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Ford Puts Tight Deadline on Proposals for Key St. Paul Site

Developers Have Two Weeks to Put in a Bid
February 9, 2018
Would-be developers of a marquee property in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood will need to act fast. Ford Motor Co. announced on Friday through CBRE, its brokerage, that development proposals for the 143-acre site will be due on Feb. 23.

The land in question was the site of a Ford factory from 1925 to 2011, and is tucked between bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River and a major commercial node in St. Paul. It is bounded by Ford Parkway on the North, Mississippi River Boulevard on the west, and existing buildings on the east and south.

The site went on the market in December 2017, according to a news release sent out by CBRE, and the company is hoping to attract "developers experienced in a wide spectrum of asset types on a local, regional, national or global scale" to buy and build out the site.

CBRE reports it has already received considerable interest from the development community, though it is unclear who precisely has put forward a proposal. Of seven large Twin Cities developers contacted for this story, four immediately responded. Two declined to comment and Bloomington-based Doran Cos. said it was not looking at the site, according to a spokesperson.

Only one respondent, Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. U.S., Inc., indicated possible interest.

"Ryan continues to explore the Ford site and we are intrigued by the possibilities there. We were aware that CBRE is looking for expressions of interest and we are evaluating now," said Tony Barranco, Ryan’s vice president of real estate development said in an email on Friday.

The Ford plant was demolished in 2013. In September 2017, the St. Paul City Council approved a master zoning plan that would allow for a sweeping mixed-use development with up to 4,000 units of new housing in addition to office, retail and green space.

Environmental clean-up is expected to wrap up soon, according the news release sent out by CBRE.

Richard Palmiter, Brian Pankratz and Steve Lehr with CBRE Land Services are marketing the site for Ford.

Ford did not say when a master developer may be announced and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Clare Kennedy, Minneapolis / St. Paul Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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