New Model

Initial plans emerge for former Ford assembly plant in St. Paul, Minnesota

Development Midwest
Initial plans emerge for former Ford assembly plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Courtesy City of St. Paul)
Initial plans emerge for former Ford assembly plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Courtesy City of St. Paul)

A vision for Ford Motor Company’s former Twin Cities Assembly Plant is beginning to materialize as the City of St. Paul has recently unveiled initial studies for the site. While discussion around the site has been underway for nearly 10 years, it seems that the project is poised to start moving in earnest.

In a public meeting, the city outlined what the future may hold for what they are calling “Ford Site: A 21st Century Community.” The 135 acres of land along the Mississippi River in the Highland community was an assembly plant from 1925 through 2011. Now the plan is to build a mixed-use development which will focus on and interconnected system of streets, bikeways, and walkways.

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The information presented by the city included a rough timeline of the development, outlines of economic and environmental impact, and a plan for the streets and park space on the site. Much of the information was gathered and assembled during the course of a dozen public meetings and presentation that have happened over the last two years. One of the largest concerns surrounding the Twin Cities Assembly Plant project has been the likely increase in traffic in the area. The city has assured skeptics that new dedicated transit and improved space for alternative transportation would be provided on the site.

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Any developer will be held to Saint Paul’s Parkland Dedication Ordinance, which mandates a percentage of the site be parkland based on the project’s density. (Courtesy City of St. Paul)

Though the city is playing a large role in communicating information to the public, St. Paul does not own the site. It is still owned by Ford, who plan to market and sell the land for development. Ford, working with the city, is currently running studies on the site and planning remediation. It is expected that Ford will actively start the search for buyers in 2017. The presented timeline puts developer engagement in 2020, with the physical project beginning in 2021.

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A rough idea of how development will be divided up between residential and commercial was presented to the public by the city. (Courtesy City of St. Paul)

While no designs have been released, the city has stated that the development would “reflect the heritage of the Ford plant and its employees.” The city has also stated that there will be a mix of tradition and “modern” building forms and materials in the development.

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