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Closed factory cannot be reused for parking, mayor says

Residents who live in the downtown areas of Michigan know that space is limited. And as readers of our blog have seen from previous posts, many developers have taken it upon themselves to reuse properties in areas with limited space and repurpose them to the needs of that particular area.

It's a real estate transaction we've seen time and time again, but what some people in Michigan may not realize is that a lot goes into these deals that often times include multiple discussions between developers and city officials. Such was the case for the city of St. Paul in Minnesota which, after a long talk regarding the redevelopment of an existing site, recently turned down an idea to add additional parking in the downtown area.

The original idea was to reuse part of a vacant Gillette/Diamond Products factory as parking below the future location for a new ballpark in the city. It was parking city officials knew was necessary to accommodate all of the fans to the ballpark. Residents in the area, who had long complained about the lack of parking in the area, also backed it as a good idea. But after having multiple discussions with engineers and developers, it quickly became apparent that the construction couldn't continue without millions of dollars in additional funds.

As engineers pointed out, because of the limited space, it would have been nearly impossible to maintain any part of the factory's structure meaning the city would have to pay out additional money for demolition. In total, the project would have cost the city an additional $7.2 million to $12 million in the end.

Though city officials have not ruled out reusing the factory space as an option, they say they have reached out to downtown parking lot owners in an attempt to secure additional parking spaces in the event the project doesn't go through.

Source: The Star Tribune, "Coleman: Reusing factory for Lowertown ballpark parking won't work," Kevin Duchschere, April 1, 2013

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