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Ford site redevelopment in St. Paul in high gear this year

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St. Paul city officials describe the old Ford plant site as one of the most desirable urban pieces of property in the country, and they're eager to move forward this year with plans to redevelop it into a "21st century community."

The 122-acre site in the city's Highland Park neighborhood was the location of the old Ford Motor Co. assembly plant, which stood there for nearly 90 years until the company closed it down in 2011.

Demolition of the plant is nearly complete, and the city is expected to make some significant decisions in the coming months to determine what will be built in its place, the Star Tribune reports.

But the general vision was clearly laid out many months ago. According to the project's website, the site will be:

"[A] livable, mixed use neighborhood that looks to the future with clean technologies and high quality design for energy, buildings and infrastructure. This site will support walking, biking and transit, and provide services, jobs and activities that every generation can enjoy."

Here are some of the significant actions that will be taken in 2015:

  • Demolition and cleanup work will be completed and the site will be seeded with grass
  • Soil and groundwater will be tested for contaminants and cleanup recommendations made
  • Studies on renewable energy, business development and transit options for the site will be done
  • The city will recommend a plan for rezoning the parcel for various uses
  • Ford, which still owns the land, will begin marketing it to potential developers

As part of the planning process, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and several other city and community leaders will visit several places in Europe later this spring to look at several urban redevelopment sites in Sweden, Denmark and Germany, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Those cities have redeveloped industrial areas into housing, business and transit-oriented areas that use sustainable energy practices, according to the Pioneer Press.

The costs of the trip will be paid for by private sources, Mayor Coleman's office told the Pioneer Press.

According to the city's timeline, rezoning of the property is expected to be approved by early 2016, and its sale to a developer should be completed by 2017.

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