By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A final plan was announced today for a billion-dollar development of the old Ford plant in St. Paul.

The plant was shut down in 2011 after nearly 90 years of production.

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The announcement of the final deal caps more than 11 years of planning that has been going on since Ford confirmed they would in fact be shutting the plant down.

During nearly 90 years of production, the plant produced 7 million vehicles and at its height employed 1,800 workers.

The new plan is nothing less than the creation of a whole new neighborhood for St. Paul.

It includes 3,800 housing units, 265,000 square feet of office space, 150,000 feet of retail space and a $92 million investment in new green space and parks. 20% of the 38-hundred housing units will be set aside for affordable housing.

“Fully built, the site will generate $1 billion in added property tax value to the city’s current $23 billion tax base,” said St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.

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The taxpayer share of the project costs has decreased.

St. Paul will provide $53 million in tax increment financing for the project – well worth the benefit according to Mayor Carter.

“As the site is redeveloped it will create 14,500 construction jobs, and once complete over 1,000 permanent workers will hold jobs on the site,” said Carter.

While the completion of the project will take 20 years, Ryan Companies, the developer, say the first resident could move in in three – the beginning of a transformation on St. Paul’s west side.

“This is a big deal for St. Paul, but it’s a big deal for the State of Minnesota,” said Governor Tim Walz. “This plan will have to be approved by the St. Paul City Council by the end of the year.”

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The developers will also have to go back to the council during various phases of the 20 year build out.

Esme Murphy