If there's office space, then Metro Transit's Blue Line extension (also known as the Bottineau Line) must be happening.

On Monday, the Metropolitan Council's Transportation Committee unanimously recommended renting an office in Crystal for the Blue Line Extension Project. The Met Council will vote on the proposal at its Sept. 10 meeting.

If approved, Met Council staff will negotiate with Crystal Gallery Developers for a 20,000-square-foot space in the Crystal Gallery Office Building. The lease is expected to last for seven years beginning Oct. 1, for an amount not to exceed $2.6 million.

Mark Fuhrmann, Metro Transit’s program director for New Starts projects, noted in a statement that it was almost three years ago to the day that the Green Line Extension (Southwest LRT Project) reached this phase to enter project development.

He said only two other states – Maryland and Texas – have two projects simultaneously in the pipeline. “We are now members of a very exclusive club,” Fuhrmann said.

The Transportation Committee is expected to authorize an engineering services contract next month. Consultants from the engineering services firm will be working in the project office, along with staff from Metro Transit, Minnesota Department of Transportation and Hennepin County.

“That’s the model we have employed since 1999 on Hiawatha [LRT], and it’s proved very successful,” Fuhrmann said. It’s imperative to have staff under one roof to solve problems, he said. It also saves money because the consultants don’t have to rent separate office space and purchase their own IT equipment, he added.  

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