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Minneapolis on tight schedule to firm up Downtown East plans

Ryan Cos.
Minneapolis is contributing $18 million for a two-block park and another $4 million for land purchases and site preparation.

Minneapolis faces tight deadlines to firm up plans for the Downtown East development.

A developer for the air rights over the parking ramp the city will be building as part of the project must be lined up by late February.

To meet this deadline, the City Council must approve terms of the agreement among the city, the developer Ryan Cos. and the Minnesota Vikings by their last meeting of the year on December 13.

Purchase of the air rights could allow residential, office or hotel space to be built atop the $33 million parking ramp.

The city also is contributing $18 million for a two-block park and another $4 million for land purchases and site preparation.

“If this passes on the 13th, I will immediately call the developers who have already expressed interest and do everything humanly possible to get them to bid on what I think is one of the greatest development sites we’ve ever had,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak following his formal presentation of the project to the City Council.

The developer for the air rights needs to be in place by late February, or it will be difficult to incorporate the plans with those now being drawn up for the parking ramp.

The site includes access to two light rail lines and offers views of the downtown skyline, the river and the new Vikings stadium.

“If this goes past the 13th, I’m concerned about keeping the commitment of Wells Fargo [the likely tenant for more than 1 million square feet of office space in the project] which is one of the most important, if not the most important office commitments the city has had, certainly in many years,” Rybak said.

“The development rights will be worth dramatically less, if anything, if we can’t get a developer on board by the end of February,” he said.

The proposed $400 million Downtown East project includes twin office towers, housing, retail space and a park covering two square blocks. Ryan Cos. has now agreed to cover $3.7 million in costs that were originally to be paid by the city.

The Minnesota Vikings also have announced that they will contribute $1 million for development of the park.

The two contributions have helped Minneapolis close the gap on financing as interest rates on bonds started to increase this fall.

Next week, the terms of the city agreement with Ryan and the Vikings will be heard by two council committees, with a full council vote set for Dec. 13.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 12/06/2013 - 11:19 am.

    Good report.Minneapolis

    Good report.

    Minneapolis should definitely rush on this thing–don’t want to ruin our record on the stadium by pausing, or over-thinking anything about the stadium or Ryan’s proposal, or who might do what with appropriate air rights, or the park. Etc.

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