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St. Paul dives into development projects with some success

Just in time for St.

Just in time for St. Paul’s congratulatory Great River Gathering (formerly known as the Millard Fillmore Dinner), Pioneer Press reporter Frederick Melo has produced a massive story on the city’s attempts to parlay $15 million into more than $100 million in development projects.

The dinner, sponsored by the St. Paul Riverfront Corp., is a celebration of the ecological, economic and historic significance of the Mississippi River. And a thriving St. Paul economy and new development certainly helps accentuate the river as it flows through the capital city.

City help for the development projects ranges from low-interest, no-interest and “forgivable” city loans to tax-exempt bonding, tax-increment financing, federal stimulus dollars and state and federal historic preservation tax credits, Melo said.

He looked at dozens of projects now under way in the city, noting:

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“Some projects have inspired high praise. Others, lawsuits. And some have yet to move forward, despite pledges of public support.”

Some of the big successes: expansions at United, Children’s, St. Joseph’s and Gillette Children’s Hospitals. Construction on a major expansion at the Ordway will start next year, and the Church of Scientology is renovating the old Science Museum west building on Wabasha and is expected to move in this year.

But a new St. Paul Saints stadium looks iffy in the current state budget environment, and plans for an indoor farmers market in Lowertown have been marred by legal sparring.

Construction of the Central Corridor light rail line is well under way, bringing development along University Avenue and improvements to the Union Depot.