In order to achieve a “bold master plan” for redevelopment of the former Ford Motor Co. site in St. Paul, Minneapolis-based developer Ryan Cos. said Saturday that it needs more than $107 million in public financing.
The money would go toward infrastructure, green space, a dramatic stream-like water feature and 760 units of affordable housing in what city officials hope becomes a high-density, eco-friendly urban village.
“Bringing this vision to life will require a long-term public-private partnership and investment,” Ryan officials said in a statement. “To be clear, Ryan Companies is requesting public investment only for public spaces, infrastructure and affordable housing, but not for any privately owned projects, unless they are to serve the mission of affordable housing.”
The request, shared by the city in a message sent to the Highland District Council late Friday, is the first time Ryan has specified how much public money it wants in order to develop the 122-acre site where Ford ceased production of vehicles a decade ago.
City Council Member Chris Tolbert, who represents the area, said Ryan’s request is the first step in a monthslong process to shape one of the region’s best redevelopment opportunities.
“This is just the beginning. We have to do our due diligence; staff will have to do its due diligence,” he said. “That’s [Ryan’s] ask. That doesn’t mean that’s what the final amount is.”
In 2016, the St. Paul City Council established a tax increment financing (TIF) district for the site, a subsidy in which the city pays for site improvements using increased property taxes generated by the site’s rising value. The city anticipates spending up to $275 million on infrastructure and housing, with annual tax increments starting at $315,350 and increasing to $20.3 million once the site is fully developed around 2035.
In return for that financing, Ryan and city officials expect the site to someday be worth more than $1.4 billion. Over the 25 years of the TIF district, Ryan said the site will generate more than $400 million in new taxes for the city, county and school district.
Ryan officials said $48 million of their request will go to the more than $200 million to be invested in affordable housing. Ryan is proposing to create a total of nearly 3,800 units of housing at the Ford site, including single-family homes, townhouses, apartments and senior living.
“As part of this partnership, Ryan is intending to contribute over 40 percent of the land area to become new public realm and green space, including retaining two existing Little League fields,” Mike Ryan, president of Ryan’s North Region, and Tony Barranco, senior vice president of development, said in their statement.
The rest of the public funds would help pay for more than 50 acres of green space, public plazas, bike paths, roadways, sewer, water and electrical service.
“From the start of our involvement with the former Ford site, Ryan has embraced the City of St. Paul’s bold vision to balance economic, social and environmental values in a way that conserves and improves the unique qualities and characteristics of the Highland Park neighborhood while advancing the city and greater region’s goals,” Ryan and Barranco said. “Without the public investment, we do not believe this bold master plan, and the important goals within it, can be achieved.”