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ST. PAUL, MN-The St. Paul Port Authority is looking at joining with Ryan Cos. in a joint project to redevelop a polluted eight-acre site in Energy Park. If the Port Authority goes ahead with the deal, it would be the first time the public agency has teamed up with a private company to co-develop an industrial site, according to Tom Collins, a spokesman for the agency.

“We’re looking for alternative revenue sources,” Collins says. “We have expertise in cleaning up property and getting it ready for development, and they have development expertise, so it’s a good marriage.”

In the past, the agency cleaned up contaminated sites and sold parcels to developers or build-to-suit users for a nominal fee–with these requirements:

* The companies must develop quality buildings that cost a minimum of $38 per sf.* Provide at least one job per 1,000 sf.

* Pay a minimum of $9 per hour plus benefits.

* Hire St. Paul residents as 70% of the employees.

The site is the last to be developed in Energy Park.

Plans call for the development of an $8-million, 114,000-sf, single-level, office/showroom facility.

Minneapolis-based Ryan and the port likely would create separate entities in order to develop the site, and would be equal partners in the project. The venture should be able to support about 400 jobs.

The site, which once housed a Koppers coke refinery, is bordered by Energy Lane on the north, the Burlington Northern railroad tracks on the south and Norris Circle on the east.Cleanup grants from the Metropolitan Council and Department of Trade and Economic Development would be available for the site, which is on the federal Superfund list. It’s unclear how much it will cost to clean up the site.

The arrangement will likely be considered at the Port Authority’s board of directors meeting in August.

“They have questions about how far we can go, given our mission,” Collins says. “If the board says fine, we’ll go ahead with it.”

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