The City of Saint Paul's Department of Planning & Economic Development (PED) has broad responsibility for creating a climate attractive to businesses and people.


PED has established an Economic Development Strategy for 2016-2018 outlining three goals:

  • Increase the number of jobs in Saint Paul, and increase access to jobs and opportunity for residents.
  • Grow Saint Paul's tax base to maintain and expand City services, amenities and infrastructure.
  • Lower unemployment among the City's diverse populations with disproportionately high unemployment rates.


Many elements combine to create economic growth: a dynamic community with housing, infrastructure and amenities attractive to people and businesses; a fair and balanced regulatory environment; and availability of a skilled workforce.

This strategy is specifically designed to address the elements that are primarily within the purview of PED’s Economic Development team, recognizing that other City departments and factors also contribute to economic development.

PED's priorities are:

  1. Expand business attraction, retention, and expansion programs to strengthen Saint Paul’s employer base.
    Retaining and helping existing firms succeed and grow in Saint Paul is a top priority. PED will commit additional staff time and focus to one-on-one outreach to existing businesses in Saint Paul, including major employers, fast-growing firms, small and minority-owned businesses, and start-ups. PED will maintain an active partnership with Chambers, Saint Paul Port Authority and Greater MSP, and coordinate efforts with Greater MSP’s Center Cities Competitiveness Initiative.
  2. Support innovative entrepreneurship and small business development to compel new job growth.
    Entrepreneurs, including recent immigrants and minority business owners, are critical to job creation in Saint Paul. PED will support entrepreneurs by providing connections to resources and networks.
  3. Build and market a compelling Saint Paul brand that conveys the distinct advantages of doing business here.
    PED will assertively market the City to business leaders, developers, site selectors, and others as a place for growing businesses, with talented workers and solid investment opportunities. Stressing Saint Paul’s competitive advantages, PED will market development sites and promote the success of businesses and investors who have elected to locate in Saint Paul.
  4. Proactively direct new development to certain high-priority geographies and sites in the City.
    Attracting employers and investment to key sites that are accessible to residents experiencing high unemployment is a top priority of PED.
  5. Invest in downtown Saint Paul to catalyze further economic activity.
    The continued vitality of downtown is essential for the overall health of the City. PED will support additional investments that make downtown walkable and vibrant, with a strong sense of place as well as a center for commerce and high-quality living.
  6. Align resources around neighborhoods where attention and investment can create momentum for resurgence while continuing to build on strengths and opportunities throughout the City.
    PED will target efforts to Dayton’s Bluff, North End/Rice Street, Frogtown and Summit-University. These neighborhoods are among the most diverse in the region and have high levels of unemployment and disinvestment. PED’s work in these areas will emphasize improving access to employment, and supporting neighborhood business growth and other strategies to create wealth and support economic vitality.

Download a printable PDF of this strategy summary here:
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The full 2016-2018 Economic Development Strategy is also available for download:
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Last Edited: January 8, 2019