The St. Paul Port Authority has struck a deal to buy the site where the city hopes to build a new ballpark for the minor league St. Paul Saints baseball team.
Under the signed purchase agreement, the port authority would pay up to $2.3 million for the Lowertown property, which is currently home to an abandoned factory.
The proposed stadium would cost about $50 million, with $27 million coming from a state grant the city hopes to win. Port Authority President Louis Jambois said the purchase agreement will help secure that grant.
"No project can start until we own the property. And so buying this property is a very good card to play as we proceed forward with a competitive grant application," Jambois said. "It should put our project ahead of perhaps several others when applications are submitted."
If the state money does not come through, the Port Authority would still plan to buy the old Diamond Products building, although the agreement provides for a lower price if that happens.
"The cool part about this project is we're taking an old industrial site on the east end of downtown St. Paul, and we're converting that to a ballpark, which is the best use for that site," Jambois said. "We're taking a ballpark site in an industrial area and re-converting that to industrial use.
If the money is secured, the authority will tear down the Midway Stadium where the Saints currently play.