St. Paul Mayor Outlines Next Steps For Ford Site
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman on Tuesday outlined some next steps for the former site of the Ford Motor Company’s assembly plant in St. Paul, plans that will play out over the next year and are meant to prepare the site for redevelopment.
The site housed a Ford facility up until 2011, when it shuttered and put nearly 900 employees out of work. The site totals 125 acres along the Mississippi River.
Ford has said that it intends to issue a national request for proposals to attract a developer for the site, sometime mid-next year. Coleman said that, in the meantime, the city of St. Paul will lead multiple efforts to ensure that prospective developers are enticed by the site’s potential use.
“Ultimately, when the site is complete, it should demonstrate that we can connect people through multiple forms of transit, that community energy needs can be met on site, and that jobs, people, and green space can interact to create a vibrant and livable place to work and live,” Coleman said in a statement. “But we need to help attract the right developer by doing some of the legwork ahead of going to market.”
Coleman announced several steps the city will lead over the next year in order to prepare the site:
- Zoning Research and Analysis: The city will initiate work to rezone the site to guide future use and design. Public meetings to review zoning priorities for the site will begin in October, with work expected to be completed by early 2016.
- Jobs and Employment Workgroup: A jobs and employment working group will evaluate potential employment opportunities at the site.
- Energy and Sustainability Study: The McKnight Foundation provided funding to the city to hire an energy consultant to evaluate options for renewable, on-site energy generation. The study will be conducted by Copenhagen-based Ramboll Energy with additional assistance being provided by the Environmental Protection Agency. The study is expected to be ready by summer 2015.
- Transportation Planning: Ongoing transportation planning for the site will include discussions about linking existing mass transit opportunities, such as bus and light rail, with “walkable” and “bikeable” elements.