The St. Paul Port Authority is seeking up to $2 million in grants to clean up soil around Allianz Field and make way for housing, retail, office space and parking.
The site at 1574 W. University Av., formerly home to Big Top Liquors, will become retail, co-working space and two apartment towers atop a nearly 150,000-square-foot “parking podium.”
The early plans offer a glimpse of the future for residents who live around the soccer stadium, more than a year after it was built and nearly four years after the completion of a master plan envisioning a walkable, mixed-use development with office, retail, residential, entertainment, hotel and open space.
“It’s been some time,” said Kate Mudge, executive director of the Hamline-Midway Coalition. “This is the first time we’re seeing anything with regard to what it could look like, and also where development is going to start, because it’s clearly a very, very large plot of land.”
Groundbreaking is scheduled for October, and soil cleanup will be one of the first construction activities, according to Port Authority spokeswoman Andrea Novak. The cleanup is expected to be complete by the end of the year, she said.
The Port Authority’s credit committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to move forward with grant applications for up to $1 million from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and up to $500,000 each from the Metropolitan Council and Ramsey County.
The money will go toward cleaning up soil contamination and installing soil vapor mitigation systems to protect buildings once they’re constructed, Novak said. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, petroleum byproducts are contaminating soil, soil vapor and groundwater at the stadium site, which previously housed a streetcar maintenance facility and a bus garage.
Mortenson Construction is leading development of the mixed-use United Village at Midway project on the nearly 35 acres around Allianz Field, home of Minnesota United FC.
Tuesday’s Port Authority meeting agenda described the project as “an urban village with residential, retail and office spaces integrated together with the existing professional soccer stadium, Allianz Field, with open and green spaces for recreation and community activities that encourages use of public transportation.”
Though residents will “absolutely” have questions, such as whether the apartment towers will include affordable housing, Mudge said, it will be helpful to finally have a concrete proposal.
“It’s really hard to respond to something if you don’t know what it is,” she said. “This is great to see the first behind-the-scenes look.”