Metropolitan Council and Saint Paul HRA Seek Developer for Central Station Block

The Metropolitan Council and the City of Saint Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) begin a search today for a developer for a prime, undeveloped property in the heart of downtown Saint Paul.

A Request for Proposals for the Central Station Redevelopment Site was issued today. Responses will be accepted through Thursday, July 25.

“The vision is for a landmark, high-density, mixed-use development that both maximizes the development potential of the site and increases transit ridership,” Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle said. “The Metropolitan Council and the HRA are deeply committed to the successful development of the site.”

Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said the site is an important part of a broader plan to energize downtown Saint Paul. “Residents in cities across the country are understanding anew just how critical a thriving downtown is to a city’s overall health,” Carter said.

The Met Council and HRA separately own parcels on the Central Station Redevelopment Site and are offering them, along with air rights above the METRO Green Line, as one development opportunity.

In partnership, the Met Council and HRA may consider providing financial assistance to a development that supports public purpose goals.

The 1.66-acre site sits on Cedar Street, between 5th and 4th streets, and is bisected by the METRO Green Line and its Central Station. A vacant building on the site was demolished to make way for the Green Line over a decade ago. As part of the light rail construction project, an environmental cleanup effort occurred on the site.

Future development could include the restructuring of the adjacent stairway- elevator tower, skyway and bus stop, and incorporation into a building or buildings.

“This one-of-its-kind development opportunity in the heart of downtown will spark Saint Paul’s next phase of economic growth,” said Saint Paul City Council Member (Ward 2) and HRA Chair Rebecca Noecker. “I am excited about the chance to bring this block to life with a high-density development, active and pedestrian-oriented ground-level space and a seamless connection to transit.”

Transit-oriented development continues along transitways

The effort to find a developer for the Central Station block comes as development continues along high-frequency transit corridors across the region, bringing more housing, jobs and tax revenue.

According to the Metro Transit Transit Oriented Development Office's recently published Development Trends Along Transit report:

  • 37% of the region’s development has occurred near high frequency transitways since 2009, representing $16.4 billion in permit value.
  • Regionwide, more than half of new multifamily units affordable up to 60% of the area median income have been built near high-frequency transit over the past decade.
  • 83% of deeply affordable units have been located near high-frequency transit. Deeply affordable means up to 30% of the area median income.

According to a separate property tax analysis produced by the TOD Office:

  • In 2022, the average parcel near high-frequency transit generated $60,000 per acre in property tax revenue — 10 times the regional average of $5,700.

Land near high-frequency transit accounts for just 2% of the region’s taxable parcels but generates more than 25% of the region’s property tax revenue.

Last Edited: March 25, 2024