Reporter Rochelle Olson updates you on the construction of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

More details released on Downtown East plan

Posted by: Janet Moore Updated: July 8, 2013 - 2:58 PM

Details continue to emerge regarding Downtown East, a proposed $400 million development on the eastern stretch of downtown Minneapolis near the proposed Vikings stadium.

To date, developer Ryan Cos. has proposed two, 20-story office towers spanning about 1.2 million square feet, 300 to 350 residential units, about 40,000 square feet of retail, a public park and parking ramp.

he five-block area, currently owned by the Star Tribune, is bounded by 5th Av. S., Chicago Av. S., 3rd St. S. and 5th St. S. Put simply, if you’ve ever tailgated before a Vikings game, it was likely on one of these lots.

Last week, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), the body overseeing construction of the new $975 Vikings stadium, awarded a contract to Ryan to develop a parking plan for the new stadium. (This could involve construction of two new ramps.)

The Minneapolis-based developer will present conceptual plans to the city’s Department of Community Planning and Economic Development Committee on Tuesday. A vote on the plan by the City Council is expected July 19.

A recent report prepared by Minneapolis planners expounds on the Downtown East plan a bit.

Among them: Ryan, “or another party,” may develop approximately 45 units on the south side of the so-called McClellan ramp, which is located off Park Av. S. between 3rd and 4th streets.

In terms of financing, Ryan would arrange $350 million of the deal, with the MSFA funding about $35 million of the project for the construction of skyways connecting the stadium to downtown, construction of a parking ramp on land now owned by Wilf-related entitites, and a portion of the McClellan ramp. (This is part of the $975 million already allocated for the stadium.)

Development of the public park (called The Yard), beyond site prep, infrastructure improvements and seeded grass, will likely cost $10 million to $15 million – funding that could come from the sale of development rights or sponsorships.

And speaking of the park, the MSFA is expected to seek a liquor license to include The Yard for authority events and Vikings games.

Until July 2016, Ryan would also have an option to purchase the western third of the park from the city for about $2.5 million for future development.

Likewise, development rights “over or adjacent” to the McClellan parking ramp may be offered for sale for future development. The ramp itself would have to be built in a way to support such development, however.

City planners have recommended that the committee authorize staff to develop a funding plan and negotiate term sheets and agreements with Ryan and the authority to move forward.

After all, the report notes, city, business and community leaders have struggled to develop the area around the Metrodome for decades. The area, the report continues, “has languished.”

Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.

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