The city of Saint Paul has made a big step in the development of the Ford Plant site in Highland Park: the announcement of a single draft plan in the development of the new riverfront community.
Ten years of planning, a dozen studies, and community meetings have gone into the development of the plan. A master developer may be selected by 2018.
Some highlights from the plan:
- “It will have a neighborhood feel,” said city planner Merritt Clapp-Smith
- There will be six districts, and all but one “gateway district” in the northwest corner will feature a mixture of housing and business development. “Heights would ‘step up’ from the Mississippi River on the west, and get taller moving east,” writes the Pioneer Press (St. Paul just took a big step in the future look of redeveloped Ford plant, November 14).
- There will be a district “dominated by condos in two-story, mansion-style buildings; another primarily composed of townhomes, condos and apartments; and another featuring multifamily housing ranging in height from four to 10 stories wrapped around retail.”
- Many questions have arisen around traffic and parking concerns. “The goal is 4,000 new housing units, with a maximum of 1.5 parking spaces per unit. Shared parking ramps, small parking lots for 20 vehicles or fewer, and limited on-street parking are key features.”
- The area promises to be green-friendly, including bike paths, car sharing, electric vehicle ports, and LED lighting designed to not block out the night sky.
- A central stormwater feature will run north to south, with “‘a series of interesting and attractive spaces across the site.’ What begins to the north as a scenic stream could culminate in a pond at the south end that would be used for winter skating, and a connection to Hidden Falls Regional Park.”
- Plans call for a new traffic connection between Cretin Ave and Montreal Ave to reduce pressure on Ford Parkway.
- The next Ford site meeting is scheduled for November 21 at 7 p.m. at Lumen Christi Catholic Church. It will focus on transportation and traffic.
Copyright: vule / 123RF Stock Photo
Highland Park Real Estate Snapshot
Closed Sales October 2016: 388 (up 14.8%)
Average Sale Price October 2016: $321,937 (up 6.4%)
Median Days on Market October 2016: 27 (down 28.9%)
Average Percent of Original Sales Price October 2016: 97.9% (up 1.6%)
For a Market Snapshot of any area or a Market Analysis of your home, call 651-434-7887 or email RLGrossman@cbburnet.com
Grossman Group Real Estate
Coldwell Banker Burnet – Highland Park
Lic in MN
The real estate spring market has kicked off with record short supply, according to a number of media outlets. “Presidents Day weekend is traditionally seen by real estate agents and homebuilders as the start of the spring housing market — the busiest time of year for home sales. The number of listings always rises, and it will this year as well, but inventory is already so low to begin with that even the new listings will not be nearly enough,” reports CNBC.
The national trend is true locally as well. On Tuesday, a report from the Saint Thomas Real Estate Program has demonstrated that the availability of Twin Cities housing has hit a 10 year low. Additionally, the metro median home price was $215, 000 at year end in 2015, 10.4 percent higher than January 2014.
Says Judy Shields, President of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors: “I think there is extra buying pressure right now. There’s a lot of people out there looking and not a lot available, so it just magnifies the problem.”
While promising news for sellers, this is not to discourage buyers. Preparation is the key to winning a dream home. Says Herb Tousley, Director of the University of St. Thomas Real Estate Program, “if you are looking for a home, be ready,” Tousley said. “Get your financing pre-approved. If you find something you like a lot in a good neighborhood be ready to act on it right away.”
Shields and Tousley cite, as reasons for high demand and low supply:
- the concern of increased interest rates,
- people looking to buy rather than rent, and
- businesses recruiting out of state talent.
Mortgage Rates Approach Record Low
The average rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage is in freefall, reports CNBC, despite the recent minor hike in interest rates. They explain: “Mortgage rates are falling because investors are flooding the U.S. bond market. Mortgage rates follow the yield on bonds that loosely follow the 10-year Treasury. Investors are buying bonds as a safety play in a highly volatile and largely negative stock market. Signs of weakness in the U.S. economy, in addition to trouble in overseas markets, pushed the yield on the 10-year Treasury to its lowest level since 2012, and mortgage rates followed south.”
