Nestled in the vibrant Lowertown neighborhood, CHS Field is the long-awaited new home of the St. Paul Saints minor league baseball team. Ryan partnered extensively with the city on the $63 million project, providing a single point of contact for a broad range of integrated services which helped save time and money on the project. Because Ryan develops and owns so many properties, the Ryan team offered an owner’s perspective as well as unexpected value—leading the successful pursuit of grant funding, for example.
With 7,000, seats the park is anticipated to attract more than 450,000 visitors per year. In addition to hosting the Saints’ home games, the new field also hosts other sports and cultural events and is achieving its goal of transforming Lowertown into a neighborhood park and beloved urban greenspace.
Ryan’s community-oriented process allowed a range of stakeholders to have meaningful input. The project targeted the highest inclusion goals seen in the city to date and schedules were carefully coordinated with the rhythm of the neighborhoods. This unique ballpark embraces green design and sustainable operations, enabling it to meet Minnesota’s stringent B-3 sustainability guidelines and earning the designation of “greenest ballpark in America.”
The design and construction of CHS Field represents an unprecedented combination of sustainable strategies. What was once one of the ten most contaminated sites in the Twin Cities is now a park within a park, consisting of 135 trees, 138,000 square feet of natural grass, a dog park, a children’s play area and a rain garden featuring local artwork.
CHS Field is the first major sports venue to meet B3 Sustainable Building 2030 Energy Standards—a progressive energy conservation program designed to significantly reduce the energy and carbon in Minnesota commercial, institutional and industrial buildings. This certification process is unique to Minnesota and takes into account specific climate and code requirements of building in the state.
CHS Field is a great example of Ryan’s ability to engineer a public/private partnership that benefits all stakeholders, not to mention the greater community. By leveraging community investment we helped to redevelop a blighted site and drive broader economic development. The City of Saint Paul provided $19 million and a $5 million internal loan, the St. Paul Saints provided $11 million, and the state of Minnesota has provided a $25 million grant for the construction, $2 million in grants for the environmental cleanup work and a $1 million loan for the project. Additionally, the Saint Paul Port Authority has played a key role in the land acquisition and pursuit of environmental grant funding for the project.
Well-known for their game day hijinks and irreverent humor, the Saints wanted the design of CHS Field to be as creative and innovative as they were, while still honoring the architectural integrity of the surrounding neighborhood. In true collaboration, Ryan Architecture + Engineering, Snow Kreilich and AECOM worked together with the entire client team to design a unique ballpark that’s seamlessly embedded into Lowertown Saint Paul. Ryan A+E served as the architect of record, managing the project and navigating a complex site, construction set and approval process.
The architecture of CHS Field is low and compact. The main entrance frames the termination of Fifth Street, creating an important connection with the city core. The concourse is a vibrant 360 degree walkway allowing patrons to walk around the entire field. Preserving the rich visual connection to the surrounding warehouse district, concourse amenities are pushed back into the hillside while the seating bowl and playing field are depressed into the natural topography of the site. The design also incorporates elements of Lowertown’s historic architecture– blackened steel, timber and load-bearing masonry–allowing the new ballpark to fit beautifully within its urban context.
This project was so unique and challenging but Ryan maintained constant focus on the Saints’ needs. That speaks volumes to the way Ryan operates. We needed to improve and change all of the levels of service while maintaining the heart and soul of the club. That was our goal - a huge challenge - and Ryan nailed it!