The potential of jobs, jobs, jobs in Arden Hills

Development at the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site in Arden Hills is poised for progress in 2017 as the vision to transform idle, polluted land into a vibrant new place to live and work continues to take shape.

Among recent landmarks for the site — now known as Rice Creek Commons — are development-plan approvals by the Ramsey County Board and Arden Hills City Council.

The 400-plus-acre project — on what was the largest contaminated site in the state — was considered too big and too risky for the private market. We weren’t alone on these pages in raising questions about the county adding economic development to its already long list of traditional responsibilities when the deal closed for its purchase of the site in 2013.

Time and economic cycles will confirm if commissioners made the right choice.

But, as development plays out over the decade to come, the potential upside is considerable. “When all is said and done, this property will generate between $10 million and $15 million in property taxes a year,” County Commissioner Blake Huffman, who represents the area, told us.

He’s further confident the site will be the home to 3,000 to 4,000 “real jobs, permanent jobs.”

Developer Tom Shaver put the jobs numbers even higher in a conversation last week. A “corporate campus” to take shape on 45 acres of the development, offering between 700,000 and 1.4 million square feet of space, would involve a projected 3,500 to 6,500 jobs “just in that one zone alone.” Shaver is with Inland Development Partners, which focuses on office, corporate and retail development.

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