Minneapolis is moving forward with plans to build a new municipal office building on the site of a parking ramp across the street from Government Plaza.

The City Council this month approved demolition and information technology consulting contracts for the project.

The building will be designed by MSR Design and Henning Larsen, and Mortenson will be construction manager. The size and uses of the building, which should be done by the fall of 2020, haven't been nailed down completely, but the hope is to put about 1,000 city employees now working at different downtown sites all in the same place.

"We want to have this one-stop shop for anyone who's doing business with the city. Right now you have to go to three different buildings and it's not clear what area you need to go to next," City Coordinator Spencer Cronk said. "We're really trying to make this as user-friendly and customer-facing as possible."

Departments that will move large numbers of workers to the new building include Community Planning and Economic Development and the office of Regulatory Services, which both get a lot of visits from the public.

Right now, several hundred city employees work in seven buildings throughout downtown. Some are leased and some are city-owned. The City Council in 1999 directed staff to defer investment in several of the city-owned buildings, Cronk said, so "they have been in a state of disrepair for decades."

Carleton Cos. won a $1.1 million contract to demolish the parking ramp at 501 Fourth Ave. S., which occupies the third of the block closest to the Government Center. The adjacent parking ramp connected by skyway to the Thrivent building will remain. Demolition is expected to start in the summer and construction in the fall.

Technology Management Corp., a Shorewood-based firm, won a $325,000 contract as the information technology and audiovisual consultant for the building.

Large and small vendors will be able to bid on work related to the new building as the design and scope are refined and the city puts out requests for bids. The city also recently asked for artists to work on the design of the project and public art for the building.