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Cleanup grants await Met Council approval

The Snelling-Midway redevelopment site in St. Paul is poised to receive $1.25 million in Metropolitan Council cleanup money — nearly half the $2.5 million the council is preparing to grant to nine sites around the metro.

The former Superior Plating site would receive the second-largest grant in the bunch: $488,500. Seven other sites in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Vadnais Heights, Hastings and St. Louis Park were also recommended by council staff.

The Met Council Community Development Committee approved the recommendations Monday evening. The full council will vote July 13.

As the city of St. Paul locks in a master plan for the 34.4-acre Snelling-Midway redevelopment lot at the southeast quadrant of University and Snelling avenues, the St. Paul Port Authority is preparing to clean the southern 20.85 acres of the site – an $8.3 million endeavor.

The Port Authority is set to receive $1.25 million from the Met Council’s Livable Communities Act Tax Base Revitalization Account grant program. Cleanup would start this summer, said Monte Hilleman, senior vice president of real estate development at the Port Authority.

“We are really dependent on these cleanup grants to turn around properties that the private sector otherwise wouldn’t invest in,” he said. “Without this grant in particular … this project wouldn’t happen because the risk and the costs are so tough for the private sector to digest.”

The property is contaminated with petroleum, debris and other chemicals, according to Met Council documents. Most of the site is used for parking and retail, but eventually will also boast a 20,000-seat Minnesota United FC soccer stadium, office space, a hotel and apartment units.

A $4.5 million cleanup effort on 10 acres of Met Council-owned land at the site will be funded by Metro Transit.

The remaining acres in the northern portion of the site will be cleaned later, Hilleman said.

The Superior Plating site at 315 First Ave. NE, would receive the second-highest grant award: $488,500. So far, Florida-based Lennar Multifamily Communities has received more than $3.5 million in cleanup funds for the site from the Met Council and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Met Council documents note.

The multi-phase project will initially include 280 market-rate apartments and 22,000 square feet of commercial space. Lennar declined to comment on the project Monday.

Other projects recommended for cleanup funding are:

  • The Excelsior Group would receive $277,600 for asbestos and lead-based paint abatement at a 2.9-acre commercial site at 5100 Gamble Drive in St. Louis Park. The Eden Prairie-based developer would renovate the six largely vacant office buildings in the complex.
  • Apartment owner Paz Sela would receive $245,600 for investigation, soil remediation and asbestos abatement. Sela plans to convert the former Vescio’s Italian Restaurant and adjacent ValuStay Inn at 4001 and 4025 Highway 7 in St. Louis Park into a mixed-use development with 105 market-rate apartments and 14,500 square feet of commercial space.
  • The city of Vadnais Heights is considering affordable senior housing proposals for a 2.9-acre vacant commercial site, formerly an auto repair facility, gas station and a hardware store. The city would receive $106,200 for asbestos abatement and soil remediation at 3429 and 3437 Centerville Road.
  • The city of Minneapolis would receive $55,600 to clean up a 2.5-acre industrial site, previously used for scrap metal processing at 1215 Second Ave. N.
  • Minnetonka-based Morrie’s Automotive Group would be awarded $53,000 to investigate cleanup needs at the 2.8-acre site where two vacant restaurant buildings sit near the West End in St. Louis Park. The buildings at 6475 and 6501 Wayzata Blvd. will become a new Morrie’s dealership.
  • New Hope-based Rome working on redeveloping a 2.7-acre lot currently filled with grain silos and old rail lines at 2301 and 2405 California St. NE and 78 23rd Ave. NE in Minneapolis. The $50,000 cleanup grant investment will potentially lead to development of 73 market-rate apartments on the site, Met Council documentsshow.
  • Minneapolis-based Artspace would receive $29,100 for soil remediation on a 1-acre industrial site along Second Street in Hastings. The $11.7 million mixed-use project will include 37 affordable artist lofts, 2,500 square feet of retail and a 1,700-square foot gallery.

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