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Downtown East project is slapped with lawsuit

Ryan Cos.

Frankly, it’s amazing it got this far without a lawsuit … Eric Roper and Janet Moore of the Strib say: “A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Hennepin County Court challenges a key financing mechanism for the proposed $400 million Downtown East mixed-use real estate development. The suit was filed by two former mayoral candidates and a former City Council president. It names the city, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and Ryan Cos., the developer of Downtown East development. The complaint alleges that funding for the $1 billion Vikings stadium limits the city’s share of stadium costs to $150 million. … The plaintiffs are software executive Stephanie Woodruff, 60s-era city council president Dan Cohen and Anoka County prosecutor Paul Ostrow — a former council president. Woodruff and Cohen ran for mayor, and Ostrow chaired Woodruff’s campaign.”

Not exactly Soylent Green … but green. Jim Spencer of the Strib writes: “For the past few years, the U.S. Department of the Interior has tested the effectiveness of electrical transformers that use vegetable oil instead of mineral oil to boost power production while lowering the threat of fires and toxic spills. Now, the agency plans a ‘very large project’ using the green technology that Minnetonka-based Cargill Inc. helped perfect. … The Environmental Protection Agency cited Cargill for its role in commercializing carbon-neutral vegetable oil transformer insulation fluids known as “natural esters.” Transformers need the oil as an insulating and cooling agent. Polychlorinated biphenyls — PCBs — once filled that role, but they turned out to be toxic. Petroleum-based mineral oil replaced PCBs, but posed an environmental risks. Cargill makes its dielectric transformer fluid out of soybeans.”

USA Today’s report on the study of the effects of raw milk says: “The number of consumers sickened by drinking raw, unpasteurized milk far exceeds case counts reported in well-publicized outbreaks, a new study from Minnesota suggests. In a decade in which 21 Minnesotans were sickened in confirmed outbreaks, an additional 530 possible individual cases were logged in state records, and there may have been 20,000 more unreported cases, says a study published Wednesday in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a publication of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, contrary to widespread beliefs that farm children are largely immune from such illnesses, many of the cases involved children who drank milk produced on farms where they lived or had relatives, the study shows.”

This one you can file under, “No duh …” Elsa Robins of KBJR-TV reports: “A new report released by the BlueGreen Alliance indicates that repairing basic infrastructure systems in Minnesota would stimulate job creation and would improve environmental impacts. … ‘From a direct standpoint we estimate that we would create about 114,000 jobs in Minnesota just through thinking about that infrastructure. And the American Society of Engineers has rated America’s infrastructure, just our roads and bridges, a D+… well that’s not okay,’ said Tarryl Clark of the BlueGreen Alliance.” They’d probably have to do a lot more than “think about it.”

Possibly related … Tim Pugmire at MPR writes: “Gov. Mark Dayton is now considering a $975 million measure next session for public construction projects throughout Minnesota. That’s about $200 million higher than his earlier bonding bill estimate. The DFL governor said he’ll propose spending $3.5 million from a projected budget surplus to cover the additional debt service costs. Dayton told reporters today that more room is needed in the bonding bill to meet the demand for good projects, including some important upgrades to correctional facilities.” Yeah, how about we build some better “People’s Prisons”?

Stash this one under “What Else Would You Expect?” The Strib sayeth: “In its final scheduled meeting of 2013, the [Minneapolis city] council is expected to decide the fate of what could be a transformative $400 million mixed-use development near the new Vikings stadium in Downtown East — a part of the city’s commercial core in desperate need of new life. … Admittedly, the Star Tribune also would benefit from the project. The newspaper plans to sell five blocks of property, including its headquarters, and move into leased office space downtown. … Not surprisingly, some of the same stadium critics who were quick to point out the lack of adjacent development created by the Metrodome are picking nits with Downtown East. Any public-private project of this size will attract naysayers. The essential question is whether the deal is a good investment for the taxpayers of Minneapolis. The City Council will take up that question on Friday, and the answer should be an enthusiastic yes.” And if they do … drinks at Manny’s … on Strib ownership?

He must have confused theft with his precious Second Amendment rights. Amy Forliti of the AP reports: “A Minnesota National Guard member and self-described commander of a militia group is accused of stealing classified information from his former military unit at Fort Bragg, N.C. According to a federal affidavit obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, 25-year-old Keith Michael Novak stole names, Social Security numbers and clearance levels of roughly 400 members of the 82nd Airborne Division to make fake identities for his militia. Documents also say Novak threatened violence if arrested.”

The year-end cavalcade of “Best of” lists has begun, even in the supermarket mags that devote every month to hyping the best foodie of the moment. Over at MPR, Tom Crann talked with Minnesota Monthly’s Rachel Hutton: “ ‘Minnesota Monthly’ magazine recently named Isaac Becker its ‘Restaurateur of the Year,’ based on his launch of 2013’s hottest eatery, Burch Steakhouse and Pizza Bar.
CRANN: And Burch isn’t Becker’s only success. I understand he’s three for three, so far?
HUTTON: Yes, looking back on Becker’s track record I realized that he and his wife and business partner, Nancy St. Pierre, have had quite a run in the past decade: 112 Eatery, which opened in 2005, and Bar La Grassa, which opened in 2009, have been just as successful as Burch. In fact, 112 represented a significant tipping point in the character of the Twin Cities dining scene.
CRANN: How so?
HUTTON: In the early 2000s, the most well-regarded restaurants were the most formal — Aquavit, Goodfellow’s and such. Then around 2003, the most important restaurants were big, splashy, almost theatrical places, such as Solera, Cosmos. 112 Eatery was a big departure in that the space was tiny and intimate, more like a neighborhood bar. The menu felt more personal, looking inward — not copying trends on the coast — with a way of pairing high-brow with low-brow, the way a chef would eat after hours.” I need to get out more …

Stribber Colin Covert tells us: “The Screen Actors Guild has honored Somali-born Minneapolis resident Barkhad Abdi, 28, with a nomination as best supporting actor for his work in the reality-based piracy drama ‘Captain Phillips.’ The first-time actor’s costar, Tom Hanks, was also nominated in the lead actor category for his work in the film.  Director Paul Greengrass picked Abdi from an open casting call in a Cedar Riverside community center, praising his ability to seem ‘menacing and [to] have a humanity too.’ … Hollywood oddsmakers consider Abdi a likely best supporting actor competitor when the Oscar nominations are announced Jan. 16.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by THOMAS REYNOLDS on 12/12/2013 - 09:35 am.

    Lawsuit filing against the Downtown East Development

    I understand the concern over using bonding authority and making long-term financial commitments by the city. However, a major city that doesn’t invest in its core soon goes into retrograde and what makes it great begins to erode. If Minneapolis doesn’t move forward with this type of infill then its investment in Target Center and the Public Stadium lose there reason for being funded. A great city needs this investment or it will soon become a second class city unable to work on major issues of transportation, property tax relief, strengthening its housing and small business base. It all collapses and that is the problem with bean counters.

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