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Ryan Cos. give more details on Minneapolis office tower

What’s big and tall and green all over?

Apparently, the proposed 17-story Block One office tower that Ryan Cos. hopes to build near U.S. Bank Stadium.

At a Thursday night committee of the whole planning commission meeting, Ryan designers presented its latest plans for its 460,000 square-foot office building that if completed, would be built above the existing parking ramp on the corner of Park Avenue and 4th Street.

One of the most notable features of the tower is a living wall system of plants that is planned to climb the southern and western sides of the building and cover approximately 6,700 square feet of the tower’s façade with lush, green foliage. It’s an ambitious feat for the developer, which hasn’t attempted a vegetative installation of this height.

“We really wanted to bring the outside in,” said Tony Barranco, Ryan’s vice president of development, at the meeting. He added, the developer wanted to continue the aesthetic of the nearby Commons park with the living walls.

Other features planners highlighted included a 7-foot-wide pedestrian walkway along 4th Street, space for a possible police substation or bike parking and retail area that could exist on the ground floor (2,000 square feet) and on the second level (4,180 square feet). On the top level, Ryan representatives suggested there would be 6,000 square feet of space for a potential restaurant.

Two 300 square-foot signs are being proposed near the top of the building on the south and east sides. There aren’t plans to place signs on the roof of the building, which has been a source of contention at the nearby Wells Fargo office towers that Ryan built. Barranco stressed that when it came to design, the new building would be different from the 17-story twin towers across the street.

“We didn’t want it to be a third Wells tower,” Barranco said.

As of Friday afternoon, Ryan had not submitted a formal application to the planning commission.

See more details in drawings and renderings of the tower.

Wells Fargo Place in St. Paul for sale

The Wells Fargo Place office tower, a landmark in downtown St. Paul, is for sale after the $90 million loan on the building was sent to special servicing a couple months ago.

The 37-story building, located at 30 E. 7th St., has been owned by an affiliate of Unilev Capital Corp. since 2006. The 656,000 square-foot building has several tenants including AgriBank, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Wells Fargo, the Internal Revenue Service and Larson King.

According to research firm Trepp, the loan was transferred to special servicing in May, a step that tends to indicate a borrower having trouble with a loan. The loan has a balloon payment requirement in November and is being monitored for hardship, according to Trepp reports.

“They are probably concerned with the ability to pay off the loan before then,” said Sean Barrie, a research analyst with Trepp.

Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq was hired to market Wells Fargo Place.

“The property’s owners have owned the asset for 10 years, and it’s been a high-performing asset, with steady rent rolls and strong tenant base,” Terry Kingston, executive director-Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq’s Capital Markets Group, said in a statement Tuesday. “Given the interest rate environment, they are exploring their opportunities to sell or refinance.”

In response to questions about its lease contracts, Kingston said most of the tenants have mid- to long-term leases and “Wells Fargo Place has a very stable rent roll.”

Downtown St. Paul has experienced a development resurgence thanks in part to an abundance of building sites and former office buildings that can be converted.