City of Saint Paul Planning Commission to open public comment period on future use of the Ford Site

May 11, 2017

Sara Thatcher

City of Saint Paul Planning Commission to open public comment period on future use of the Ford Site

Plan calls for vibrant mixed-use urban village to be incorporated into the existing community

SAINT PAUL, MN – Plans for the Ford Site redevelopment are taking a major step forward as the site’s Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan will be presented to the Saint Paul Planning Commission on Friday, May 19. At the meeting, it is anticipated that the Planning Commission will open a public comment period through Monday, July 3, and will set a public hearing for Friday, June 30.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a connected, livable and sustainable community on this site,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “This plan reflects what we have heard from residents and stakeholders, sets the groundwork to increase our tax base, and positions us to attract the right developer to ensure that this site remains an asset in our community.”

“This is an important next step in the public process,” said Saint Paul City Councilmember Chris Tolbert. “I am eager to continue to hear from community members as we finalize this plan and bring this site to life.”

WHAT:          Saint Paul Planning Commission meeting

WHEN:          Friday, May 19, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. 

WHERE:       Saint Paul City Hall (15 W Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul, MN 55102); Room 40 (Lower Level) 

About the Zoning and Public Realm Plan
Building on extensive community engagement activities that began in 2007, and informed by a variety of studies on essential elements like jobs, energy, transportation and real estate market research, the City of Saint Paul has proposed a Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan outlining potential land uses on the vacant site.

The City’s Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan envisions rezoning the 125-acre site into six districts. Four of the districts are multi-family residential areas, increasing in height and density from the Mississippi River Boulevard to the eastern edge of the site. Two of the districts are primarily commercial areas along Ford Parkway. The site is currently zoned primarily for industrial use, so the rezoning will set the stage for the envisioned mixed-use urban village.

The current plan calls for more than 20% percent of the site to be public parks, trails, and open space—spread throughout the site to create a vibrant, green development. A prominent water feature would run through the site from north to south, serving as both a public amenity and a site-wide storm water management system.

This focus on nature and open space at the Ford Site, as well as its housing, jobs and recreation will bring in new pedestrians, cyclists and cars. To facilitate these transportation needs, the plan proposes incorporating the new development into the existing street grid, ensuring that it is integrated into the neighborhood and assists with efficient traffic flow. The plan calls for streets on the site to be designed with all users in mind and makes considerations for future transit through the site.

When the development is complete, the site could support 1,500 jobs, create between 2,400 and 4,000 residential units, and expand the city’s tax base.  New residents and employees in the area will attract new retail and services to benefit the whole neighborhood.

For more information about the Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan, visit or watch this video. The full draft plan document is also available for download here.

Next steps
The City has been collecting public feedback and refining the draft Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan since the information was first presented to the community in November 2016. The Planning Commission will review the draft plan and likely hold a public hearing on Friday, June 30. After the Planning Commission approves the plan, it will be presented to the City Council in the summer, with final adoption possible by early fall 2017.

It is anticipated that Ford Motor Company may put the site on the market as soon as later this year. The master developer selected for the site will be required to conduct an Alternative Urban Areawide Review (AUAR). The AUAR will provide analyses that inform the community, developers and decisions-makers about potential environmental and traffic impacts of redevelopment and mitigation measures recommended in response. The AUAR process will likely occur in 2019.