The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has abandoned plans to build an 800-space parking ramp along the Mississippi River after the city’s planning commission rejected the project this month.
“We are committed to continuing to be good neighbors, and we understand there is insufficient support for our current proposal,” Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari said in a statement Wednesday. “We will use the next couple months to review our options to meet the needs of our 1,200 staff and numerous visitors.”
Earlier this year, the bank proposed building the five-story ramp next to its headquarters at the foot of the Hennepin Avenue bridge in the North Loop. Bank officials said parking for its employees had dramatically decreased since it moved to its existing location more than 20 years ago.
A group of North Loop neighbors formally opposed the ramp, arguing it went against the city’s sustainability goals.
City staffers recommended the planning commission deny site plans for the ramp, and on July 8, commissioners rejected the ramp on a 5-4 vote.
The Mississippi riverfront was the last place “we need to build a parking ramp and invest in a dying way of getting around in the city,” said Commissioner Jono Cowgill, also a Park Board commissioner and one of the most vocal voices against the project.
After the vote, Federal Reserve officials said they would continue to make the push for the ramp with the City Council.
The Federal Reserve Bank is one of the largest employers in downtown Minneapolis, employing 1,135 people in 2018, according to the Minneapolis Downtown Council.
Planning Commission President Sam Rockwell said he hoped any future proposal for that site would be “something that contributes more fully to the city fabric.” He also said the Federal Reserve could encourage its employees to use different forms of transportation, such as light rail or ride-share bicycles, instead of cars.
“If they did propose parking there, then more fully addressing the concerns expressed by the commission would be expected and appreciated,” he said.
Nancy Gardner, a North Loop resident who organized efforts against the project, said that she hoped neighbors would have a “seat at the table” for any forthcoming proposal.
“We really do feel like they’ve always been a good neighbor,” she said of the Fed bank. “We appreciate them finally acknowledging that this did not have neighborhood support, and not only that, it didn’t have the support of where the whole city is going.”
Staff writers David Chanen and Zoë Jackson contributed to this report.