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Development Roundup

Posted on 14 January 2015 by robwas66



Old stadium site cleanup could cost $5 million

Midway Stadium has hosted its last ball game and is ready for transformation, with additional assistance from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). DEED announced Dec. 23 that it is awarding $1.25 million to clean up the site.

The grant was part of $4.16 million in grants awarded. The grant for the former stadium will be used to help cover pollution remediation costs that have been estimated at $5 million.

The St. Paul Port Authority and united Properties will jointly own the property and will develop it with a $15 million light industrial building. The building will have four to five tenants and could bring as many as 300 jobs to the area. It will increase the property tax base by more than $814,000.

If everything goes as planned the project will be completed in fall 2016.

Part of the 12.9 acre site was once a dump for the Minnesota State Fair. It’s in an area with a history of industrial and commercial use. The property was acquired for redeveloped in a land swap with the city. A new ballpark will open in Lowertown in the spring.

Mini-golf locating in Midway late 2015

Mini-golf is coming to the West Midway as Can Can Wonderland prepares to open an artists’-designed course in part of the former American Can Company complex (on Prior Ave. N. at W. Chelton Ave.). Can Can Wonderland was formerly known as Blue Ox Mini Golf and had eyed a site at the former Schmidt brewery before relocating to Midway.

A call for artists has gone out and the course will open later this year. The business is one of the first in the state to incorporate as a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). As a PBC, Can Can Wonderland will have a legally binding social purpose (to be an economic engine for the arts) in addition to its general business purpose.

The business partners were involved in artist’s mini-golf courses at Walker Art Center and at installations at Minneapolis’ Soap Factory.

Green Line still a focus of PED

Redevelopment along Green Line light rail will continue to be a focus for the city in 2015, according to St. Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development (PED) Director Jonathon Sage-Martinson. He reviewed upcoming projects this fall as the St. Paul City council prepared its 2015 city budget.

A number of projects are on the docket for the city in 2015. These include large redevelopment projects that are already underway, including the work on the Hamline Station, Prior Crossing and Model Cities Brownstone/Central Exchange housing and mixed-use projects along the Green Line.

Although Green Line light rail has been up and running for six months, Sage-Martinson said a number of PED and HRA (Housing and Redevelopment Authority) initiatives are still ongoing. Along with working with developers, the city will lead parks and open space planning along the line rail line and will complete the parking program.

2015 will also be the final year for the “Ready for Rail” program, which helped businesses make investments to get through two years of rail construction and prepare for new customers.

Several key studies will continue into 2015, said Sage-Martinson, including Complete Streets policies, work along neighborhood commercial corridors, the streetcar network study, and action on the recently completed West Midway Industrial Study.

Old library building to be redeveloped

City officials are putting out the “sold” signs as the former Lexington Branch Library building (1080 University Ave.) was sold by the city to its own Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) for $334,288 in December. Its site will be redeveloped, possibly as part of a larger project at the southeast corner of University and Lexington Pkwy.

The building was originally built in 1940 as the Centre Theater, opening with the Bing Crosby movie “If I had My Way.” It operated as a movie theater until 1965. It was purchased by the city and then converted for use as a library. The library operated there until 2006, when it was replaced by the Rondo Community Outreach Library at University and Dale St.
After the library moved out, the building housed many land use and community planning meetings for the Green Line light rail, and was the office for the District Councils Collaborative, a group that works on rail-related issues. The property has been vacant for more than a year.

Proceeds from the sale of the building will be used to purchase needed library materials and resources for the Highland and Sun Ray branch libraries that have recently undergone major renovation, said Library Director Kit Hadley.

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