Dirt moving around Allianz

Dirt is flying at the southeast corner of University and Snelling avenues. Environmental remediation is underway as part of the long-awaited redevelopment of the Midway superblock around Allianz Field.
More steps toward redevelopment are expected at City Hall in the days and weeks ahead, as the St. Paul City Council prepares to act on requests from site development partners, Snelling Midway Redevelopment LLC.
Union Park District Council and Hamline Midway Coalition representatives reviewed the project Nov. 20, 2023 with project consultant Mike Hahm. They discussed next steps for the area bounded by Pascal Street and St. Anthony, Snelling and University avenues.
One request is for another temporary parking use just east of a planned restaurant plaza. Another is for $22 million in financing to assist with infrastructure costs. The developers are hoping that the request gets to the city council before year’s end. As of Monitor deadline, no date had been announced.
In September, the city council voted 5-0 to approve the project’s preliminary plat, extend interim use for two existing parking lots for five more years, and create a third interim parking lot. The parking lots are west and northwest of the soccer stadium. A fourth action changed technical language on surface parking in the 2016 council resolution creating the Snelling-Midway Master Plan. The master plan outlines how the 34.5-acre site is to be developed. 
Plat approval allowed parkland dedication to move ahead, for a sculpture plaza at University and Snelling, and an all-abilities park on Pascal Street, and for work on the parks to get underway.
Environmental remediation is currently taking place where parks and vertical construction are planned, said Mike Hahm, project development consultant. “It’s nice to see progress out there and the late fall is helping things along.”
Temporary construction fencing at University and Snelling should come down soon, and stay down for the winter. The future playground site is be fenced in. Concrete work there could take place this fall.
The interim parking request is to renew and extend interim parking use near Simpson Street. The parking area is east of a planned restaurant pavilion. The first phase of the United Village development will have an office building, hotel and restaurants in a pavilion and in other buildings.
Those type of interim parking permit requests go directly to the city council for action, with review and recommendation from city planning staff. The long-term plan for the superblock is to have parking structures built within the various buildings, and not have so much surface parking. Hahm said the interim use allows parking for the restaurants and for Allianz Field.
There continue to be community concerns about interim parking and how long it stays in place. “Of course temporary has a terrible way of becoming permanent,” said Jim Marti, a member of the UPDC land use committee.
But Hahm said the lots are temporary only until the site is developed to its full potential.
Discussion Nov. 20 indicated how eager community members are to see the long-awaited redevelopment take place. One hope Hahm voiced is that as the site is developed, it will spur more development along university Avenue.
District council committee members and staff asked about development partners and when the financing request will go forward. The development site is in a tax increment financing district that was set up several years ago by the city council. No date has been set for city council action.
Partners have been identified for the first phase of development, said Hahm. The development group is also working with city staff on the financing and infrastructure requests. That could come forward in early 2024 or later this year.
One question raised is that of housing development. UPDC member Scott Berger said his family often uses the new Assembly Union Park in the Highland Bridge development. “That park is surrounding by housing,” he said. “It’s incredible how many people use that park.”
That raised questions about when housing will be built at United Village. Hahm noted that with rent control in St. Paul, construction of new rental housing has greatly slowed down. That’s true at Highland Bridge, at the Heights on the east Side and at other development sites.


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