Lee Krueger will take over leadership of the St. Paul Port Authority, which is involved in some of the city’s biggest redevelopment projects — from the Minnesota United soccer stadium to the former Macy’s building downtown.

The Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved Krueger, an internal candidate who previously led the Real Estate and Development Department, to run the agency that handles far more than just port operations.

Co-workers gave Krueger thumbs up and fist-bumped him as the board announced that he would be taking over next Tuesday, after current director Louis Jambois retires.

“Lee brings a great wealth of talent and ability to carry on the port’s mission and to really move the port forward in the coming years,” Jambois said.

Krueger will step into the new role at a busy time for the organization. Staff members are coordinating a lease agreement for a Metropolitan Council property that could hold part of the Minnesota United soccer stadium. They are also working through issues with the old Macy’s building and finishing a financial model for construction there, as well as redeveloping the former 3M campus, now dubbed Beacon Bluff, on St. Paul’s East Side.

Having an internal candidate provides continuity on those projects, board Chairman Harry Melander said.

The authority’s role has expanded since it took over management of a barge terminal 84 years ago. In addition to managing part of the city’s harbor, it handles redevelopment of industrial land in St. Paul and the east-metro area. The authority can create development districts, buy and sell land and buildings, construct industrial and commercial projects, and much more.

Krueger, 56, said he wants port staff members to spend more time reaching out to community members and building relationships. “We have to be a little more aggressive, a little more proactive on going out,” he said.

He has worked at the agency for four years, and in real estate and leasing for three decades, his résumé states. His salary and contract details have not been finalized, Port Authority Commissioner Nneka Morgan said.