Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Why Bridges of St. Paul failed
The failure of St. Paul to green-light developer Jerry Trooien's Bridges of St. Paul project merited a story in today's New York Times. The article, written by Lisa Chamberlain, notes that cities nationwide have been quick to OK similar riverfront condo/shopping plans. Yet, St. Paul rejected the $1.5 billion plan to redevelop 33 acres of land opposite downtown on the Mississippi River.

Thomas Fisher, UM College of Design dean, believes Bridges of St. Paul was out of touch with urban planning ideals. "It doesn't connect to existing streets or the rest of the fabric of the city," he said.

Trooien of JLT Group doesn't think that's the reason the city nixed his plans. Instead, he blames "squishy liberals" who "think small-scale is morally superior." Mayor Chris Coleman dodged a question on the Bridges of St. Paul in a recent interview with the Pioneer Press.

In the end, Tim Murdane of Opus says the city may have done Trooien a favor. "Here was a situation where the vision of the city and the vision that Jerry had were different and you add in other market conditions and it was going to fail."

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