Star Tribune land deal's closing delayed by last-minute snags

  • Article by: JANET MOORE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 27, 2013 - 10:05 PM

Details in the development agreement and a related bond issue held up the signing of a deal between Ryan Cos. and the newspaper.

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The Star Tribune building’s block and the parking lot that it faces are to become a public park as part of the Ryan Cos.’ plan for five blocks of land adjacent to the new Vikings ­stadium. Star Tribune file

The sale of Star Tribune land that is slated to be the site of an ­ambitious mixed-used development was delayed Friday, but is still expected to close within 30 days.

Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. plans to build a $400 million mixed-use development on five blocks adjacent to the new $1 billion Vikings stadium. Now owned by the Star ­Tribune Media Co., the site includes the company’s headquarters building, which eventually would be demolished, and surface parking.

The Downtown East project calls for more than 1 million square feet of office space for about 5,000 employees of Wells Fargo & Co., up to 400 residential units, retail shops, a ­parking ramp and a public park.

The sale of the land was expected Friday. But Rick Collins, Ryan vice president of development, said details still needed to be worked out in a complex development deal and bond issue that is part of the project’s financing plan.

“While we’ve achieved a great majority of our objectives in the approvals we need, we have not been successful in completing all the documents required for funding to take place to allow us to close,” ­Collins said.

Star Tribune spokesman Steve Yaeger confirmed that the land deal should be completed within 30 days. The Star Tribune plans to move its ­operations to another downtown location in 2015.

The bulk of the Downtown East project — about $350 million — will be privately financed. The city of ­Minneapolis and the Minnesota Sports Facilities ­Authority will fund the rest.

The city has agreed to issue up to $65 million in bonds to build the 1,600-space parking ramp that will be used by Wells Fargo employees, the public and stadium-goers, plus the nearly two-block public park.

The ramp ultimately will be owned by the sports authority, which is in charge of construction of the new stadium. The city will own the “air rights” to develop the top portion of the garage. Revenue gleaned from the parking ramp will help pay down the bonds.

The city is expected to purchase the park property after Ryan completes rudimentary improvements, such as sod, grading and sidewalks.

Collins said he still expects ground to be broken in April, with the first portion of the project opening in late 2015.

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