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Controversial Green Neighborhood to Rise on Former Auto Plant Site

Plans for a sizable eco-friendly development on the site of St. Paul's Twin Cities Assembly Plant have drawn support from many, including the city's young mayor. But density opponents remain unconvinced.
July 11, 2018, 10am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Michael Hicks

Jay Walljasper gives us an update on redevelopment plans for the site of Ford's former Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. "Over the next 20 years, these 122 acres overlooking the Mississippi River are slated to grow into a dense mixed-use neighborhood designed to be a showpiece of energy efficiency, smart design, ecological stormwater management, and enlightened economic development."

Urbanists should find a lot to like in the the plan, which calls for "a transit-accessible community for up to 7,200 residents, an eco-village within the city that boasts a grid of bike- and pedestrian-friendly streets, abundant green space, and jobs for 1,500 workers [...] Twenty percent of the development's housing will be priced for lower-income residents."

It will also pursue net-zero status, an ambitious goal given Minnesota's harsh winters. The site's former use notwithstanding, it will also be "optimized for car-free and car-lite lifestyles," with ample bike lanes and a woonerf-style roadway.

However, opposition to the project continues as neighborhood groups take issue with the development's density. Walljasper notes that the debate follows generational lines, with younger voices like that of St. Paul's 39-year-old mayor Melvin Carter supporting the project. 

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Published on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 in CityLab
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