Rice Creek Commons development plans pass major milestone

20 December 2016

Infrastructure construction to begin in 2017

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners today approved changes to the master plan for the Rice Creek Commons development in Arden Hills, located at the site of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP). The board’s vote is a key milestone that keeps the 427-acre site on track to grow into a major economic engine for the entire Twin Cities metropolitan region. The Arden Hills City Council approved the amended master plan on December 12.

Town Center rendering

Photo credit: ESG Architects

“When fully developed, Rice Creek Commons will be abuzz with families, businesses, jobs, and fun outdoor activities – all while generating new property tax revenue,” said Ramsey County Board Chair Victoria Reinhardt. “I am extremely proud of everyone who has played a role in a project of such high magnitude. Today is a day for celebration for our county and our region.”

Rice Creek Commons, which encompasses an area large enough to fit all downtown Saint Paul with room to spare, will include a cohesive mix of residential and commercial neighborhoods surrounding a vibrant, pedestrian-focused town center. Over the last several months, the Alatus LLC master developer team, which includes Inland Development Partners and Tradition Development Corporation, identified amendments to the site’s master plan. These amendments further reach the common goals of creating jobs, establishing a walkable live-work-play community, and developing an attractive, amenity-rich, mixed-use environment that appeals to current and new residents, businesses, and the greater community. Key land use plan adjustments include:

  • Revising the physical configuration of and allowable uses within zoning districts.
  • Increasing the number of residential units from 1,431 to 1,460 to further activate the site and to support a diverse mix of residential, retail and office space.
  • Increasing the maximum commercial building height from 65 feet to 210 feet, or 15 stories, to provide flexibility to respond to market demands and maximize the site’s potential for job creation.
  • Increasing the maximum height for selected buildings in the Town Center to 10 stories to create visually distinct, high-quality, and amenity-rich communities.
  • Limiting the amount of retail in the office-mixed use district to ensure variety in product and land use across the site.
  • Creating a commercial district within Town Center in which 50% of ground floor will be activated through retail and entertainment uses to further activate the public streetscape.
  • Adjusting minimum size requirements for multi-family units to allow the flexibility to react to changing market demands and maximize the appeal to a broad audience.

Rice Creek Commons is a thoughtfully designed community that will include a variety of housing types and neighborhoods, which weave seamlessly into a network of trails, green corridors, and pedestrian-friendly streets. A 50-acre natural resources corridor winds through the interior of the site, providing a natural amenity, and 24 acres of active park space are planned within the site. Combined, these features will create a visually distinct and dynamic place that is rich in texture and embraces the natural environment to appeal to people of all ages and walks of life.

“This is an incredibly important milestone for a project that will help Arden Hills shape its future in a way that moves our entire community and the region forward,” said Arden Hills Mayor David Grant.  “We are now able to move forward together with a community vision to bring this important yet complex site back to life. There is much more work to be done, but we are extremely thankful for the time, resources, and energy that has been invested to make today possible.”

With approval of a final master plan granted by both Ramsey County and the City of Arden Hills, an amendment to Arden Hills’ comprehensive plan will be forwarded to the Metropolitan Council for review and ratification. Construction of a vibrant mixed-use residential, retail and business district is expected to begin in 2017. The first phase will focus on construction of the site’s infrastructure, including roads, sewers, and water lines.

“We thank Ramsey County Board of Commissioners and the Arden Hills City Council, City staff and Arden Hills residents for their vision and commitment to this project,” said Bob Lux of Alatus LLC. “We look forward to their ongoing support as the site develops into a thriving, sustainable community in which everyone can take pride.”