Developer Ryan Cos. will reveal its plans Tuesday for the Star Tribune property in downtown Minneapolis, offering the first glimpse of the massive development it envisions for the land adjoining the planned $975 million Vikings stadium.
Downtown Council President Mark Stenglein told business and political leaders in an e-mail Friday that the unveiling of the proposed project will take place outside the media company's headquarters on Portland Avenue S. The missive didn't reveal any details about the project, however.
Ryan and the Star Tribune have an exclusive negotiation period to discuss development of the land, which spans five city blocks on the eastern stretch of downtown, next to the stadium and the busy Downtown East/Metrodome light-rail stop.
The Star Tribune previously reported, based on sources close to the negotiations, that Ryan is working with financial services giant Wells Fargo & Co. in crafting "multiple development scenarios" for the land.
One scenario apparently involves building a campus for Wells Fargo, creating green space, and perhaps adding residential housing. But on Friday, Stenglein, Ryan and Star Tribune officials declined to provide details of what the development project entails. Wells Fargo was not mentioned in Stenglein's e-mail, and the bank's spokeswoman, Peggy Gunn, declined to comment Friday.
E-mails between city officials and Ryan in December 2012, obtained through a Star Tribune open records request, show that Ryan was considering an office/retail "component" of 1.09 million square feet. That amount of space rivals downtown's 57-story IDS Tower, which contains 1.4 million square feet.
The e-mails also mentioned a separate residential component featuring 460 apartments. The city and Ryan were discussing the possibility of a tax subsidy at the time the e-mails were exchanged, which city spokesman Matt Laible says is not currently part of the plan.
It remains unclear whether the city would aid the proposed project in some other way. In preparation for one 2012 meeting, Ryan Vice President Rick Collins mentioned "city-owned parking as 'overflow' for Wells Fargo?" in an e-mail to city staffers.
Mayor R.T. Rybak's spokesman, John Stiles, could not say Friday what the city's involvement would be. "We'll have more about that next week," Stiles said.
Rybak has grand ambitions for that section of downtown. In his state of the city address last month, Rybak envisioned that in 2025, "Armory Yard" would feature a skate park, ropes courses, sports fields and outdoor concerts.
"Thousands of housing units have been built near the Yard in the Armory District on what only a decade ago was a bland sea of surface parking lots," Rybak said in his speech, speaking as if he were in the future.
Doug Hoskin, the owner of the historic Minneapolis Armory just west of the Star Tribune land, is planning a separate development that would convert the 78-year-old facility into an event space for amateur sports, galas and concerts. It is currently an indoor parking lot.
Hoskin said this week he is selecting a consultant to perform a feasibility analysis and ensure there is demand for the proposed uses.
On Monday evening, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority will release renderings of the new Vikings stadium design. Last month, the authority began soliciting bids for a parking and skyway development for the stadium, which is expected to be open in time for the 2016 NFL season.
Michele Kelm-Helgen, the authority chairwoman, confirmed Friday that Ryan has formally indicated that it would submit a bid.
"Together these two projects will transform the East Side of downtown and help achieve a number of the goals we laid out in the 2025 Plan," Stenglein wrote. "Both projects need our support."
The 2025 Plan, a development blueprint for downtown Minneapolis, calls for linking the central business district to the University of Minnesota's West Bank campus.
Currently, that swath of land surrounding the Metrodome largely consists of surface parking lots, four of which are owned by the Star Tribune. The plan, which didn't envision the Vikings stadium on the Metrodome plot, calls for a "residential district" in the Downtown East area, with parks and perhaps a lake.
Staff writer Richard Meryhew contributed to this report.