Rice Creek Commons Development Framework Nears Completion

14 March 2018

Alatus LLC announced today that they are close to finalizing the framework with Ramsey County for the development at Rice Creek Commons, the site of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in Arden Hills. Ramsey County and Arden Hills are actively reviewing the development proposal. When fully realized, the mixed-use development will offer 1,460 housing units, support at least 4,000 living-wage jobs, and generate approximately $8.6 million in property taxes annually.

Town Center rendering

“Redevelopment of Rice Creek Commons is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revitalize hundreds of acres of long-dormant land, create a vibrant community in Arden Hills, and bring significant benefits to our entire region,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman, who represents the area surrounding Rice Creek Commons. “We are thrilled to be moving full steam ahead.”

The largest Superfund site in Minnesota, Rice Creek Commons was cleaned to residential standards, clearing the way for a cohesive mix of residential and commercial neighborhoods surrounding an energetic, pedestrian-focused town center. The forward-looking, mixed-use development will include:

  • A walkable town center with a lively main street and active green spaces.
  • A wide range of housing for people in all stages of life, including apartments, condos, senior housing, and single-family housing with affordable housing options.
  • Commercial space, including retail, office, hotel, entertainment, and a corporate campus.
  • Parks, trails, and other green spaces that connect to a regional system of trails and the nearby Rice Creek Wildlife Corridor.

The land will be developed in five phases beginning in 2018. Preparing the site for construction – including mass grading, utility installation and building out primary roadways on the site – will be put out for bid in late 2018. The first phase of housing and early commercial construction is anticipated in 2020, including single family housing, apartments, senior housing, a hotel, an entertainment block in the town center, and a commercial block (see rendering and map). The development’s final phase is expected to be completed by 2036.

“Rice Creek Commons sets a new aspirational standard of suburban-urban design for future generations. Only minutes from both downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul, we are uniting the best elements of a lifestyle center with destination entertainment, urban energy and the serenity of nature. The benefits this will bring to the surrounding region are hard to overstate,” said Bob Lux, president of Alatus LLC. “Furthermore, given the current economic climate and housing market, the timing for Rice Creek Commons is ideal. We have incredible interest in the site from potential end-user groups and are excited to put shovels in the ground.”

To prepare the site for development, $73 million will be invested in roadways, site infrastructure, utilities, and green space. This investment will be fully recouped through land sale revenue and other fees or charges.

As the site’s master developer, Alatus will adhere to performance standards, including a land acquisition schedule, the development of the town center, as well as affordable housing, energy resiliency, and living wage job creation goals.

“The proposed development at Rice Creek Commons will be a huge asset for our community and the entire region,” said Commissioner Rafael Ortega, who serves on the Joint Development Authority overseeing the project. “We are thrilled to be turning our focus to this transformative development.”

The proposed development framework will be presented to the Joint Development Authority at its April meeting. The body will provide further direction on applicable legal documents including a Master Development Agreement and related Purchase Agreements. The proposed development is contingent on final approval from the Joint Development Authority, Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, and Arden Hills City Council.

About Rice Creek Commons

Rice Creek Commons is a prime redevelopment opportunity located in Arden Hills, Minnesota. The largest Superfund site in the state, Rice Creek Commons has been cleaned to residential standards and is poised to become a vibrant residential, commercial and retail hub in the Twin Cities area. The 427-acre site – formerly the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant – was purchased in 2013 by Ramsey County and revitalized from its prior industrial use. When completed, the project will create thousands of jobs and generate millions of dollars annually in county and state property taxes. More information is available at RiceCreekCommons.com.