Skip to main content
Monthly Archives

November 2019

What is the next step in the development of the St. Paul Ford site? Here is an update

By Site development
Interior view of the Ford site in St. Paul’s Highland Park, looking northwest to the Ford Street Bridge over the Mississippi River in upper left, and buildings along Ford Parkway, November 12, 2019 . (Pioneer Press / Scott Takushi)

The former Model T and Ford Ranger pickup truck factory site in St. Paul’s Highland Park is currently empty land, but likely not for long.

Last year, Ford Motor Co. selected Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. As the lead developer for the 122 acres of vacant land that once housed its Twin Cities manufacturing campus.

Pending city council approval, Ryan officials say they could start building 3,800 mid- and high-density housing units and additional offices, businesses and parks by next spring.

City officials continue to market the land overlooking the Mississippi River as a future national model of sustainability and “infill” urban redevelopment.

However, several key questions remain before the construction crews begin work. The Ryan Companies are planning a community meeting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Joan of Arc Auditorium at St. Catherine’s University in Whitby Hall, located at Randolph Avenue and Kenneth Street.

Here is an update on the status of the project and what will follow:


A general concept plan for the former Ford Twin Cities automobile plant in Highland Park, which will be converted into 3,500 housing units and 150,000 square feet of retail space. In total, the development will span some 40 city blocks. At the bottom right is the property of the Canadian Pacific Railway. (Courtesy of Ryan Companies)

Ford owns the Ford site. The Michigan-based automaker plans to sell the plot that housed the main assembly plant to Ryan Cos., Although both sides have been silent on how quickly that could happen.

The Canadian Pacific Railway still owns the nearby 13-acre marshalling yard, a wedge-shaped parcel on the southern border of the site.

The unclear sales schedule has raised concerns among critics that some $ 53 million in potential municipal property tax misappropriation – a type of public investment called “tax hike funding” – to cover the costs of infrastructure would simply increase the selling price, making more money for Ford to the fresh taxpayer. TIF dollars used for affordable housing could add up to $ 48 million more in public contributions.


State officials say the land has been cleared.

Walker Smith, a spokesman for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which has been monitoring cleanup issues at the Ford site for years, said Ford has taken the initiative in removing soil contaminated by decades of auto manufacturing and to make the earth family friendly again.

“It has been cleaned to standards suitable for residential development,” Smith said. “Basically, they dug all of the soil from the site down to bedrock and backfilled it, for the most part.”

A representative from the MPCA will address environmental issues at the Highland District Council’s Community Development Committee meeting, which will be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Highland Park Community Center.


Render of the future development of the former Ford Twin Cities car plant in Highland Park. The habitat will become more dense towards the east. (Courtesy of The Ryan Companies)

Yes. In 2017, St. Paul City Council approved the Ford Site Master Plan, which calls for 20% of 3,800 units to be affordable. Tuesday, Ryan Cos. announced that Project for Pride in Living, CommonBond Communities and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity have agreed to be affordable housing partners for these 700 units.

According to the master plan, about 10 percent of housing will be for individuals or families earning no more than 30 percent of the region’s median income, or about $ 30,000 for a family of four. Another 5 percent will be affordable for those earning no more than 50 percent of the region’s median income. And 5 percent will be targeted at people at or below 60 percent of the region’s median income.

“We’re going to do a little bit of each,” said Scott Cordes, CFO of Project for Pride in Living, which will develop about half of the affordable housing on site. “The units that we will produce and CommonBond will produce will be affordable multi-family buildings, and within those they may have some income variability in the affordable range. “

Funding for affordable housing will come from a variety of locations, including up to $ 48 million in TIF. “We expect this to be gradual, much like (the development schedule that has been) set for overall development,” Cordes added. “Each project will be subject to its own approvals.


Next to Hidden Falls Park, a sloping man-made parking lot on Boulevard on the Mississippi River continues to raise questions in the community and at City Hall.

Formerly a dumping ground for paints and other wastes from the Ford plant, Area C was covered with excess material from an Army Corps of Engineers dam project, then covered with excess concrete from a project of public works of the city.

Ford added a layer of asphalt and vehicles parked on it for a while. This is generating a lot of concern, but MPCA officials say they are not alarmed.

“This is a site that is across the river route, an area where 60 or 70 years ago the Ford company did away with solvents and paint sludge and that sort of thing,” he said. Smith said. “Basically, they just threw him over a cliff, which was perfectly legal at the time. Since then this area has been covered and covered, but this area has been flooded dozens of times. We asked the Ford company to do some testing there, and all of the results we saw showed that there was no level of contamination that would pose a threat to humans or the environment.


