Vacant lots going on sale will give buyers rare chance to build along Mississippi River Blvd. in St. Paul

For a half-century at least, if you wanted to build a new home along St. Paul’s Mississippi River Boulevard, you had to tear one down first.

Starting Monday, however, there is a rare chance to buy a vacant lot. But they are expensive and will likely go fast.

"There’s been a ton of chatter in the neighborhood with clients," said realtor Julie Christensen.

Undeterred by bitter cold with a windchill below zero, realtor Julie Christensen and a client had just finished eyeballing the 20 lots along Mississippi River Boulevard that will go up for sale on Monday. The first part of the Ford Plant redevelopment now called Highland Bridge.

"You know it’ll be interesting," said Christensen. "It is a higher price point, you know those prices on the lots don’t include the house, the house is on top of that. So it definitely is a smaller group of buyers that are seriously looking at this."

The lots start at $475,000 and go up to $1.15 million. But it's the first time in 50 years, at least, that vacant home lots along the Mississippi River have been available.

"We've had over 1,000 inquiries, 100 within the last couple of days," said Jim Seabold of Coldwell Banker Realty.

Seabold is managing this sale for Ryan Companies, the project developer, and expects they’ll sell fast. Only 14 more lots will be available later on.

"There will only be a total of 34 single family homes in the entire development," he said. "The rest of the will either be row homes or condominiums."

The overall Highland Bridge includes 325 row-homes going up for sale this summer. There will be 230 apartments and 300 senior-living apartments beginning construction this year, too.

Two of the four parks will be completed this year, and about 300,000 people will live here.

As for the homes, it's a very high-price tag, but for those who can afford it, it's a very rare opportunity.