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Port Authority buys Gillette site; land swap could put the Saints ballpark there

There’s still no guarantee that they’ll get the state money to make it happen, but officials in St. Paul are moving ahead with plans to build a Saints ballpark in downtown’s Lowertown area.

Today, the St. Paul Port Authority announced it has signed a purchase agreement to buy the Lowertown site — where the old Gillette plant once operated — for $1.85 million. The closing on the deal is set for July 31.

The plan is for the Port Authority to then execute a swap: the Port gets the old Midway Stadium site where the Saints have played for 20 years and, in return, the city gets the Lowertown site for a new ballpark.

Mayor Chris Coleman applied Monday to the state for $27 million in bonding money after the Legislature spurned the city’s request in the regular bonding bill. The city seems confident it will get the funds from a new $50 million regional development fund created by legislators, even though many other cities would also like the money to pay for their projects that were overlooked during the session.

Said Coleman:

“This is an exciting day for the City of Saint Paul and the Lowertown neighborhood. With a purchase agreement in place, we can put people to work as soon as we receive funding from the Department of Employment and Economic Development.”

The Port Authority is looking at the potential for the industrial area where the existing stadium sits:

“The purchase of this property is a good deal for Saint Paul. This agreement will create jobs both in the Lowertown neighborhood of Downtown Saint Paul and at the site of Midway Stadium, a key industrial corridor with highly sought-after railway access.”

Two Cities blog, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul City Halls, is made possible in part by grants from The Saint Paul Foundation and the Carolyn Foundation.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 05/23/2012 - 08:24 am.

    Two bites at the apple?

    I understood that the stadium bill included a few million a year for St. Paul for sports-related facilities. That wasn’t enough? Seems a bit ‘snout in the trough’ to now go after more than half of the funds set aside for projects statewide.

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