St. Paul Lands $403K for Hamm’s Brewery Project

St. Paul Lands $403K for Hamm’s Brewery Project

The renovated 8.8-acre site is expected to house a commercial kitchen and a produce and fish farm—and it is among the locations being considered by St. Paul’s Flat Earth Brewing Company, which is looking for a larger space.

The former Hamm’s brewery site in St. Paul is among a handful of redevelopment projects that will benefit from $1.29 million in grants from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The City of St. Paul will receive $403,000 for infrastructure costs at the 8.8-acre site, which DEED said will house a commercial kitchen, Flat Earth Brewing Company, and Urban Organics, a proposed produce and fish farm.

Plans for Flat Earth to occupy the site, however, are not set in stone.

“It’s great that the state decided this site needs to get cleaned up,” but “it’s premature at this point” to say that Flat Earth will occupy the space, the brewing company’s Director of Operations Franco Claseman said Thursday.

The former Hamm’s brewery is among several sites that Flat Earth is considering for expansion, he said, adding that the St. Paul brewery is “pretty much full” in its existing location at 2035 Benson Avenue, and it hopes to move into a larger space and add both equipment and jobs.

Urban Organics, which will use a technique that combines fish tanks with hydroponic vegetable gardening, began cleaning up the old brewery building in March and hopes to be up and running next year. Fred Haberman, co-founder and CEO of Minneapolis marketing firm Haberman and an Urban Organics partner, recently told Twin Cities Business that the bulk of the company’s produce will go to local grocery stores. (Read more about Urban Organics in the August issue of Twin Cities Business here.)

The $403,000 grant was awarded as part of DEED’s Redevelopment Grant Program, which covers up to half of the cost for cities, counties, and other government units to redevelop blighted industrial, residential, or commercial properties. Grants can be used to pay for land acquisition, demolition, infrastructure, and other improvements—and recipients must provide matching funds.

For the Hamm’s brewery site, the matching funds will come from the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority and private investments. The redevelopment project is expected to create 48 jobs and help retain five existing positions, according to DEED.

The other Minnesota projects to receive redevelopment grants from DEED are:

• The City of Eagan Economic Development Authority was awarded $750,000 to redevelop an elevator tower for a public parking garage on a 35-acre site, which is being redeveloped into a 400,000-square-foot shopping mall.

• The City of Richfield received $100,000 to redevelop the 7.5-acre Lyndale Garden Center, which is being transformed into 42,500 square feet of mixed commercial space and 120 units of rental housing.

• The City of Benson received $41,235 for demolition and infrastructure costs at a one-acre former creamery site, which will be redeveloped into 7,200 square feet of mixed-use residential and commercial space.

According to DEED, the four redevelopment projects selected for grants are expected to collectively create nearly 1,000 jobs.

“These projects will create jobs and put blighted properties back on the tax rolls,” DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips said in a statement. “The Redevelopment Grant Program is part of a strategy that is helping to keep Minnesota’s economy on a healthy growth track.”

Since its 1998 inception, the Redevelopment Grant Program has awarded more than $58.8 million and helped create 9,942 jobs, retain 9,768 existing jobs, and generate $26.5 million in new tax revenue—while attracting more than $1.7 billion in private investment, the agency said.

In a separate announcement, DEED said Thursday that the U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded a $1.2 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the city of Dawson. The grant will help the western Minnesota city complete a $2.4 million industrial park expansion and accommodate the expansion of a meat-processing facility.

Noah’s Ark Processors, which runs the facility, will add at least 15 to 20 new jobs as part of the expansion, DEED said. The EDA grant is in addition to a $500,000 grant that the project received from DEED, and the City of Dawson will contribute $700,000 to the project.