Light rail planners now say the old Gillette plant in St. Paul’s Lowertown is the best choice for a Central Corridor train maintenance facility.
Previously, officials had planned to build a new facility on county-owned land on the eastern edge of downtown, between Kellogg Boulevard and Warner Road.
But the empty 178,000-square-foot plant — most recently used by Diamond Products — would be better for many reasons, including lower costs to prepare and to operate.
Planners say it would cost about $72 million to build on the county site and connect it to the light rail tracks. Cost to buy and remodel the Gillette/Diamond building is about $69 million.
In other light rail news, Minnesota Public Radio President Bill Kling said flatly this week: “Either the line moves — or we move.” He spoke with the Pioneer Press after MinnPost reported Tuesday that MPR might sue to have the proposed light rail route moved from the street in front of its headquarters building in downtown St. Paul.
The newspaper says the current route represents a long-sought consensus and is the best chance to get the project built.