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Highland Bridge: A New Name And Details Emerge On The Future Of The Ford Site

Ryan Companies’ redevelopment of the former Ford Motor Company assembly plant site in St Paul is moving forward and with a new name.

Highland Bridge is what the 122-acre project will be known as going forward. The name was derived out of the connection that the new sprawling neighborhood will have with the adjacent Highland Park neighborhood.

New details about the massive project were released today at a virtual groundbreaking which included the announcement that an out-of-state group will develop over 300 row-homes within Highland Bridge.

What else will the project include? Don’t worry, we’ve broken out the details on Highland Bridge below.


In total, 3,800 residential units are planned to be constructed by multiple developers with 20 percent of those units being affordable housing.

Atlanta-based Pulte Group will develop 320 row-homes within a 15-block row-house district. The units will be priced above $300,000 and will offer four different layouts that range in size from 1,900 to over 3,000 square feet. The units will each be between three to four stories in height and will include outdoor space either on the ground or rooftop.

Weidner Apartment Homes will construct market-rate apartments on 16-acres of land while 760 units of affordable housing will be constructed by Commonbond Communities and Project for Pride in Living, Inc. A partnership between Ryan Companies and Habitat for Humanity will also see the construction of six affordable row-homes.

Near the heart of Highland Bridge, Presbyterian Homes & Services will develop an undisclosed number of housing options for seniors. While the exact number of senior living units within the project has yet to be announced it is known that independent, assisted living and memory care units will all be available.

Condos and single-family homes will be constructed along Mississippi River Boulevard. The homes will be available for purchase and will line the outer edges of the site in order to establish a connection with the existing surrounding neighborhood of largely single-family homes.


Within Highland Bridge there will be 150,000 square feet of retail space that is anticipated to include a grocery store, restaurants, retailers, fitness centers and lifestyle/destination entertainment. CBRE will handle the leasing of commercial space within the project.

A medical office building is also planned along Ford Parkway while another building with 265,000 square feet of office space will be constructed towards the southern end of the site.


Over 55 acres of public and open space will be created within Highland Bridge including four new City Parks.

Throughout the project landscaping will feature non-invasive and mostly native species of plants that offer changes from season to season. More than 1,000 new trees will be planted while the landscaping on site is anticipated to use 50 percent less water than a traditionally irrigated site.

10 miles of pedestrian and bike paths that will lead to an adjacent trail system and the surrounding neighborhoods are also planned to be constructed.


Larger commercial and multifamily residential buildings within Highland Bridge will be solar-ready and LEED or B3 certified. In addition, the buildings will comply with the SB 2030 Energy Standard and the Saint Paul Sustainable Building Policy.

Row homes within the project will be Energy Star and LEED certified and residents will have access to an all-electric option if desired.

One unique green aspect will be that Highland Bridge will be powered by 100% renewable and carbon free energy sources thanks to Xcel Energy. Power will be generated by an existing hydro-electric facility adjacent to the site along with what will become the Twin Cities’ largest urban solar array. The solar array will be constructed on land adjacent to Highland Bridge that is still owned by the Ford Motor Company. The entire Highland Bridge development is only anticipated to consume five of the 20 megawatts of renewable energy that the two facilities will produce. That means that there will be around 15 megawatts of excess energy a year that can be used by other Xcel Energy customers.

Most buildings within Highland Bridge will use an estimated 30 percent less indoor water and 50 percent less outdoor water compared to similar building designs. Stormwater will also be collected and treated on site to be used within the project’s central water feature.

The treatment of the water on site will remove 94 percent of total suspended solids and 75 percent of phosphorus which will greatly improve the overall water quality. That’s important as the water will eventually flow into the Hidden Falls Regional Park and the Mississippi River. The new stormwater system within Highland Bridge will also reduce the discharge from the site that goes into Hidden Falls by nearly 98 percent.

As a part of the massive redevelopment of the Ford Site, Hidden Falls Creek will once again see the light of day. The creek was buried and paved over during the construction of the original Ford Plant.

When it comes to transportation on site, a number of green transit options will be available to workers, residents and guests that visit Highland Bridge. A minimum of 100 electric vehicle charging sites will be spread throughout the development while every building’s entrance will also be within a quarter mile of public transportation. Developers are also hoping to include a car sharing hub, scooters and other modes of transit within the project.


The first mixed-use building at Highland Bridge began construction earlier this year and is anticipated to begin rising vertically in the next few months. It’ll include over 200 apartments and a grocery store once complete in 2021. We’ll have more details posted about this project later this week.

The first phase of roadways is anticipated to be complete in early fall 2021. Parks and Public open spaces along with phase one infrastructure are anticipated to be complete in late fall 2021/early 2022.

Construction on the row-homes will begin later this year with the first units being available for move in in late 2021/early 2022. Highland Bridge could take a total of 15 years to be fully developed.

More information on Highland Bridge can be found by visiting the project’s website here.

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