After nearly six years at the helm of the St. Paul Port Authority, Lee Krueger is stepping down from his role as president March 1, the agency announced in a news release Friday.

Krueger, who was involved in some of the city's biggest redevelopment projects in recent years, is leaving to focus on commercial real estate and development, according to the release.

"When I took on the role of president, it was my vision to foster development that grew St. Paul's tax base while supporting people and families through the creation of good-paying, sustainable jobs," he said in a statement. "It has been an honor to do this work alongside the city and others on behalf of the Port Authority, and I'm proud of the work we've done together."

Krueger joined the Port Authority as senior vice president of real estate and development in 2012, and he took over as president in 2016.

For years, the duties of the St. Paul agency have expanded beyond management of the city's harbor. The Port can create development districts, buy and sell land and buildings, construct industrial and commercial projects, and more.

During his tenure, Krueger played a hand in the development of Allianz Field and oversaw the purchase and redevelopment of the former Macy's building downtown, which is now the Treasure Island Center. More recently, the Port Authority sold the former Bix Produce Co. facility to a trucking company after acquiring the property from the state, which purchased the building as a possible COVID-19 morgue in 2020.

The Port's board plans to hire a firm to conduct a national search for Krueger's replacement, who will take over redevelopment of the former Hillcrest golf course, a 112-acre site that planners hope can be used to provide 1,000 jobs and up to 1,000 units of deeply affordable housing.

Todd Hurley, the Port's chief financial officer and chief operating officer, will serve as interim president.

"We are grateful for the time Lee gave to the Port Authority," Board Chair John Bennett said in a statement. "His brilliant real estate mind and commitment to St. Paul have made a positive, lasting impact on our communities."