AUAR Update

In 2023, as the Responsible Governmental Unit, the City of Saint Paul determined that an Alternative Urban Areawide Review (AUAR) Update was required for Highland Bridge (formerly referred to as the Ford Site). The final AUAR Update can be found here.

The notice of document availability was published in the EQB Monitor on May 16, 2023. Comments on the Draft AUAR Update were accepted through Wednesday, May 31, 2023. The City received five sets of comments, two from government agencies and three from the public.

Please contact the following staff member with any questions:

Spencer Miller-Johnson
Senior City Planner
Department of Planning & Economic Development
400 City Hall Annex
25 West Fourth Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102

View the final AUAR Update


An Alternative Urban Areawide Review (AUAR) is a planning tool that local governments can use to understand how different development scenarios will affect the environment of the community. The State of Minnesota requires environmental reviews on proposed developments of a certain size and scale. The City of Saint Paul is the responsible governmental unit (RGU) for the Ford Site AUAR process.

Learn About the AUAR Process

The Ford Site AUAR study area includes the four parcels identified in the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan, totaling 139 acres. The four parcels are:

  • The Ford Site: the 122-acre main assembly plant parcel located south of Ford Parkway and east of Mississippi River Boulevard
  • The Burg & Wolfson (Lunds & Byerlys) property: one 4-acre parcel located on the east border of the Ford Site south of Ford Parkway
  • The Canadian Pacific Railway property: two parcels totaling 13 acres located on the south border of the Ford Site
Map of Ford Site AUAR Study Area

In June 2018, Ford awarded Ryan Companies the development rights to the 122-acre Ford Site parcel. Ryan Companies is proposing a mixed use development with a variety of housing and commerce opportunities.

There is an additional 22-acre river parcel (“Area C”) located west of the Ford Site, along the Mississippi River and up to the bluff edge of Mississippi River Boulevard. This area contains a steam plant and wastewater treatment plant that served the main assembly plant, as well as a former dump site. This parcel is currently owned by Ford, and is not part of the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan or Ford Site AUAR process.

The first step in the AUAR process for the Ford Site is preparing a Draft AUAR Order and Scoping Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW). The Draft AUAR Order identifies the development scenarios to be analyzed in the AUAR, and the Scoping EAW summarizes existing conditions and defines the level of analysis to be completed for the AUAR. After considering comments received during the 30-day public comment period, the development scenarios and scope of the AUAR were finalized.

The Final AUAR Order and Scoping EAW is now posted under the Documents section.

The City anticipates releasing the Draft AUAR and Mitigation Plan in mid-August for public comment.


  • June 2019: The City of Saint Paul publishes the Draft AUAR Order and the Scoping EAW
  • June 10 - July 10, 2019: Public comment period on the Draft AUAR Order and Scoping EAW
  • July-August 2019: The City of Saint Paul prepares the Draft AUAR
  • August-September 2019: The City of Saint Paul publishes the Draft AUAR (two open houses planned)
  • August-September 2019: Public comment period on Draft AUAR
  • November 2019: City of Saint Paul publishes the Final AUAR

Public Comment

Public comment will be collected twice during the AUAR process:

  • After publishing the Draft AUAR Order and Scoping EAW. This comment period has closed.
  • After publishing the Draft AUAR. This comment period has closed.

Each comment period lasted for 30 days. Two public open houses were held during the Draft AUAR public comment period.

  • Tuesday, August 20, 6:00 to 8:00p.m., Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Avenue S. The primary topics of this open house were natural and built environment, land use, geology, water resources, animal species, visual, air, and noise.
  • Tuesday, August 27, 6:00 to 8:00p.m., Highland Park Community Center, 1978 Ford Parkway. The primary topic of this open house was transportation.


Last Edited: June 28, 2023