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A Tale of Two Cities


OCTOBER 10, 2018


Redevelopment plans for St. Paul’s former Ford site unveiled


When the Ryan Cos. redevelop the former Ford manufacturing land in St. Paul’s Highland Park into 3,800 units of housing, they won’t be adding a golf course. There will be no corporate campus, 10-story buildings or major surface parking lots. And a Ford Museum isn’t part of their concept plans, either.


Instead, the Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. plan to install architecture reminiscent of Highland Village, a central water corridor that will be surrounded by four pedestrian-only and bicycle-only blocks on either side, 35 single-family homes along Mississippi River Boulevard and six-story and seven-story buildings closer to Ford Parkway.


Over the next decade, residents can also expect senior and affordable housing, a street grid that puts bicycles, pedestrians and drivers on a level playing field, more than 50 acres of public open space and 1,000 trees.

“Folks all around the country will look at this area as one of the best examples of mixed-income development,” said Mike Ryan, a principal with the Ryan Cos., pointing to renderings of a future civic plaza and water-lined promenade. “This is really going to become the gem of the area.”


As for the three ballparks used by St. Paul Highland Ball, two will remain exactly where they are, a major concession to the long-standing neighborhood baseball organization. An extension of Montreal Avenue will eliminate the third ball field.


Ryan and Tony Barranco, another principal with Ryan Cos., unveiled long-awaited renderings and concept plans Wednesday night to a sizable audience at Highland Park Middle School.



Read original article here By Frederick Melo Pioneer Press: October 10, 2018


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MARCH 8, 2019


St. Paul planners reject single-family homes in Ford project

In numerous meetings over the summer and fall with area residents, Barranco said, two things proved hugely popular with a community that had been divided over the city's master plan: preserving the longstanding Highland Little League fields and building at least some single-family homes on Mississippi River Boulevard.


Council Member Chris Tolbert, who represents the area, said the changes that Ryan was seeking did not seem unreasonable, including building single-family homes.


Tolbert and others have praised Ryan for listening to the community while also embracing the broader goals for the development. The single-family homes are a comparatively small part of a 3,800-unit housing mix that would include condominiums, apartment complexes and senior housing. Twenty percent of the total would be affordable housing, Ryan has said.


But Ryan officials have said the single-family homes would also act as a catalyst for the development, drawing early buyers to a site that is expected to take 20 years to build out. Barranco left little doubt that building those homes will continue to be part of Ryan's overall wish list.


"Our communication with elected officials in the council chambers won't be very different," he said.


The St. Paul Planning Commission on Friday rejected Ryan Cos.' plan to build 35 single­-family homes as part of the massive redevelopment of the former Ford plant.


The single-family homes along Mississippi River Boulevard had proved one of the most popular features of the 122-acre redevelopment, judging by reaction at the Jan. 25 public hearing. While the commission approved most of Ryan's other proposed changes to the plan, it determined the single-family homes didn't square with the city's density goals.


The final decision lies with the City Council, and a Ryan representative said Friday it plans to seek approval for the single-family homes there.


Read original article here By James Walsh Star Tribune MARCH 8, 2019


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MARCH 27, 2019


Single-family houses are back in the mix for St. Paul's Ford site


Single-family houses along Mississippi River Boulevard could be allowed at the Ford site after a divided City Council agreed Wednesday to the developer's requests to alter the site's master zoning plan.


Ryan Cos., the site's developer, wants to build 35 single-family houses along the river, some of the nearly 3,800 units of housing it intends to build.


The city's planning commission, while agreeing with most of the changes Ryan wants, earlier this month rejected the request to allow single-family houses in the interest of housing more people on that land. Council Member Chris Tolbert, who represents Highland Park, introduced the amendment that puts single-family houses back on the table.


"Overall, I think the changes they want are very reasonable and fit within framework of what we want," he said.


Tolbert was joined by Council President Amy Brendmoen and Council Members Kassim Busuri and Jane Prince in voting for the amendment. Council members Rebecca Noecker and Mitra Jalali Nelson voted against it, saying they support the master plan's goal of increasing residential access to the river at the Ford site.


The council's action Wednesday wasn't the final vote. A public hearing on the amended zoning plan is scheduled for April 3, with the City Council likely to vote on it a week or two later.


Read original article here By James Walsh Star Tribune MARCH 27, 2019


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April 10, 2019


Ford site developer has chance to add 35 homes along St. Paul river boulevard


Developer Ryan Cos. might be allowed to install 35 single-family homes along Mississippi River Boulevard on the Highland Park Ford site, after all.


The St. Paul City Council has set a public hearing April 3 on dozens of proposed amendments to the zoning and master plan that govern future development at the site of the former Twin Cities Ford auto plant.


“There are some cases where Ryan Companies’ (proposed) changes were more closely aligned with industry standards,” said St. Paul City Council Member Chris Tolbert, addressing the city council on Wednesday.


The developer’s proposed amendments range from technical tweaks to the more controversial question of whether the company should be allowed to build single-family homes instead of multi-unit buildings overlooking the river.


Read original article here. By FREDERICK MELO Pioneer Press APRIL 10, 2019


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Aoril 10, 2019


Ryan's plan for Ford site moves forward with 6-1 vote on St. Paul council


The development of the former Ford property in St. Paul’s Highland Park will include a contentious element — single-family houses along the Mississippi River.


The development’s future became clearer Wednesday as the City Council voted 6-1 to change the area’s master zoning plan to better align with what developer Ryan Companies said it can sell. That includes allowing up to 35 single-family houses among the 3,800 units of housing Ryan said will be built on the 122-acre site.


Council Member Rebecca Noecker was the dissenter. She said she appreciated the work that went into the plan, but she continues to think single-family houses should not be a part of the package.


“Especially with our affordable housing needs,” she said. “I continue to believe we can have multifamily housing along the river.”


Read original article here By James Walsh Star Tribune April 10, 2019


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April 17, 2019


St. Paul council approves Ford site plan for single-family houses near river


More detailed development plans for the huge site of the old Ford plant in St. Paul are beginning to take shape. The City Council Wednesday approved a raft of changes requested by the developer, Ryan Cos. Chief among them is a proposal to add single-family houses along Mississippi River Boulevard — but that idea is controversial.


Ryan wants to build 3,800 homes, plus office, retail and green space on an empty 122-acre piece of riverfront land where Ford built cars and trucks for nearly 90 years.


Well before Ryan was picked as the developer, the site was the subject of intense debate in the Highland Park neighborhood: How dense is too dense? What about all the extra traffic? Will the new buildings fit in with existing architecture?

Ryan executives adjusted their plans in response, lowering building heights, for example. Now they've won City Council approval for more changes, such as allowing single-family houses near the Mississippi River, more business parking and the elimination of some required commercial space.


"I believe that the changes Ryan put in there were reasonable and ultimately are going to help ensure that we deliver this site in the vision that we set out," said Chris Tolbert, a council member who represents the area.


Read original article here By Matt Sepic Minnesota Public Radio April 17, 2019


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The Ford Plant project isn't built yet but we see a city trying to do the right thing with a long view on development that includes housing of all types and all densities.


The Minneapolis 2040 Plan is not yet approved but can we hope for a similar outcome? A plan addressing all housing needs ? Let us hope and pray.


The Elder Wan

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