DNR seeks redevelopment ideas for old Upper Post at Fort Snelling | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

DNR seeks redevelopment ideas for old Upper Post at Fort Snelling

Posted: February 5, 2013 - 2:36pm

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Buildings that sat vacant for 40 years at a historic military fort in the Twin Cities could be getting new life.

The state Department of Natural Resources is seeking redevelopment proposals for a 32-acre portion of the Upper Post at Fort Snelling, completed in 1825. Buildings on the property include a hospital, morgue and barracks.

"This is one of the most historic sites in the state of Minnesota," said Chuck Liddy, of Miller Dunwiddie Architecture, a Minneapolis firm that studied the fort's redevelopment potential.

The DNR's request for redevelopment proposals is a sign of life for the Upper Post, which includes a golf course, athletic field and other historic structures. The vacant buildings sit on a bluff overlooking the Minnesota River valley.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 2011 announced a $10 million plan to turn five historic buildings into housing for homeless veterans. The Boy Scouts of America Northern Star council has opened an urban camp in another building on the fort's Upper Post.

Andrew Michaelson of CommonBond Communities, which is developing the veterans' property, said the site presents some challenges, including rules for restoring historical properties and water, sewer and electrical access.

"It's going to be a tremendous effort because they've sat for so long," Michaelson said. "But this could be the first step to something much larger."

The state will continue to own the properties and lease them to developers, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://bit.ly/XK3DHt ). Proposals are due April 1.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.