Wilder Foundation Gift Would Create New St. Paul Park

The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, a nonprofit health and human service agency that provides mental health, education, housing, aging and community programs in the east metro, has reached terms with The Trust for Public Land for its approximate 12-acre property in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul. The sale price is significantly reduced from the appraised value as Wilder’s contribution to the community, and to ensure the property will be used in a way consistent with the community’s vision to be of benefit to the community.

Under the terms of the transaction, The Trust for Public Land will purchase the property for $2.2M. Past appraisals of the property place its value in the range of $4.5-5.4M. Originally home to the Sisters of Good Shepard convent, the 919 Lafond Avenue site has been owned by the Wilder Foundation since 1971 and was used as administrative and program headquarters until the construction of the new Wilder Center facility at the corner of Lexington Parkway and University Avenue in 2007. Three adjacent acres with buildings on Lafond will continue to be used by the Wilder Foundation for its Child Development Center and for its youth day treatment programs.

“We are thrilled that the Wilder Foundation has generously accepted our proposal and is giving us the opportunity to ensure that the land is conserved to benefit the people and the community of Saint Paul,” says Susan Schmidt, The Trust for Public Land’s Minnesota Director. TPL’s proposed plan provides for an urban park that will be the site for a variety of activities including an urban demonstration farm, a recreation area and a nature sanctuary.

Frogtown has been identified by the City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department as one of only two areas in the city in need of a new park. In addition to providing green space as part of inner-city living, the Wilder Foundation sale of the property at the reduced price will allow a safe place for neighborhood residents to experience nature, preserve dozens of mature growth trees, provide community sledding and other recreation, and preserve public access. Nearly 56% of households in the area have incomes below $35,000.

“We are pleased that the property will be used to provide green space for public use and will continue to be of benefit to the community,” says MayKao Y. Hang, Wilder Foundation President and CEO. Established in 1906 by the Amherst H. Wilder family, the Wilder Foundation’s mission is to promote the social welfare of persons in the greater Saint Paul metropolitan area. The Wilder Foundation has been a longtime partner in the Frogtown neighborhood and is one of 77 partners for the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood initiative, leading the effort to ensure success in school and life by creating cradle to career support for the 7000+ children living in the area.

Adds Ms. Hang, “Wilder is here to address vital human services and community issues. In allowing The Trust for Public Land, working in conjunction with our friends in the City of Saint Paul and the Frogtown Neighborhood, to purchase this property at a reduced price, we hope this agreement will provide park and green space for current and future generations to enjoy.”

The Trust for Public Land will immediately begin a private and public fundraising campaign for purchase of the property and initial development and programming. TPL expects fundraising will take approximately 18 months to complete. Terms of the agreement include TPL working closely with the City of St. Paul and the neighborhood to ensure permanent stewardship for the property.

The Wilder Foundation was represented in the transaction by Mary Kay Palmer and Jeremy Larson of Milestone Real Estate Partners LLC. The property was marketed and the deal was brokered by Jerry Driessen and Joe Hughes of CBRE.

About the Wilder Foundation
For more than 100 years, the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation has combined direct service, research and community development to address the needs of vulnerable people in greater Saint Paul. For more information on the Wilder Foundation, visit www.wilder.org

About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land is a national non-profit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has helped acquire and conserve more than 3 million acres of park and open space resources, as well as a broad array of landscape-scale recreation, wilderness, forest, and agricultural lands in 47 states.

About Milestone Real Estate Partners, LLC
Bloomington based Milestone Real Estate Partners, LLC is a real estate consulting group serving small businesses and non-profits. Milestone acts as the owners’ representative and advisor in the areas of strategic asset management, facility planning, acquisition, and relocation, construction and project management. Contact us 952-851-5536

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm (in terms of 2010 revenue). The Company has approximately 31,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 300 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our Web site at www.cbre.com.