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ST. PAUL-Late last week Mayor Chris Coleman outlined his development vision for St. Paul looking ahead six years. “The vision for Saint Paul in 2015 will elevate our city to compete in an increasingly global economy,” Mayor Coleman says. “We can’t let today’s economic turmoil stop us from planning what Saint Paul will be in the future.”

The plan, dubbed St. Paul 2015, calls for $3 billion of planned investment, an aggressive plan in the midst of a global economic crisis and considering the city and neighboring areas saw just under $3 billion of investments over the last 11 years.

“The investments we have made over the past several years have positioned us to be a powerful economic force that drives change in our region,” Mayor Coleman says. “Our businesses, residents and workers have high expectations for what Saint Paul will be. Together, we will continue to build our vision of the Most Livable City in America.” The designation as one of the most livable cities in America was give to St. Paul by the Partners for Livable Communities.

“St. Paul is a vital city in the economic fabric of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The projects identified in Mayor Coleman’s 2015 plan would go a long ways in reestablishing St. Paul as a key component of our region’s economy and would position it to be a contributor in driving economic growth in the region for decades to come,” Chris Rohrer, SVP at Jones Lang LaSalle, tells GlobeSt.com.

Central to the vision is the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit, which will run along University Avenue with 15 stations stops in St. Paul. Construction on this $1 billion project is slated to begin in 2010, with the first trains in operation by 2014. It is estimated that weekday ridership will be at 42,000 by 2030. As the light rail project comes to fruition the hope is for residential and retail properties to crop up along the way.

A mixed-use redevelopment at 4th and Cedar, centered around the new light rail line and bus lines, is the Mayor’s new big initiative. The pan is to take this under utilized block and turn it into an extension of the central business district, with retail, multi-housing and office properties.

The Minnesota Event District at Seven Corners will gain another attraction in the form of a mixed-use development at Cleveland Circle. The project will include a retail, restaurants, a museum and a community ice rink. It will be connected to the Xcel Energy Center. Xcel a sports arena completed in 2009 is home to the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and the National Lacross League’s Minnesota Swarm. Also in the area are the Saint Paul RoverCentre and the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditoruim.

The project’s first phase is expected to cost $10 million, with construction beginning this year on the 2.4-acre site.

A 2.27-acre site downtown, named Penfield, will be turned into a full-service residential corridor. Alatus Partners LLC will construct 208 apartment units, a 167-key Hyatt Select Service Hotel, as well as a 30,000-square-foot Lunds Grocery Store, with 7,000 square feet for additional retailers. Total development cost is estimated at $88 million.

The Lafayette Bridge, the main entrance into the city, will be completely rebuilt. The current aging structure does not have room for bikes and pedestrians, which the new bridge will account for. Two plans are being looked at for the new bridge, but either way construction will begin in 2011, to be complete before 2014.

A class A office tower, convention hotel and housing development will be constructed on the former site of the Ramsey County adult detention center, along the banks of the Mississippi River. While plans have not been finalized for this portion of the project, it’s estimated this will be at least a $200 million investment.

Plans are also in place to create the National Great River Park along the Mississippi. The planned site is home to the old Xcel High Bridge Plant, a now defunct coal-burning power plant. The Mayor hopes redevelopment of the property will invigorate the West Seventh and Upper Landing neighborhoods. By the middle of 2010 development should conclude for the park.

Lastly, St. Paul 2015 calls for the development of the West Side Flats, a 45-acre site. The mixed-use development, which will include housing, retail, entertainment and recreation facilities, is expected to revitalize this neglected portion of the riverfront. The total project will cost $64 million. Phase 1, a mixed-use property on 3.6 acres along the river being developed by LanderSherman, will soon complete construction.

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