Forget Arden Hills. It's the Farmers Market site that stands out.
The proposed new Vikings stadium is estimated to cost about $1 billion. While the Arden Hills location is currently the preferred location, the deal is far from done.
If the Arden Hills deal fails, two downtown Minneapolis sites stand in the wings for consideration, the Metrodome site and the Farmers Market site.
Seldom does a project come along that promises an investment of $1 billion. Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis should make every effort to attract this investment and leverage the opportunity to implement their long-term redevelopment goals.
The Downtown East/North Loop master plan adopted in 2003 is a good place to start.
In the last decade, significant redevelopment has occurred in the Downtown East area, with the addition of new residential condominiums and apartments, the Guthrie Theater and the Mill City Museum.
Removing the Metrodome from Downtown East would replace an obstacle with a catalyst. The 22-acre Metrodome site could be redeveloped to serve as the centerpiece of the new neighborhood.
The proceeds of the sale of the site could be as much as $50 million. That money could be used to assemble the land needed in the Farmers Market area and remove one of the few drawbacks to an exciting sports and entertainment venue on the west side of downtown.
In a few years, both Downtown East and the Farmers Market area will be served by light rail that will enable travel west to Eden Prairie, east to St. Paul, south to the Mall of America and airport and northwest to Osseo and Maple Grove.
Locating the new Vikings stadium in the Farmers Market area would build on the vitality of Target Field and would begin to realize the vision described in the Downtown East/North Loop Master Plan.
The history of the Metrodome site does not offer the same promise.
Dave Albersman is president of Albersman & Armstrong, the Minneapolis-based urban planning firm that did the original conceptual plans for Target Field.
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