A 15-year-old proposal to build a golf-focused athletic facility atop a downtown Minneapolis parking ramp received an initial green light from the City Council Tuesday.

The privately funded plan involves covering two ramps adjacent to Target Center (right) and using the space for athletic facilities, a driving range, a running track and a club house. It is expected to cost upwards of $70 million.

The city's transportation and public works committee on Tuesday approved allowing staff to execute an agreement with Downtown Rooftop Golf, LLC to lease the air space above the ramp.

One of the ramps is owned by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, while another, the Hawthorne Transportation Center, is owned by the city.

El Tinklenberg, a former state transportation commissioner who is a consultant on the project, said the proposal will include indoor putting areas, simulators and conference facilities. A staff report said it would also include a performance area.

Tinklenberg said construction will likely take about 18 months, and if all goes as plan they hope to begin in 2015.

"The proposed location in the airspace above the two ramps will take advantage of the significant amount of space available there and the connections from the ramps to the downtown skyway system, a variety of transportation modes and local facilities (e.g., Target Center, Target Field and Interchange)," staff wrote in their description of the project.

Here is what the site looks like now: