Minneapolis-based Ryan Companies, which had been St. Paul's hand-picked choice to build the Saints ballpark before Gov. Mark Dayton and others objected about the lack of competition, came in ahead of two other bidders and won the job in its own right Thursday.

Mayor Chris Coleman made the announcement that the city had selected Ryan, launching contract negotiations with the company that St. Paul officials plan to conclude by Jan. 25. They hope to have the ballpark ready for the 2015 season.

Ryan got a higher technical score and submitted a lower bid than the other two firms making proposals, Golden Valley-based Knutson Construction and PCL Construction of Burnsville, said St. Paul Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm.

"We focused on having the best process we could have in place to get the best product, we had a great response ... and it happened to be Ryan," Hahm said.

The project is estimated to cost $54 million. Funding includes a $25 million state grant, $17 million in city bonding and $1.5 million from the Saints. The balance will come from assorted funds, and half the bonds will be paid off with rent from the Saints.

Hahm declined to say what Ryan's bid was because the contract has not yet been finalized.

St. Paul also learned Thursday that it had won a $1 million state grant to remove contaminants from the 9.7-acre site in Lowertown. The ballpark will be built on the site of the former Gillette/Diamond Products plant, near the Farmers Market.

A nine-member selection panel scored the three competing firms on a dozen criteria. Ryan had the lowest score in sports venues experience but rated highest on pre-construction work, budget and timeline success and workforce.

Partnering with Ryan on the project will be AECOM, a firm that has designed major sports facilities, and local firm Julie Snow Architects.

They will design and build the 7,000-seat ballpark. Besides hosting 50 Saints games each year, the stadium will be used for amateur events and by high school, American Legion and college teams.

St. Paul, which will own the park, last fall awarded the project to Ryan, which had worked with the Saints in developing the ballpark proposal. But city leaders decided to solicit bids after the Taxpayers League of Minnesota sued and Dayton suggested that he might withhold the $25 million state grant unless a competitive process was used to choose a builder.

Demolition on the site is expected to begin by summer.

Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035