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Continued: Minneapolis City Council OKs $400M plan for Downtown East area

  • Article by: ERIC ROPER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 19, 2013 - 9:41 PM

The total health of the deal relies heavily on the performance of parking in the Downtown East area. Parking revenues will pay down the city’s 30-year debt for the project, and Ryan has agreed to guarantee against any shortfalls for at least 10 years — or when the ramps turn a consistent profit.

The MSFA has agreed to cover long-term shortfalls repaying the parking ramp bonds. But city coffers may have to be tapped to pay for the park bonds, if parking revenues falter.

Cam Winton, running for mayor as an independent, held a news conference Thursday demanding, among other things, to know more about that potential draw on the general fund.

On top of the financial considerations, the design of Park and Portland avenues will have a big impact on the look and feel of the park.

Hennepin County, which owns the roads, has little interest in closing them altogether.

Rybak said they will not look like they do today, however.

“It would be ideally dramatically smaller and much more park-friendly than it is today,” he said. “And potentially only open during rush hour.”

As part of the deal, Ryan would retain the right to buy and develop one-sixth of the two-block park. That would also place a buffer between the green space and Hennepin County jail, which abuts the westerly end. One amendment to the plan Friday requires Ryan to pay a fair market value for the land at the time of sale, rather than $71 per square foot.

The city would issue general obligations bonds for about $65 million, but that does not include interest. City documents obtained via an open records request show that the principal and interest could be closer to $125 million, based on one calculation of future interest rates.

Other public costs include the MSFA paying for skyways from the office buildings to nearby parking structures.

 

Eric Roper • 612-673-1732

Twitter: @StribRoper

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