ST. PAUL, Minn. - Stand on the corner of Ford Parkway and Cretin Avenue and you'll see a tale of two time periods.
On the south side of the street you can see the crews gutting the old Ford plant, a place where hundreds proudly made some of the finest trucks in America.
On the north, you'll see Erik the Bikeman's "NOW OPEN" sign.
"It was the old UAW (United Auto Workers) union hall," bike store manager Rob Stepaniak explained. "This is a great neighborhood, for one. There are families all over the place," he added.
The second part of the equation prompting the opening of the new store has to do with what will happen at the old Ford plant in a few years. "That's going to be development. It's going to be open space and it's going to be green space..." Stepaniak noted.
Count Matt Kramer among the people excited by the possibilities.
The President and CEO of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce has been watching the site closely, explaining crews were currently in the midst of demolishing the buildings before cleaning up the contamination in the area.
"As the demolition occurs a lot of soil borings are going to happen and then we'll understand what's underneath and that's going to be the gating factor for how quickly the site gets developed," he said.
As for the development, which could include residential, manufacturing, or retail, that will be something the city, the neighborhood, the chamber and the developer will be looking at.
One hundred and seventy prime acres centered between two huge cities, five minutes from the airport and a stone's throw away from the river doesn't come around too often.
"Maybe mid-summer of 2015, we'll start to see some active interest from people (developers). Getting that right mix is so important," he concluded.
Kramer says demolition and clean-up is taking a little longer than average at this site because crews only work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. That schedule has been established to ease the noise and traffic burden in the Highland Park Neighborhood.
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