East Metro Leaders Mark Turn of History at Riverfront Properties Event

East Metro Leaders Mark Turn of History at Riverfront Properties Event

Saint Paul, Minn. – Ramsey County commissioners and civic leaders assembled today at the former West building and Adult Detention Center on the river bluffs in downtown Saint Paul to pay tribute to the site’s past and look forward to its future. In June, Ramsey County will begin deconstruction of the buildings to prepare the iconic site for sale and new development.

“We see a promising future for this unique site overlooking the Mississippi River while also honoring its indelible part in the history of our community,” said Ramsey County commissioner and board chair Jim McDonough.

In mid-May, Ramsey County issued Rachel Contracting (St. Michael, Minn.) a contract award notice for the Riverfront Properties project, including hazardous materials abatement, building deconstruction and bluff stabilization. At $13.1 million, the company submitted the lowest bid for the project. $11.5 million in funding was approved by the Ramsey County board in November 2014. The final financing plan will be presented during the June 9 board meeting and will include approved bonding and 2014 capital project fund balance.

"We're removing all of the unknowns and preparing this as a shovel-ready site for its highest and best use as commercial development," said Commissioner Rafael Ortega, whose district includes downtown Saint Paul. 

The event included a farewell tour of the Riverfront Properties with a stop in the offices previously used by West Publishing (since acquired by Thomson Reuters) where former executives John Nasseff and Vance Opperman and Fane Opperman shared reminiscences of the company's history. Ramsey County acquired the property from West in 1991 for use as a government center until August of 2013 when all county employees had relocated to other facilities. 

Within the former Ramsey County Adult Detention Center (jail), Sheriff Matt Bostrom spoke of that facility’s place in the history of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department. In use from 1979 to 2003, the ADC was connected by skyway to the West buildings in 1992.

An independent analysis estimates that the Riverfront Properties site will accommodate upwards of $150 million in private development. This would yield about $7 million in new annual tax revenues, of which about $1.9 million would be collected by Ramsey County.

Speaking at the event, Saint Paul Port Authority president Louis Jambois said, “We’re looking forward to seeing this site renewed in the spirit of its vibrant commercial past.”

The project is expected to be complete by the summer of 2016.

Contact: John Siqveland, Public Communications Director, 651-266-8017.

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