Blockbuster development slated for Vikings stadium district

  1. Listen Vikings stadium unveiled

    May 14, 2013 Tim Nelson reports on details of the new stadium to be built in Minneapolis

Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak displays a rendering of the proposed project. (MPR Photo/Tim Nelson)

A massive, 5-block, nearly $400 million development is headed for the area just west of the planned new Vikings stadium.

The city of Minneapolis, Ryan Cos. and the Star Tribune announced the project this afternon.

It will include $320 million in office and housing in two privately-developed towers, near where the Star Tribune’s current building stands. There will also be a 1,328 stall parking ramp for the Vikings stadium.

The city is putting $65 million into the project, most of that to finance the parking ramp, the rest for a green space, dubbed “The Yard” by Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak this afternoon. It’s expected to serve as green space for the office towers and about 300 residential units in the area. He also said the project won’t use any tax increment financing, a common and sometimes controversial method of public subsidy for real estate development.

Other features of the project include:

  • 1.2. million square feet of new office space
  • More than 5,000 employees
  • 40,000 square feet of retail
  • $3.5 million in new property taxes
  • Skyway connection to the downtown core
  • Potential new Wells Fargo campus

Star Tribune publisher Michael Klingensmith said the newspaper was looking for a new headquarters somewhere in Minneapolis. “Our building at 425 Portland was originally built to house a large-scale manufacturing plant,” Klingensmith said. “Today, the remaining building presents inflexible limitations for our company.”

In the newspaper’s place, Ryan is trying to woo Wells Fargo. Minneapolis officials said this spring that the company was thinking about consolidating a nationwide business downtown, possibly including its home mortgage operations on the old Honeywell campus in the Phillips neighborhood.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Peggy Gunn wouldn’t confirm those plans today, but did say the company was exploring its options in the so-called Downtown East neighborhood.

Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak offered a what might be some insight into Wells Fargo’s thinking.

“Wells Fargo made a groundbreaking decision in south Minneapolis that helped rejuvenate the Phillips neighborhood. We’re very thankful not only that they did that, but they delivered far more tennants than they ever expected to have there. They’re outgrowing that campus, that will continue to be a very major presence. They now have some employees, for instance, in the West End in St. Louis Park, and they are looking to grow in other places,” Rybak said.

And he added that the Viking stadium’s front yard would be a good spot to start.

“They’ve made no commitment about whether they would move other tennants from other parts of the country here, but they are growing very rapidly,” Rybak said. “So we would much rather create the capacity here than have that created in Iowa or California.”

Here’s what the neighborhood will look like after they leave. (Click for the full gallery)