Mortenson's design renderings for 800 Washington Av. S.

City of Minneapolis staff are recommending the City Council award M.A. Mortenson exclusive negotiating rights for a highly visible strip of land on Washington Avenue in the Mill District.

Mortenson was up against two other local developers in a competitively bid process for the purchase and development of 800 S. Washington Av. The decision came down to Mortenson versus Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates -- a prolific developer in the neighborhood. Ultimately, tax revenue was the deciding factor. Mortenson's project is expected to produce nearly $825,000 in annual taxes compared to Sherman's $665,000.

Mortenson also offered to buy the land for $3.7 million compared to Sherman's $3.5 million.

Staff from Community Economic and Development Department, finance and the city attorney outlined their reasoning for the selection in a document released Friday. The staff noted similiarities between the Sherman and Mortenson proposals, including building massing and height, mix of uses, total development costs (between $47-49 million), timeline and connections with the adjacent Riverfront parking ramp and American Academy of Neurology. But, the financial components and tenants were the tipping point. 

Here are the details of all three proposals:

Staff was also leery about Sherman's proposal for a Pinstripes, which is a dining, bowling, bocce ball and event center concept. There's one in Edina that has seen considerable success. But, staff wrote, "there is no proven long-term market in this area for a business like Pinstripes." 

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