Source: Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN), May 1, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com
A Minneapolis developer known for cleaning up industrial sites has plans to turn Fridley’s biggest and most polluted parcel into a sprawling business campus.
Paul Hyde of Hyde Developments has been in discussion with city officials for nearly two years to buy 122 acres of contaminated land south of Interstate 694 and redevelop it into a roughly $140 million industrial park.
With a purchase agreement signed and a review of environmental impacts from the project recently completed, the company plans tentatively to close on the site this summer, Hyde said.
Once built-out, the development along East River Road is expected to add about 3,000 jobs and about $2.5 million in annual property tax revenue for the city, Hyde said.
“If it comes to fruition, it would mean a significant improvement to an otherwise fairly blighted industrial site with hazmat on it,” Fridley Mayor Scott Lund said. “It would mean millions added to our tax base … permanent jobs. It’s a very good deal for Fridley.”
Formerly known as the FMC site, the parcel is home to the state’s largest industrial building. The nearly 2 million-square-foot structure was built in 1940 as a naval ordnance manufacturing facility for the Northern Pump Co., which later became FMC Corp., according to Scott Hickok, Fridley’s community development director.
Now owned by a company based in St. Louis, the building was leased to BAE Systems about 10 years ago for military contract work.
Though manufacturing at the site ceased about five years ago, several engineers and researchers for BAE still work out of the building, Hickok said.
The Environmental Protection Agency declared portions of the land Superfund sites in 1989 after determining past disposal of solvents, paint sludge and plating wastes had contaminated groundwater, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s 2006 list of state Superfund sites.
“Cleanup is definitely a big part of this project,” Hickok said. “But this developer is the best I know of in terms of cleaning up sites like this.”
Hyde’s history includes cleaning up Superfund sites for redevelopment in St. Louis Park, Brooklyn Center and another Fridley site in recent years, Hyde said, noting the latest Fridley project would be its biggest to date.
The plan is to phase in construction of 12 mixed-use buildings over the next five to seven years, Hickok said. The buildings would include offices, office warehouses and manufacturing.
The first phase could potentially kick off as soon as the fall.
The estimated cost to prepare the site for construction is about $35 million, Hyde said.
“This is an enormous development deal for Fridley,” Hickok said. “It puts new and modern buildings in a landscape where a very large, impressive but antiquated building once stood.”
It is still unknown what tenants might be interested in locating within the park but Hyde said its proximity to downtown Minneapolis, I-694 and Northstar Rail should make it an attractive option for several Minnesota companies.
“We know companies want to be close to where their customers are and their employees live, and this (site) has both,” Hyde said, adding that he is confident the project will come to fruition.
“There are always surprises, but our job is to try and figure them out ahead of time,” he said.