Ford has been working on cleaning up the former site of one of its plants in St. Paul for many years, and it was deemed ready for redevelopment. Ford has a significant undertaking planned for the vacant lot with the conversion of the former Ford plant site into 40 new city blocks of living, retail, and public spaces. Ford and the developer it hired for the space have put considerable effort into making the new development suitable for public transportation, walking, and biking to help reduce traffic in the area.
One of the things that the entire plan hinged on was the St. Paul City Council voting to extend Ford $53 million in tax diversion to cover the costs of developing some aspects of the 122-acre former Ford plant site. The city council voted unanimously 7-0 to approve financing for the redevelopment of the former Twin Cities Assembly Plant in Highland Park. The funds the council has agreed to give to the redevelopment effort would have otherwise gone into the city’s general fund.
The 26-year tax increment financing agreement will allow the master developer, Ryan Cos, to devote more than $2 million annually toward the cost of new city-owned infrastructure at the 122-acre site. Officials also said that the site would generate roughly $1 million annually in property taxes for the city, county, and school district. The city also expects that the site will result in $1 billion in new real estate development over the next 15 years that will more than offset the tax increment financing burden for the city with additional property taxes.
The land will be redeveloped into nearly 4,000 housing units with new sewer, lighting, 40-block street grid, nearly five miles of bike corridors, the largest urban solar array in the state, commercial, and office spaces. Almost 800 of the housing units will be designated as affordable housing thanks to partnerships with housing developers. Construction is expected to start in 2020.