The Stadium Implementation Committee on Thursday afternoon voted to support the preliminary design of a massive $400 million mixed-used development planned for five city blocks adjacent to the proposed Vikings stadium.
The vote from the advisory committee was unanimous, except for an abstention from Minneapolis City Councilwoman Sandy Colvin Roy. The committee consists of public officials, representatives from community and business groups, and other members of the public.
The project, proposed by Minneapolis-based developer Ryan Cos., includes two office towers, 300 to 350 residential units, street-level retail, skyways connecting downtown to the stadium, and a public park that would encompass two city blocks.
Wells-Fargo & Co. is said to be interested in occupying the office towers, but Ryan Vice President of Development Rick Collins said no formal agreement with the financial services giant has been reached.
The development is proposed for five city blocks now owned by the Star Tribune.
Committee members were generally positive about the Ryan plan, even gushing. Several called the plan “transformational” for a stretch of eastern downtown that has failed to attract any meaningful development since the Metrodome opened in 1982.
“I’d give it a solid A-minus at least,” said Peggy Lucas, of Brighton Development Co.
But committee member Paul Mellblom, who represents the East Downtown Council, expressed concerns about such a wide swath of green space in downtown. “Green may not be much better than the surface parking there now,” he said.
Other members questioned closing Portland and Park avenues to traffic, thoroughfares owned by Hennepin County.
The committee’s support came with the caveat that questions remain about the park and the street closures, so the discussion isn’t over yet.
Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.
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