handout courtesy of the City of Minneapolis


The City of Minneapolis released a request for proposals on the much-anticipated "Guthrie Liner" parcel -- a long and narrow stripe of land along Washington Avenue that straddles the Mill District and East Downtown neighborhoods.

The Community Planning and Economic Development department outlined its preferences for private developers who would like to develop the site at 800 South Washington. If housing is a component, the city will favor proposals that have at least 20 percent of its units set aside for individuals making less than 50 percent of the median income. The request for proposal (RFP) suggests at least 4-5 stories, and a maximum of 8, with a strong street-level retail presence. 

“Washington Avenue could be a happening, bustling boulevard teaming with vibrancy, people, and shopping,” said Ward 3 Council Member Jacob Frey, in a statement. “To realize this potential, however, we need proposals that activate the street level in a big way, so substantial ground floor retail is an absolute must.”

Already, the block is home to the large city-owned Riverfront Parking Ramp. City staff suggest its size, offering 994 stalls, could sufficiently meet the parking needs of any new development. The liner parcel is about 24,000 square feet, or about a third of the entire city block. 

The city doesn't specify its preferred use on the site, but said in the RFP that proposals "should contribute to this mix of activity by creating a unique place, providing services or experiences, and/or drawing in visitors, employees and/or residents."

In 2010, Minneapolis granted two nonprofit organizations development rights for the L-shaped vacant land that hugged the parking ramp. American Academy of Neurology built its new headquarters along the Chicago Avenue side and Artspace Projects Inc., a nationally recognized real estate developer for the arts, had planned to build a four-story building along the Washington Avenue side that would include office, studio space and 36 affordable housing units for artists. The latter project never materialized and is why the city is now taking the land back to the market. 

Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates and St. Louis Park-based JMW Development had also bid on the parcel in 2010. 

Proposals are due to the city by May 20. 

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