Ryan Companies closes on purchase of Ford Plant site

A drawing of a planned retail center.
Ryan Companies released this image of a retail and commercial area proposed for the Ford plant site in the Highland Park neighborhood in St. Paul, as the city announced a final development agreement for the site.
Courtesy of Ryan Companies file

Ryan Companies will pay $61 million for the former Ford plant site in St. Paul, and said Thursday that work on a massive development will begin early next year.

Ryan has outlined a $1.3 billion housing, office and retail project for the 122-acre site on a bluff above the Mississippi River in the city’s Highland Park neighborhood. Tony Barranco, senior vice president of development, said the price reflects Ford's extensive cleanup of the former industrial property and the uniqueness of the parcel.

"In light of the investment they made in the cleanup of the site and the value of the real estate, I think we arrived at place that was fair to Ford, fair to the city and one that allows the project to be successful.”

He said it took about five months to settle on a price and iron out other issues.

“It wasn't only about price. It was about how we were going to take on and execute such a significant project. So, that time was spend on a lot of things. And I think we arrived in a great spot,” Barranco said.

Ryan also named three partner organizations that will help the Minneapolis-based developer build a mix of market- and below-market-rate homes and apartments at the site. Weidner Apartments will be responsible for the 3,040 market-rate dwellings. CommonBond Communities and Project for Pride in Living will develop the 760 affordable units.

In addition to housing, the project will include office and retail buildings and more than 55 acres of public and open spaces. The entire project will take about a decade to complete.

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