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CHS Field deserves a rave review. While some critics are disappointed that architect Julie Snow didn’t design a red brick, Camden-Yards-like ballpark, no one should be disappointed that the modern, open design doesn’t overwhelm Lowertown but instead provides engaging views of the reborn neighborhood, the St. Paul Farmers Market and the city skyline. As Snow explained to the Star Tribune, she wanted to make the city — not the ballpark — the star attraction. She succeeded.

With easy access to light rail, bus lines and bike paths, the 7,000-seat park should become a regional attraction for those seeking an affordable complement to the terrific major league stadium and increasingly interesting young team on the other end of the Green Line in Minneapolis. From the locker rooms and training facilities to the restrooms, event room, improved seating and small carbon footprint, CHS Field is certainly a big step up from Midway Stadium, the Saints’ rundown former home. The mostly publicly financed, city-owned ballpark will be operated by the Saints as the main tenant, but it would behoove the city to collaborate with the team in promoting CHS Field. That effort should begin with adequate street signage directing city visitors to the park, and it should expand to include a consistent marketing push from the city, the Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce.

reborn neighborhood, the St. Paul Farmers Market and the city skyline. As Snow explained to the Star Tribune, she wanted to make the city — not the ballpark — the star attraction. She succeeded.

With easy access to light rail, bus lines and bike paths, the 7,000-seat park should become a regional attraction for those seeking an affordable complement to the terrific major league stadium and increasingly interesting young team on the other end of the Green Line in Minneapolis. From the locker rooms and training facilities to the restrooms, event room, improved seating and small carbon footprint, CHS Field is certainly a big step up from Midway Stadium, the Saints’ rundown former home. The mostly publicly financed, city-owned ballpark will be operated by the Saints as the main tenant, but it would behoove the city to collaborate with the team in promoting CHS Field. That effort should begin with adequate street signage directing city visitors to the park, and it should expand to include a consistent marketing push from the city, the Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce.

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Category: In the News

By: Karlee Weinmann

Exactly two weeks before a sold-out crowd is set to descend on Lowertown for the St. Paul Saints’ first game at their new ballpark, officials on Thursday forecast a huge boon for businesses in the surrounding area.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, looking out on the new facility, said it is a showpiece example of St. Paul’s economic vitality. The $63 million minor-league ballpark, slated to open May 21, is one of several large-scale projects aimed at beefing up the city’s offerings and reinforcing its place as a destination for residents, visitors and workers.

“I can’t get a smile off my face whenever I come into this facility and think about what it means already to the city of St. Paul,” Coleman said at an on-site lunch celebrating the ballpark organized by the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. More than 200 people attended.

The 7,000-seat facility, dubbed CHS Field, is the latest example of St. Paul molding itself into a destination city with broader offerings. It’s nestled at the edge of downtown in Lowertown, a development hotbed where a slew of bars and restaurants, along with expansive new housing, have sprouted near the Saints facility.

Starting when fans pack in for the Saints’ opening day and continuing throughout the season, city officials predict they will become a new economic driver for businesses in the area.

“This may be where the Saints play, but it’s an investment in St. Paul,” St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce President Matt Kramer said at the event. Kramer told Finance & Commerce last month that the Saints stadium was a huge selling point for the city, especially as it courts visitors and businesses.

Lowertown’s rise mirrors the overall increase in economic development around St. Paul in recent years. The ballpark site at Fifth and Broadway streets, for example, used to be a polluted swath that was more eyesore than economic engine.

In addition, the city has pushed for better transportation infrastructure and broader offerings, like CHS Field, to stoke new growth around town.

Several big-ticket real estate projects plus the Green Line, the biggest infrastructure project in state history, have buoyed residential and commercial prospects. The stadium is blocks from the Union Depot stop on the light rail transit line, which links the downtown areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The ballpark itself is designed to be accessible to most with 90 percent of tickets priced between $5 and $18 a pop, said Mike Veeck, the team’s president. Those are the same rates or lower than at the Saints’ previous home, Midway Stadium, in an industrial area on Energy Park Drive, he said.

In line with St. Paul’s transit expansion, about 30 bus lines pass by CHS Field.

The team is also negotiating a shared-use agreement to construct a 271-spot tailgate lot east of a Green Line maintenance facility, owned by the Metropolitan Council and adjacent to the ballpark. The Saints would pay to build the lot, answering demand for space to tailgate, a popular Midway Stadium activity.

“We will attempt to be all things to all people,” Veeck said at Thursday’s lunch.

Coleman said the stadium, the Ordway Theater’s $42 million facelift and a planned $40 million Catholic Charities facility are symbols of a next-generation St. Paul. A redoubled focus on culture, entertainment and community serves as a springboard for expansion, he said.

City officials on both sides of the Mississippi for years have touted those areas of focus as important ones to lure and retain Twin Cities residents and workers, particularly millennials – a group in especially sharp focus as baby boomers edge toward retirement and industries grapple with potential worker shortages.

“Through those three projects,” Coleman said, “you really have the range what the city of St. Paul is all about.”

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Category: In the News

With the opening of CHS Field in two weeks, the St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) today unveiled the ballpark’s environmentally responsible initiatives, as sponsored by founding partner Ecolab.

Sustainability efforts at CHS Field include recycling, solar power and water conservation and re-use. CHS Field will utilize recycling and composting to ensure a zero waste facility, solar panels to assist in the generation of electricity for the ballpark, and rain water harvesting for field irrigation and for other uses in the venue. On Opening Day, fans can learn more about the “Greenest Ballpark in America” at Ecolab kiosks.

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Category: In the News

The St. Paul Saints won’t officially start their season in their new Lowertown ballpark until Opening Day on May 21. But on Saturday, the public got a free sneak peek at live baseball at the stylish new venue under bright blue skies.

Taking the field were the Hamline University Pipers and the Concordia College Cobbers, christening the park with a doubleheader.

The Saints staged festivities before the game, which drew hundreds of neighbors, college students who came to cheer on their teams, and soon-to-be fans of the new CHS Field.

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Category: In the News

While architect Julie Snow has designed houses, restaurants, even border stations, she’s never done a ballpark. So she’s not exactly your typical sports facilities architect.

But then, the St. Paul Saints aren’t exactly your ordinary baseball team.

So the marriage of Snow and the quirky minor league club that produced CHS Field, set to officially open in May in the Lowertown district of downtown St. Paul, makes a certain amount of sense.

It’s a modernist stage for the team and its irreverent brand of entertainment, where the game sometimes seems to be an afterthought.

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