St. Paul unveiled big plans Tuesday to transform long-vacant parts of the former Hamm's Brewery complex into affordable housing, a two-story marketplace and an outdoor plaza.
For years, city officials have hoped to redevelop the historic 4.8-acre property in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood. In a news release, the city announced that it will move forward with a design proposal from St. Paul-based JB Vang.
"The redevelopment of the historic Hamm's Brewery is a landmark project for St. Paul's East Side that will enable this site to again serve as a hub of vibrant community activity," said City Council Member Jane Prince, who represents the area, in a statement.
The Theodore Hamm Brewing Co. was founded in 1865 and grew to become the fifth-largest brewery in the country by the 1950s, according to the city. The brewery was sold a few times before closing in 1997.
In 2004, the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) purchased the southern portion of the site. Since then, the HRA has sold three parcels on the property, which have been redeveloped into St. Paul Brewing, 11 Wells Distillery and an aquaponics operation that's now listed for resale.
JB Vang's plan aims to bring 259 affordable housing units to the site, including one- and two-bedroom rentals and owner-occupied "live/work studios" in the renovated brewery, according to the release. The developer also is proposing family-sized rowhomes and a new apartment building.
The former brewhouse would be transformed into a marketplace with 56,000 square feet of commercial space. The proposal includes an outdoor public plaza, indoor community space and green space adjacent to Swede Hollow Park and the Bruce Vento Trail, the release said.
"We are honored to have the opportunity to return this site to its place of prominence in the neighborhood," said J. Kou Vang, president and CEO of JB Vang, in a statement. "JB Vang looks forward to working with the community, stakeholders, elected officials and city staff on this project that will honor Hamm's history as well as reflect the diversity of the community that calls the East Side home today."
Four other developers submitted proposals. The City Council, which acts as the HRA, will vote to officially award tentative developer status to JB Vang in January.
If the measure passes, the city will work exclusively with JB Vang "to perform due diligence and meet defined project benchmarks," with the goal of reaching a development agreement spelling out the terms of the property sale and project, according to the HRA website.
Crystal King, the spokesperson for St. Paul's Department of Planning and Economic Development, said construction could start as soon as 2025 under the current project timeline.
The city previously has said it would consider — but not guarantee — subsidies for the site's development. King said additional details about the financing will be provided at a future HRA meeting.