Ramsey County seeks buyer for Riverfront stretch

Ramsey County wants to sell a prime stretch of riverfront in downtown St. Paul to a Twin Cities developer.

The Opus Corporation has a $200 million plan to develop the site of the old county jail and former home of West Publishing. The one time jail was built into the city's signature bluffs. Many consider the building a sad relic showing how St. Paul once turned its back on the Mississippi River.

But if the county board agrees to sell the land for $10 million, the move could bring a hotel tower, offices and condos to the riverfront.

A rival developer based in Belgium also bid to redevelop the land. But county commissioner Rafael Ortega says he wants to go with a trusted name like Opus, after previous efforts to develop the jail property fell apart.

"We really want something done in St. Paul. We don't want any more delays. We opted to choose what we believe might be a more certainty to having that project completed," says Ortega.

Opus is expected to ask the city for public money.

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