Updated: 03/19/2014 7:36 AM
Created: 03/18/2014 4:58 PM KSTP.com
By: Stephen Tellier
A key piece of the Downtown East development in Minneapolis, adjacent to the new Vikings stadium that's currently under construction, is now one step closer to coming to fruition.
At a Minneapolis City Council committee meeting on Tuesday, the Ryan Companies' plan for a $101 million development on top of a parking ramp was approved. The proposal now heads to the full council, which is expected to approve the plans next week.
Block 1 would be just across the intersection of 4th Street South and Chicago Avenue from the new stadium, and would be just one element of the Downtown East development, which already includes two office towers, apartments, retail space, and a two-block public park.
"We're very excited about everything that's going on in the area, and we're certainly looking to put an exclamation point at the end of an already incredible change to downtown Minneapolis," said Tony Barranco, vice president of development for Ryan Companies.
A 1,600-space parking ramp is already slated to be built in the Block 1 spot. Ryan wants to build a 150-room, technology-focused Radisson Red hotel on top of that ramp, and above that, a 200-unit apartment tower. Block 1 would also include a large restaurant-sized space on the corner of 4th and Chicago -- mere feet from the new stadium.
"The rule of thumb, I think, in this particular scenario is, more is better. In this case, we have more eyes on the park with 150 hotel units and 200 residential units, and we have more money to the city," said Jacob Frey, a Minneapolis council member, during Tuesday's meeting.
The city estimates the financial benefits of Block 1 over 25 years at about $20 million.
"Seeing 40 acres being simultaneously redeveloped with nearly $2 billion of public and private investment, all at the same time, really has a chance to shape the downtown area," Barranco said. "I think it's going to be a great thing for the region and for the city."
Barranco said Ryan's biggest challenge now is to modify the plans for the parking ramp to ensure it can handle 17 stories of development on top of it. They have to submit those updated plans to the city next month, to make sure construction on the ramp can start on time --it's expected to begin later this year.