“…investors are looking for safe havens as global stock markets and oil prices nosedive,” writes Lorraine Woellert, contributor to Forbes. “Money is pouring into Treasury bonds and other safe investments, which helps drive down mortgage rates.”
Companies Flocking to the Heart of the Twin Cities
Companies, not just residents, are flocking to the urban hearts of the Twin Cities, reports the Minnesota Real Estate Journal. Both residents and tenants are drawn to live-work-play areas, like the one expected to come to the Ford Plant site in Highland Park, Saint Paul. “Tenants are focused today on downtown CBDs or suburban markets that have a lot of amenities. They are going after these live-work-play environments. There is a lot of that in downtown [Minneapolis/St. Paul], so companies are migrating toward that market. They want to attract the best employees, and to do that they need a presence in the downtown.”
The Grossman Group is proud to announce that the Star Tribune reached out to us this week to spotlight our listing AT 1731 Eleanor Avenue in their Sunday edition for print February 21, 2016! This home is beautiful and highlights the type of charm that Highland Park homes can offer. We will be holding an open house there today, Sunday February 21 from noon-2pm. Stop on by and check out this wonderful home.
The cost of residential rents has climbed 3.5% since June of last year, reports the Star Tribune (“From rents to haircuts, an unfamiliar trend is emerging for US consumers: price increases,” August 1). It is the fifth straight month with an annual gain of that size, and at the fastest yearly pace in six years. The rising cost of rent is considered the biggest driver of inflation, and apartment vacancy rates being at the lowest levels in 25 years is the biggest driver of rising rent costs.
Business and Development News
The City of Saint Paul has solicited proposals from consultants to assist with the development of the Ford Motor Co. site in Highland Park. According to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, two firms have stepped up to assist: Abramson and Associates, and RTKL Associates Inc. “St. Paul hopes to create a ‘world-class connected, livable, and green’ project on the site, according to the city’s request. It also wants a ‘net zero’ energy site with green space and green connections; a mixture of uses including a robust jobs component; and a design that encourages biking, walking, and transit to reduce vehicle traffic” (Two companies respond to assist St. Paul with Ford site, August 3). Ford will select the master developer, expected this fall.
Real Estate Week in Review
Average long term US mortgage rates are back down after hitting their highest levels this year (Average US rate on 30-year mortgage eases to 4 percent; 15-year rate at 3.23 percent, Star Tribune Your Money, June 18). On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve appeared ready to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, due in part to Tuesday’s government report that home construction rates remain significantly higher than a year ago. Many hold “the belief that the economy no longer needs the stimulus of near-zero rates.” Nonetheless, the housing market has been “bolstered [by] the economic improvement and stronger employment picture,” and remains strong for both buyers and sellers.
An analysis of the Twin Cities home prices provided by MAAR reports that home prices are within 6.3% of their record high seen in June 2006 (Twin Cities Home Price Analysis, Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS, June 18). Prices have a long term trend of increasing 5% yearly (nominal, not adjusted for inflation). “This market is not fueled by irrational, unjustified speculation and exuberance—a leading cause of bubble-itus,” MAAR reports, “rather, it is fueled by low interest rates, rising rents, job growth, a diverse and robust local economy and slowly rising incomes.”
In area developments, the Timberwolves and Minneapolis have signed a redevelopment agreement for the $129 million renovation of the Target Center (Timberwolves, Minneapolis sign Target Center redevelopment pact, Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal, June 19). Detailed design work will begin, with the bulk of the project expected to start in 2016 and wrap in 2017, said the Timberwolves and the Minnesota Lynx in a statement on Thursday. The Target Center is said to be the 6th busiest building in the nation and the 17th busiest in the world, hosting 200 events and a million visitors annually.