Throughout his final years in office, former St. Paul’s mayor, Chris Coleman, frequently highlighted the potential of the Ford site as a defining example of sustainability – an environmentally balanced neighborhood of tomorrow. It remains to be seen exactly how Ryan Cos. plans to achieve this.

During a media event at the Ford site on Tuesday, Ryan officials said they had worked closely with Xcel Energy to ensure that 100% of the electricity at the Ford site will come from renewable or non-renewable sources. carbon. This includes electricity from what is likely to be the state’s largest urban solar power grid – a seven-acre facility. Each building will be ready for solar energy.

“When we told them to think outside the box, they took the box and threw it away,” Ryan Vice President Tony Barranco said.

Where else will the energy come from? Hydropower is a strong possibility. The hydroelectric plant on the site is owned by Brookfield Renewable Power Inc.

April 11, 2018, aerial photo of Lock and Dam # 1 on the Mississippi River, just downstream of the Ford Parkway Bridge between St. Paul, right, and Minneapolis. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

“The project is still in its early stages, but… we are currently exploring ways to provide locally sourced renewable energy by combining on-site hydropower with new solar power,” said Matt Lindstrom, spokesperson for Xcel Energy.

“Although still in the early stages, we are excited about the plans on offer and look forward to seeing what we can offer our customers in St. Paul,” said Lindstrom.

Ryan officials have not disclosed any further details. Previous concepts had called for exploring geothermal heating and other innovations, but no mention was made on Tuesday of this possibility or how to offset the use of natural gas on site.

“On the 100% renewable electricity front, the last news I heard was that more than one option to get there was being considered,” said Russ Stark, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s Resilience Officer. .

Access to transport is part of the sustainability strategy. Plans call for the extension of the existing road network from Highland Village, but with better access for bicycles and pedestrians. There will be at least 100 new electric charging stations, and stormwater will be collected and treated on-site, preventing direct runoff to the Mississippi River.


Ryan officials have said the market is driving development, but demand for housing is quite high right now.

The holistic vision of 3,800 housing units, 265,000 square feet of office space and 150,000 square feet of retail space could take 10 or even 20 years to reach full construction, especially if plans are slowed by a recession.

If construction begins in the spring as planned, the first residents will likely move in within three years. Ryan Cos. plans to start at a civic plaza near Ford Parkway and single family homes along Mississippi River Boulevard, which are sure to be quick sellers.

The City of St. Paul has posted answers to frequently asked questions on the Ford website at

St. Paul gives green light to development of Ford plant site

By Site development

St. Paul has reached a final deal with the developer to remake the old Ford Motor Company assembly plant in St. Paul.

Mayor Melvin Carter and Ryan Companies on Tuesday announced the deal at the vacant 122-acre site in the Highland Park neighborhood, promising hundreds of new housing units, more than 13,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs on the site.

They also said it would have 3,800 housing units, 265,000 square feet of office space and 150,000 square feet of retail space.

“This is just the start,” Tony Barranco said with Ryan Cos. “We will have more conversations with city council.” We would like to start construction in the spring.

The agreement calls for 20 percent of housing to be subject to income restrictions, with 760 affordable units for households between 30 and 60 percent of the region’s median income.

Carter said his administration plans to present the final development agreement to city council for formal approval this year.

Further board approvals will have to follow virtually block-by-block as the site is built, Ryan Cos officials said.

The site has been the subject of fierce debate in the region as neighbors have called for both increased residential density in Highland Park and a halt to development which will increase traffic on the neighborhood streets. . Opponents tried unsuccessfully in 2017 to put the city’s plan to a public vote in a referendum.

Developer Mike Ryan said the build process will take a long time. He expected it to be three years before the first residents settled in the area, and five years before infrastructure and public amenities were fully built.

Carter said it would add $ 1 billion in value to the city’s $ 23 billion property tax base and said the deal his administration reached included at least $ 53 million in funding by tax increase, or TIF, to build streets and other public infrastructure on the site.

Barranco said he expects the developer to also seek more TIF to build affordable housing on the site as construction proceeds. He refused to give a definitive figure on public subsidies for the project or to characterize the proportion of public aid represented by the initial 53 million dollars.

The St. Paul’s Highland Park District Assembly Plant began production in 1925 and has manufactured a variety of military vehicles and equipment over the decades. The plant closed in December 2011, when the last Ford Ranger pickup, the plant’s sole product, ceased production in the United States.

