Newspaper article

Council's Stadium Opponents, Proponents Team Up for Adjacent Downtown East Project

Newspaper article

Council's Stadium Opponents, Proponents Team Up for Adjacent Downtown East Project

Article excerpt

Stadium opponents on the Minneapolis City Council joined stadium supporters Tuesday in giving unanimous committee approval to the adjacent Downtown East project.

"I'm not going to be the person who vehemently opposed this Vikings deal and then tried to make everything else there happen poorly," said Council Member Lisa Goodman, a stadium opponent. She chairs the Community Development Committee, the first to vote on the latest plan.

"Our job is to take the situation ... to the next level and know when to stop saying 'no' and start embracing the kind of change we need in this part of downtown," she said after the committee's public hearing on the $400 million project.

The Downtown East five-block area will include 1.1 million square feet of office space in two buildings, expected to house 5,000 Wells Fargo employees. The plan also includes a park, residential and commercial space, and a city-built parking ramp that will be owned by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

The project involves land owned by the Star Tribune, which is expected to sign a purchase agreement with the Ryan Cos. on Dec. 27. Ryan and Wells Fargo also are expected to reach greement this month.

By voting to move ahead, council members agreed to establish a development district adjacent to the stadium site, sell $65 million in bonds, accept a term sheet from the Ryan Cos. outlining the project and direct city staff to negotiate an agreement with the developer.

The city will use its Port Authority powers to create an industrial development district and sell bonds. This option gives the city flexibility in the purchase of private property and allows the acceptance of money from the private sector.

This option has been used before in Minneapolis for the construction of the Riverfront Ramp in 2005 and the Hawthorne Transportation Center in 1998.

Ryan Cos. will contribute $350 million to the project. The city portion is $57 million for a park and a parking ramp, with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority contributing $29 million. Of that, $20 million will be spent on the city-built parking ramp, with the remainder going for skyways. …

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