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Eric Larson
Eric Larson

In-House Counsel 2020: Eric Larson

CHS Field, Treasure Island Center, Beacon Bluff Business Center. As in-house counsel for the St. Paul Port Authority, Eric Larson has played a significant role in shaping some of the most iconic economic development projects in Saint Paul in the last decade.

Larson estimates that these and the other projects he has stewarded, including the port authority’s four operating barge terminals, have created as many as 5,000 new jobs in St. Paul, along with an increased property tax base of approximately $10 million.

As in-house counsel for the port authority since 2008, Larson enjoys the challenge that comes with facilitating complex developments from acquisition to completion. “I’ve been fortunate to play a major role not just in traditional transactional legal work, but as an executive lead along with the development team for the Port Authority,” he explains.

Larson says his motivation is the mission. “What drives me is making sure that the work serves public need – especially in neighborhoods where there has been traditional disinvestment and where the marketplace both public and private has not adequately put resources into those areas and people,” said Larson. “Being able to work with organizations where we do what we can to turn it around. That gets me excited.”

Beacon Bluff is one such example. The property on St. Paul’s East Side was vacated by 3M and as Larson put it, “was in danger of becoming 46 acres of cold storage.” Through a public-private partnership, the port authority redeveloped the site into an industrial zone that is now home to eight businesses employing 472 people.

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