Since then, the company has made significant clean-up efforts, demolishing the factory and cleaning up the pollution left by nearly a century of industrial production.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are the source of the clarity of our reporters’ coverage across the state, the stories that connect us, and the conversations that offer insight. Help ensure that MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.

Make a donation today. A donation of $ 17 makes a difference.

Ford site development agreement reached, according to St. Paul and Ryan Cos.

By Site development

The Ryan Cos. has entered into a development agreement with the City of St. Paul that will bring 3,800 housing units, the state’s largest urban solar panel and 100% of the electricity from renewable or carbon-free sources to the Ford Motor Co vacant. site.

The plan – which must be approved by city council – relies on funding of $ 53 million in increase in municipal taxes.

It is a type of public investment that recycles new property taxes generated on the site to fund improvements in the same location – public infrastructure such as utilities, parks and water bodies in 40 future development blocks. Estate on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in the City District of Highland Park.

That number is less than half of the $ 107 million TIF requested in March by Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. However, it does not fully encompass the additional TIF funds that will likely be needed to ensure that 20% of the housing on site is affordable.

“It wasn’t always clear that we would end up here on this stage,” Gov. Tim Walz said, introducing St. Paul’s Mayor Melvin Carter and officials to Ryan on Tuesday at a media event inside the hall. ‘an icy tent at the Ford site. “It’s an incredible part of the story that is on this piece of land.”

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, left, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Ryan Companies Northern Region President Mike Ryan shake hands and talk about the $ 92 million development of the Ford site at St. Paul’s Highland Park on November 12, 2019 (Pioneer Press / Scott Takushi)

Carter added, “After more than a decade of work, we are ready to make our grand vision for the Ford site a reality. The homes, jobs and public spaces we build here together will shape our city for generations to come.

As part of a master plan and zoning agreement signed in 2017, St. Paul City Council committed to providing a wide range of medium to high density housing on the outskirts of one of the neighborhoods. the city’s wealthiest, including affordable housing for the very poor – families earning 30 percent of the region’s median income, currently around $ 30,000 a year.

The $ 53 million from the TIF will finance more than half of the site’s $ 92 million in public infrastructure, with the remainder being private sector investment.

Affordable housing, which often draws funds from a variety of sources, can depend on additional TIF money on a project-by-project basis, said Ryan Cos. Vice president Tony Barranco.

“Our values ​​prioritized affordable housing at deeply affordable levels… sustainability, jobs and the preservation of Little League’s ball fields,” said Chris Tolbert, St. Paul City Council member.


Interior view of the Ford site in St. Paul’s Highland Park, looking west across the Mississippi River to the buildings at the Minneosta Veterans Home complex, November 12, 2019 (Pioneer Press / Scott Takushi)

Also in attendance at Tuesday’s event were representatives of the project’s new affordable housing partners – Project for Pride in Living, CommonBond Communities and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, including Habitat President Chris Coleman, former city mayor. .

Most of the city council members were in attendance, with the exception of Dai Thao, who Tolbert said was traveling for prior engagement, and Kassim Busuri.

RELATED: Ford Site Q&A: What Comes First, What About Ball Fields, More

Ryan officials have said if city approvals come together block by block, construction could begin in the spring and the first residents will move in three years later. The site’s infrastructure will be largely developed within five years.

The overall development plan will be presented to the municipal council before the end of the year.

On October 10, 2018, The Ryan Companies unveiled renderings and a general concept plan for the former Ford Twin Cities car plant in Highland Park, which will be converted into 3,500 housing units and 150,000 square feet of retail space. (Courtesy of Ryan Companies)

Ford opened the 122-acre Highland plant in 1925 to build Model T automobiles and closed it in 2011 as part of a national restructuring plan. The automaker chose Ryan Cos. as the main developer of the site in June 2018.

The overall goal is to create 3,800 housing units, 265,000 square feet of office space and 150,000 square feet of retail space.

Around 1,000 permanent jobs are envisaged on the site, in addition to the 14,500 construction jobs currently being developed. The plans call for 50 acres of open public space and over 1,000 trees.

Company officials said development would likely begin to unfold off Ford Parkway, starting with a civic plaza and through a series of single-family homes built along Boulevard on the Mississippi River.

When fully constructed over the next 10 to 20 years, the site is expected to add $ 1 billion in new property tax value to the city’s $ 23 billion tax base.

“This site has long been for us and for many one of the biggest redevelopments (opportunities)… in the country,” said Ryan Cos. Co-chair Mike Ryan. “Homes, jobs, nature, environment, sustainability, the ability to walk… I think what we’re going to accomplish here will have a longevity that’s hard to envision given the somewhat barren site today. “

TIF’s demand unveiled in March – $ 107 million in tax evasion to fund the site’s infrastructure, parks and other public spaces – has not been welcomed by many critics who have questioned why a new development in one of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods would need a public subsidy. .

