Frequently asked questions

How much was the Rice Creek Commons site, and who paid for it?

In 2013 Ramsey County purchased 427 acres of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant property in Arden Hills from the U.S. Government. The total cost was $28 million. The County’s fixed-price contract with Bolander & Sons is $22,645,000. The cost of the cleanup of the site is included in this sale price. After remediation costs, the county will pay approximately $4.8 million for the site.

The site purchase was financed with $21.4 million in bonding, $2 million in contingency funds, and a $6 million transfer from Ramsey County’s solid waste fund.

The county will recover these costs from land sale proceeds.

What happens if environmental cleanup costs are more than you estimated?

The fixed-price contract to clean up the site to residential standards is $22.6 million. The county would not be liable for any funds necessary to clean up the site beyond that cost. The county did not assume liability for the present condition of the land. The liability for undisclosed contamination still rests with the Army.

Why did Ramsey County buy this land?

The Rice Creek Commons project is a historic opportunity to revitalize an abandoned and polluted area and return it to the economic engine it once was. By purchasing this site, the county will not only bring an abandoned piece of land back onto the tax rolls, but Rice Creek Commons will serve as a catalyst for economic development and spur job creation across the region. These 427 acres will serve as home and workplace to approximately 4,000 residents and 4,000 well-paying jobs.

When will environmental cleanup be completed?

Work to clean and clear the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) in Arden Hills – formerly the largest contaminated site in Minnesota – was completed in November 2015. The 427-acre site was cleaned to residential standards, and 93% of the materials removed from the site were recycled or reused in new roadways on the site and in other parts of the Twin Cities.

The county’s environmental cleanup work was verified by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) through its Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup (VIC) program and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2016. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency have removed the site’s soil and surface water from the state and federal Superfund lists.

When will development at Rice Creek Commons begin?

The Joint Development Authority selected Alatus, LLC as the master developer to help guide the overall residential and commercial development of the Rice Creek Commons site. Ramsey County filed a lawsuit in May 2019 against the City of Arden Hills seeking to terminate the current Joint Powers Agreement between the city and county. Litigation is ongoing. As the land owner, Ramsey County is committed to moving forward with this transformative development to include a mix of housing, retail and commercial property.

Will there be affordable housing on the Rice Creek Commons site?

Ramsey County envisions a broad range of single-family, multi-family, and rental housing price points, and the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners is in the process of defining the criteria for affordability. The county’s focus is to ensure that residents are able to afford housing in the area where they work.

There are many types of affordable housing programs. For example, Ramsey County has access to funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which support the creation and maintenance of workforce housing. HUD funds must be used to benefit low- and moderate-income households (e.g., a family of four with a maximum income of $69,280). Rather than own and operate housing, the county works with developers to create affordable multi-family developments or add some income-restricted units to an otherwise market-rate project. Additionally, the county offers a down payment assistance program for income-eligible, first-time homebuyers.

How are the roads around the site changing?

Rice Creek Commons will be connected to the external road network in three locations: County Road I, County Road H, and Highway 96. A roundabout at County Road H will organize the on/off ramps, the main boulevard, and access road to a portion of the site. Over the last several years, Ramsey County has improved these roads with an investment of $34 million.

Additionally, since 2013 nearly $200 million has been invested or is planned to be invested in infrastructure improvements near Rice Creek Commons.

What happened to building a Vikings stadium?

In 2012 the Minnesota State Legislature voted to fund a new Vikings stadium built on and around the former Metrodome site. Ramsey County has moved forward with a goal to redevelop the Rice Creek Commons site into a vibrant, year-round, mixed-use community that serves as a catalyst for the rest of the region.