St. Paul buys the land to put a ballpark in Lowertown

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 22, 2012 - 10:02 PM

The $1.85 million accord includes a Midway Stadium land swap.

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An artist’s rendering of the ballpark.

Photo: , City of St. Paul

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St. Paul took a step toward realizing a new downtown ballpark when the St. Paul Port Authority signed a purchase agreement Tuesday for land earmarked for the site.

The city and Port Authority plan to swap the old Diamond Products site in St. Paul's Lowertown with that of Midway Stadium, the current home of the St. Paul Saints in Energy Park.

The price for the land in the Lowertown neighborhood is $1.85 million, with the Port Authority expected to close on the property July 31.

"This is an exciting day for the city of St. Paul and the Lowertown neighborhood," Mayor Chris Coleman said in a news release.

The aging and rundown Midway Stadium is located on Energy Park Drive, an industrial area. Coleman has said a new Lowertown ballpark would bring 400,000 people downtown each year, with an economic impact of $10 million.

"This agreement will create jobs both in the Lowertown neighborhood of downtown St. Paul and at the site of Midway Stadium, a key industrial corridor with highly sought-after railway access," Louis Jambois, president of the Port Authority, said.

Money for the ballpark was left out of the state bonding bill passed this month by the Legislature. The city plans to apply for a $27 million grant from the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), which was given $47.5 million to disburse to projects left out of the bill.

Coleman wrote a letter to DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips on Monday stating the city's case for the grant money.

Cities across the state are expected to apply for the DEED funds, including Rochester, Mankato and St. Cloud. The fund won't cover half of those projects.

St. Paul will contribute $17 million and the Saints, $10 million, to a new ballpark. Coleman told Phillips that work could begin on it this construction season, a high priority for DEED, and that it could be open in May 2014.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708

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