Turns out that St. Paul's soon-to-be vacated Midway Stadium won't stand empty for long. Or for much longer.
The St. Paul Port Authority announced Tuesday that it has struck a deal with United Properties, owned by the Pohlad family that also owns the Minnesota Twins, to redevelop the longtime home of the St. Paul Saints once the minor league team leaves at the end of the 2014 baseball season for fancy new digs in the city's Lowertown neighborhood.
Under terms of the deal, the Port Authority and United Properties will co-own and operate the site, splitting the risk and, eventually, the rent that is expected to be generated once the 12.8-acre tract is redeveloped into a mixed-use commercial and industrial facility.
Tentative plans call for the stadium site, on St. Paul's Energy Park Drive in the city's Midway neighborhood, to be transformed into about 190,000 square feet of flex industrial space that will be home to 200 to 300 jobs, officials said.
Spokesman Tom Collins said the Port Authority's contribution to the deal is in the land and infrastructure costs, including the cost to tear down the stadium and prepare the site for development. United Properties will pay for the new construction and manage the completed project. MVP Real Estate, LLC, will be the name of the new joint venture.
Collins said it will be the fifth time in its history that the Port Authority has entered into such a joint development agreement. Its first joint venture was a deal with Ryan Cos. to develop a property in Energy Park. Ryan Cos. is now building the new Saints ballpark.
"It's like we have come full circle," Collins said.
Minneapolis-based United Properties, too, has come full circle in its own way. The company got its start in St. Paul nearly a century ago, when it was formed by the Hamm family to manage the real estate assets of the Hamm's Brewing Co. in 1916. United Properties said it will waste no time looking for potential tenants.
"Our marketing efforts begin immediately and we expect significant interest given the site's prime location near both central business districts and the lack of new development land in the area," said Brandon Champeau, assistant vice president at United Properties. "We are excited to work with the Port Authority and the City of St. Paul, where our company began nearly 100 years ago."
Site cleanup and demolition will begin once the Saints current season is complete and be finished by mid-2015. Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2016. The fully developed project should be ready for occupancy by that fall, according to the agreement.
The project's proposed budget, including a $9 million construction loan, is $15 million.
Redevelopment, however, won't begin until the Saints have signed a letter of occupancy at their new ballpark, currently under construction in the downtown Lowertown district. The Saints plan to move into their new home in time for the start of the 2015 season.
The Port Authority acquired the Midway Stadium site in 2012 in a land swap with the city of St. Paul. When the city was too strapped for cash to buy the Lowertown site, where the Diamond Products/Gillette Co. plant stood, the Port bought it for $1.85 million, then traded it for the Midway Stadium site, which will become part of Energy Park Business Center after the Saints leave.