St. Paul seeks help cleaning up development sites

Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN), 2014-04-23


April 23 --The city of St. Paul is looking for environmental help to clean up former industrial land on East Seventh Street so Mississippi Market can construct its third natural foods store within the city limits.

Eager to jump start construction of the $10 million grocery co-op, among other projects, the city of St. Paul will ask the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for "brownfield" redevelopment grants and clean-up funds.

The city council on Wednesday authorized the city's Department of Planning and Economic Development to submit applications to Minnesota DEED and the Met Council for help with the five projects.

The redevelopment sites include an apartment building at 892 N. Hamline Ave. , the old Hamm's Brewery , the vacant Hospital Linen site on East Seventh Street , and a project at Rice and Sycamore Street .

The Hospital Linen site would become home to the Mississippi Market and roughly 100 units of independent living senior housing developed by Dominium . The market has raised more than $1.8 million from its members to purchase and develop approximately 40,000 square feet of vacant land on the western portion of the site, which is located on East Seventh and Maple streets.

Liz McMann , a consumer affairs manager with the member-owned co-op, said the building will be approximately 23,000 square feet, with 10,500 square feet for the retail store on the main level, including a seating area and a classroom. The second floor will include offices.

The co-op plans to buy the land from the city's Housing and Redevelopment Authority this year, with hopes of breaking ground this summer. If everything falls into place, a new store could open by July 2015 .

"We are very excited about this site," said Gail Graham , General Manager of Mississippi Market, in an email. "The neighborhood is well positioned for a resurgence and the community is very active in ensuring the development that occurs will be good for the neighborhood."

The Met Council provides grants for redevelopment projects through its Tax Base Revitalization Account, and DEED runs a "contamination clean-up and investigation" program that helps remediate the grounds of old industrial properties.

Frederick Melo can be reached at 651-228-2172. Follow him at twitter.com/FrederickMelo .

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