City of Saint Paul Planning Commission recommends approval of Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan

July 28, 2017

Mollie Scozzari, Marketing & Public Relations Manager
City of Saint Paul, Department of Planning & Economic Development
651-266-6575 (o); 651-387-9045 (c) 


City of Saint Paul Planning Commission recommends approval of Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan

City Council to review plan, which calls for vibrant mixed-use urban village to be incorporated into the existing community

SAINT PAUL – The Saint Paul Planning Commission today voted unanimously to recommend approval of the Ford Site redevelopment’s Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan and forward it to the Saint Paul City Council and Mayor Chris Coleman for further review and adoption. The City Council is expected to hold a public hearing on the draft plans this fall.

“The Ford Site represents a once-in-a-lifetime development opportunity,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “The overarching goal is for these nearly 135 acres of land to reemerge as a model for 21st Century Communities and remain an asset to the City of Saint Paul for generations to come. This well thought-out plan lays the foundation for a vibrant livable community on the banks of the Mississippi River.”

“Large development sites require a strong master plan that balances residential and commercial development and green space,” said Betsy Reveal, chair of the Saint Paul Planning Commission. “After considering input from many community members and organizations, the Planning Commission is confident that the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan will position this site for future-looking development to fit the needs of our growing city.”

About the Zoning and Public Realm Master 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 parameters for potential land uses on the vacant site.

The City’s Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan envisions rezoning the 135-acre site into six districts. Four of the districts are predominantly 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.

Housing affordability is an important need across the region, the City, and within the Highland Park neighborhood. The Ford Site redevelopment plan outlines specific affordability goals, ensuring that a mix of housing types will be available across the site.

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 housing, jobs and recreation – will bring in new pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. 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. A more detailed transportation analysis will be conducted once actual development has been proposed on the site, to ensure that the site and surrounding infrastructure will support future needs.

When development is complete, the site could support up to 1,500 jobs, create between 2,400 and 4,000 residential units, and expand the City’s tax base with an estimated $1.33 billion market value increase at full build out. 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 City Council is now accepting public comments, which can be shared directly with Councilmembers or online at The City Council is expected to hold a public hearing on the draft plans this fall. Written comments will be accepted up until the public hearing.

It is anticipated that Ford Motor Company may put the site on the market later this year or in early 2018. Once adopted, the Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan will clearly identify the site’s redevelopment potential and market value to prospective buyers, while creating more certainty for the surrounding community as the phased development takes place over the next 15 to 20 years.