The Minneapolis Community Development and Regulatory Services Committee on Tuesday briefly discussed -- and then approved -- a plan calling for a hotel and apartments above a parking ramp in the Downtown East mixed-use development.
In a report last week, city staff recommended a plan put forth by Ryan Cos., the Minneapolis-based developer of the Downtown East project. The $400 million project includes twin office towers for Wells Fargo & Co., 200 apartments, retail shops and restaurants, a 1,610-space parking ramp, and a nearly two-block public park near the new Vikings stadium.
The city solicited separate proposals for a spit of land along 4th St. S. and the space above the parking ramp. An alternate proposal for a 300-room Marriott-branded hotel for the ramp was submitted by Golden Valley-based Mortenson Development.
When asked to comment on the city's actions, Mortenson Development's Bob Solfelt, vice president and general manager, said in a statement, “We appreciate the consideration of our proposal for a hospitality-focused development as part of the redevelopment of Downtown East. Our proposal provides a viable, hotel solution with committed ownership and financing that would serve the needs of the downtown community as it continues to thrive. We look forward to continued discussions with city leaders about its potential."
Ryan proposed a 150-room Radisson Red hotel, and another 200 apartments. The developer is also offering to pay the city $5.7 million for the purchase of the land and the so-called “air rights” above the ramp, which will be used by office employees, the public and those using the Vikings stadium. The ramp itself will be owned by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the public body overseeing construction of the $1 billion sports stadium.
The City Council will consider the matter at its March 28 meeting.
A Hennepin County judge heard arguments Wednesday over whether the city of Minneapolis is exceeding its authority by buying and developing land for a public park that is part of a $400 million mixed-use development planned for the eastern stretch of downtown.
The hearing was related to a lawsuit filed last week by two former mayoral candidates and a former City Council president that challenged the way the Downtown East development is being financed.
The financing package for the development, which is located next to the new $1 billion Vikings stadium, involves the city issuing up to $65 million in bonds to help pay for a parking ramp that will be used by stadium-goers, and a public park.
While several of the claims in the lawsuit were thrown out by Judge Mel Dickstein last week, he did issue a temporary restraining order until a question over whether the City Council has the authority to establish and maintain a park under the city charter is resolved. The suit alleges that only the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, which is independent, has that authority.
Dickstein is expected to rule on the remaining issue by year's end.
The plaintiffs in the suit 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.
Ostrow said the suit is about urging city officials to be "transparent and open." Because the developer of the project, Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos., is expected to close on the purchase of the land for the development by Dec. 27, and the city is expected to issue bonds in short order, it's imperative for the judge to issue a permanent restraining order until the matter is ironed out.
The five-block area slated for redevelopment is currently owned by the Star Tribune.
However, Deputy City Attorny Peter Ginder said the city has the right to buy land for a park and subsequently turn it over to the Park Board to operate. "Nothing prohibits us from doing that," he said.
Feb. 1 will be a crucial day in the development of the new $975 million Vikings Stadium.
On that day, the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority, which will own and operate the stadium, will choose a construction manager -- the folks that will actually build the structure.
Naming the construction firm was delayed a bit to "accommodate requests from proposers for more time to develop proposals," said MFSA Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen, in a statement.
The design of the stadium by architect HKS Sports & Entertainment will be unveiled in the spring, with a groundbreaking slated for the fall. The new facility is expected to open in time for the Vikings season in 2016.
Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.
Several weeks ago Just Listed reported that the Star Tribune had sold some of the land it owns to a pair of Twin Cities developers who plan to build upscale apartments. That deal just closed, and we now know that TE Miller Development and Curt Gunsbury paid $1.8 million for the one-acre site - a portion of a parking lot that’s directly across from the Star Tribune’s printing plant and distribution building in the Minneapolis Warehouse District.
The Strib still owns several downtown parcels, including land near the building that houses the company’s business offices and newsroom and is adjacent to the yet-to-be-built Vikings stadium. TE Miller and Solhem Companies acquired the Strib’s parking lot to build 137 apartments that are now being referred to as 815 2nd St. Apartments.
Construction will start this week with occupancy by an opening in late summer 2013. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, here's a link to the 815 2nd St. site plan that was submitted to the city.
The Star Tribune is selling a one-acre parcel in the heart of the Minneapolis Warehouse District to a partnership that plans to build a six-story building with 138 apartments. That partnership includes veteran apartment developer, Curt Gunsbury of Solhem Cos and TE Miller Development.
Terms weren't disclosed, but Steve Yaeger, the Star Tribune's director of marketing and communication, said that the deal is expected to close by the end of the year. The parcel in play is part of a 3.38-acre site that's directly across from the Star Tribune's Heritage printing facility, which is currently being used as employee parking. Long before the Star Tribune acquired the property in 1984, it had been used by the railroad as a staging area for train cars that were being repaired.
The Star Tribune owns several pieces of land, including several parcels that are adjacent to the yet-to-be-built Vikings Stadium.
Just days after the Minneapolis City Council cleared the way for a new Vikings stadium near the Metrodome, the Star Tribune confirmed it has hired a commercial real estate firm to market its property near the project.
Publisher Michael Klingensmith said the Star Tribune has hired Russ Nelson from the Minneapolis firm Nelson, Tietz & Hoye to market four city blocks owned by the newspaper. “It’s no secret we would be interested in selling,” Klingensmith said in a note to employees Tuesday, “But we’re not in any hurry.”
The Star Tribune owns five blocks near the Dome, but only one is part of the $975 million stadium plan – a parcel at the northeast corner of Park Ave. and Fourth St. Nelson, Tietz & Hoye will help assess the value of that block, as well.
In a statement, Klingensmith said the Star Tribune hired the firm “ to help us with our overall real estate strategy and to represent us in the event of a sale. Russ has worked with the Star Tribune on and off for many years and is extremely knowledgeable about the downtown real estate market.”
A previous deal called for the Vikings to buy four of the Star Tribune blocks for $45 million fell apart in 2007. The team, citing turmoil in the credit markets, backed out of the deal.
Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.