Some business leaders were concerned that the additional public investment would simply allow Ford to increase the selling price, knowing that taxpayers would actually bear the additional costs.

Ryan said his development team “never had to guess” the city’s political priorities, from parks to affordable housing. “Honestly, I got a little hungry in my stomach,” he said. “You have had great success in our discussions to make us accept more risks. “


On October 10, 2018, The Ryan Companies unveiled renderings and a general concept plan for the former Ford Twin Cities car plant in Highland Park, which will be converted into more than 3,500 housing units, 265,000 square feet of office space and 150,000 square feet of retail space. (Courtesy of The Ryan Companies)

Barranco said reaching this point has been “hard, difficult to put all of these pieces together” and thanked a long list of city employees and partners, including former council chairman Russ Stark, the head of the city. Resilience Mayor, Deputy Mayor Jaime Tincher and Melanie McMahon, Tolbert’s legislative aide.

The company is working closely with Xcel Energy to ensure that 100% of the electricity used on-site comes from renewable sources, including a new seven-acre solar panel that will likely be the state’s largest for an urban area.

“When we told them to think outside the box, they took the box and threw it away,” Barranco said.

The land – which spans 40 future city blocks – still belongs to Ford Motor Co. Barranco said Ford had provided the flexibility on the schedule to put a development program in place, but officials at Ryan Cos. didn’t want to say when the sale would be finalized. .

“They gave us time for this to happen,” he said.

Also on Tuesday, the St. Paul’s Center for Economic Inclusion released a written statement celebrating Ford’s sitemap and congratulating the mayor, city council and Ryan Cos. for a plan that prioritizes the development of mixed revenues across the site.

“Collectively, our regional leadership was not lacking in the drive to achieve equity, but in infrastructure,” said Tawanna Black, Founder and CEO.

Exclusive | HS2 plans to sell £ 1billion Euston for site development

By Site development

High Speed ​​2 Ltd (HS2 Ltd) is seeking to recoup more than £ 1 billion from the sale of On-Site Development (OSD) above its Euston terminus in order to reduce the cost of the project, New civil engineer can reveal.

Instead of paying the money into the treasury, HS2 Ltd suggested that the proceeds from the sale could be fed back into the Euston program.

Harnessing this money would also allow HS2 Ltd to reduce the cost of delivering the London terminal. Several former HS2 executives – including former chairman Sir Terry Morgan – have suggested reducing the cost of the project by removing the Euston terminus.

Selling plans for the site to developers are spelled out in an unedited version from HS2 President Allan’s Cook’s Inventory report New civil engineer understand. A redacted version of Inventory was released by the government in September.

A company spokesperson has now confirmed that HS2 Ltd expects to make “north of £ 1 billion” by selling the land above Euston station.

The redacted version of Inventory The report states that “HS2 has identified development opportunities with profit value across the route,” including a development portfolio comprising “on-site development opportunities at stations and depots (including including Euston) ”as well as retail advertising and parking lots.

The plans are part of a recalculation of the costs and benefits of the scheme as the estimated budget has increased from £ 56bn to £ 88bn (at 2019 prices).

HS2 Ltd’s plan to reset funding arrangements would involve renegotiation with the Ministry of Transport and the Treasury. It is understood that the £ 1bn from the sale of Euston’s OSD was previously due to go to the Treasury.

The redacted version of Inventory report adds, “It is important to recognize that HS2 creates great increases in value in the places it serves and in the assets it creates. Other funding and funding possibilities should be considered in addition to the ongoing cost and schedule activities.

“We must continue to explore opportunities with the private sector, local authorities, development agencies and other local stakeholders to help finance in return for future income. Along with maintaining cost pressure, HS2 Ltd, along with the government, is expected to take further steps to add value to its assets, especially around land and properties in city centers.

New civil engineer revealed last week that costs associated with developing the new HS2 terminus at Euston are expected to exceed £ 2bn, up from £ 1.5bn at the start of the year when budget contingencies are included.

The overhaul of the existing Network Rail station and surrounding area, which is planned by Lendlease, could also cost up to £ 2 billion more than originally thought, sources familiar with the project have said. . The developer has previously said the project will have a development value of around £ 5.8bn when completed, but official costs for the project have yet to be released.

Do you like what you read? To receive New Civil Engineer daily and weekly newsletters, click here.