul buildings?

      It’s a downtown. It’s designed for density.

      • Submitted by David Lundeen on 07/24/2019 - 12:03 pm.

        Great. 80 million dollars of taxpayer money is going to be used to construct unsightly buildings next to a river which will be increasingly affected by climate change. This is a terrible idea but the city will only be too happy to provide the funding in order to grow the tax base, instead of exercising proper discretion.

      • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 07/24/2019 - 05:29 pm.

        Hmm…what came first the density or the city? Just because its not ma sittin on the porch with pa does not mean people occupying buildings behind these monstrosities should have their view of the river blocked or that building a series of very tall buildings along the river front is a wise thing to do. Like I said, why not just build a big honking wall and be done with it?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 07/24/2019 - 05:54 pm.

      There are no neighborhoods behind it. Just other tall buildings downtown.

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 07/24/2019 - 03:56 pm.

    I wish the Ramsey County Commissioners will take a moment to read this:

    But I know they won’t.

    Two issues occurred to me immediately:

    1. Cost. It always costs more than they project but a project potentially lasting three decades?

    2. Maintenance. We can’t even build a concrete parking ramp that last 30 years. What will it cost us to maintain “the Lid”?

    “Flip the Lid!”

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