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Major demolition starts Monday to make room for Saints stadium

City of St. Paul
A footprint of the new Saints stadium on a map of downtown St. Paul.

St. Paul officials offered a quick tour Friday of the old Gillette/Diamond Products factory in Lowertown, on the eve of its destruction.

Starting Monday, the concrete walls of the three-story building will start coming down as work begins in earnest on building a new minor-league ballpark on its footprint, along the far eastern edge of downtown.

Workers have marked on Fifth Street where home plate and third base are expected to be when the field is ready for the 2015 season. First and second bases will be to the south, where the walls of the old shampoo and deodorant factory still stand.

Demolition will start Monday on the south wall, shared with the new Metro Transit’s Operations and Maintenance Facility, then run generally east to west so the factory wall along Broadway will be last to tumble. That will keep a noise and dust barrier up for nearby residents and businesses as long as possible.

City Parks Director Mike Hahm said Friday that work still remains on finding ways to fill a $9 million funding gap. Officials announced last month that more cleanup and site improvements will add considerably to the cost of the ballpark, which had been billed as $54 million project. Now it’s at least $62.8 million.

Hahm said the Saints have agreed to pay another $1 million, in addition to their earlier stated share of $10 million. Most of that, though, will come from future revenue generated by the new stadium.

City officials plan a Saturday celebration of the pending demolition, with a gathering at the site from 1 to 3 p.m. Scheduled to speak are: Mayor Chris Coleman, Hahm, Mike Veeck of the Saints and Mike Ryan of Ryan Cos., the general contractor.

The projected home plate site, outside the Gillette plant, on Fifth Street at Pine Street.
MinnPost photo by Joe KimballThe projected home plate site, outside the Gillette plant, on Fifth Street at Pine Street.

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