Ryan Cos. Moves Forward with St. Paul Redevelopment

Weidner Apartment Homes and Presbyterian Homes have joined the project, which will bring thousands of housing units to the 122-acre former Ford site.

Highland Bridge. Rendering courtesy of Ryan Cos.

Ryan Cos. is forging ahead with a mixed-use redevelopment project in St. Paul, Minn., that will bring 3,800 housing units along with office and retail space to the 122-acre site of a former Ford Motor Cos. assembly plant. The commercial real estate developer has rebranded the project as Highland Bridge in tandem with the release of a groundbreaking video involving city officials.

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Ford awarded Ryan the development rights to the site along the Mississippi River in June 2018, and in December of last year the company unveiled a redevelopment proposal together with the City of St. Paul. Highland Bridge is slated to include 265,000 square feet of office space, 150,000 square feet of retail space and 50,000 square feet of civic or institutional space along with more than 55 acres of public and open space.

In its latest announcement, Ryan revealed two new housing partners for the sprawling development. The company has selected Pulte Group as the builder of Highland Bridge’s for-sale rowhomes, while nonprofit Presbyterian Homes has been tapped as the owner and operator of a service-based senior living community. Weidner Apartment Homes is already slated to develop market-rate housing, while Habitat for Humanity, CommonBond Communities and Project for Pride in Living will deliver most of the project’s affordable housing.

Residential elements

The senior living community will feature independent living, assisted living and memory care apartment options along with various services and amenities. The project, which is designed to be highly walkable integrated with the surrounding master-planned development, is expected to bring more than 100 full-time jobs to the area.

Multifamily owner-operator Weidner is slated to deliver a wide range of LEED-certified, market-range apartments throughout Highland Bridge, with flexible floorplans ranging from studio apartments to larger family units. Weidner purchased several parcels for residential development last December as part of the closing of Ryan’s $61 million purchase of the redevelopment site. The two companies are also working together on the development of the 318-unit Daymark Uptown apartment project in Minneapolis.

Pulte’s plans include roughly 320 rowhomes ranging from 1,900 to 3,000 square feet, with prices starting in the upper $300,000 range. Construction is scheduled to start in the winter of this year, with the first units available for closing in winter 2021.

In addition to the commercial and residential space, the overall redevelopment will include four new city parks and a series of bike and pedestrian paths covering 5 miles, along with a central water feature. Two little league fields that were donated in May of this year will also be preserved.

Plans calls for an investment of $92 million for new public parks and infrastructure, achieved in part through $32 million in private infrastructure investment, plus private investment for the various individual projects, as well as $53 million in tax increment financing (TIF).

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