Now that St. Paul’s Ford plant buildings have been torn down and environmental studies continue on the prime 125-acre site near the Mississippi River, officials expect the marketing of the property to begin in one year.
Ford closed the plant in 2011 after nearly 100 years of production, and demolition of the buildings began last summer.
Mayor Chris Coleman held a media event at the Highland Park site Tuesday and said the city will continue in an active role as Ford begins looking for a master developer.
“Looking ahead, this site will go on the national stage in search of a developer to recast it into a 21st Century Community,” Coleman said. “Ultimately, when the site is complete, it should demonstrate that we can connect people through multiple-forms of transit, that community energy needs can be met on site, and that jobs, people and green space can interact to create a vibrant and livable place to work and live. But we need to help attract the right developer by doing some of the legwork ahead of going to market.”
Over the next year, the city plans for the site include:
- Zoning Research and Analysis: The city will initiate work to rezone the site to guide future use and design. New zoning for the site must be carefully evaluated by the city, key stakeholders, the real estate community and the public. Public meetings to review zoning priorities for the site will begin in October of this year, with work expected to be completed by early 2016.
- Jobs and Employment Workgroup: A jobs and employment working group will evaluate potential employment at the site and how to reflect the changing patterns of the 21st Century work force. Partners to help the city identify neighborhood friendly employers include GreaterMSP, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), and Saint Paul Building and Construction Trades Council.
- Energy and Sustainability Study: The city will complete an energy and sustainability study, evaluating how renewable energy resources as well as energy efficient technologies can help achieve a site with a minimal energy use profile. The McKnight Foundation provided funding to the city to hire an energy consultant team to evaluate options for renewable, on-site generation. The study will be conducted by Copenhagen-based Ramboll Energy and will serve this site as well as provide findings to inform and inspire other communities. Additional assistance is being provided by the Environmental Protection Agency. The study is expected to be ready by summer 2015.
- Transportation Planning: Ongoing transportation planning will address a multi-modal approach for residents to move between living, learning, working and recreating in the community. This will include discussions about linking to existing mass transit opportunities, such as bus and light rail, with walkable and bikeable elements. Transportation options will be evaluated in concert with the zoning study and will be coordinated with other transportation planning efforts currently underway, such as the Riverview Corridor study currently underway.
- Ongoing Public Communications: Regular updates will be provided on a special section of the city’s website, as well as via the city’s Facebook page and Twitter handle. The city also announced a new monthly e-newsletter, Saint Paul’s 21st Century Community, that can help subscribers track progress on the site. The newsletter’s first edition will be in August 2014 and people are invited to subscribe here.