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Update: Mayor gives blessing to developers picked for Upper Harbor Terminal project

The final design could end up quite different from the early proposal.

The Minneapolis mayor appears to be onboard with United Properties leading the way in the redevelopment of the Upper Harbor Terminal.

Betsy Hodges has concurred with decisions by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and City of Minneapolis to select United Properties as the master developer for this possible project, according to a news release Friday. (Note: GoMN is owned by Pohlad Companies, which also owns United Properties.)

THOR Development and First Avenue Productions are also involved as developers.

The decisions from the city council and park board mean their staff members can negotiate a three-party exclusive rights agreement with the developers. That agreement will help guide things from then on – formulating a coordinated plan and implementation strategy, with community input.

It should be noted: this doesn't mean the original plan – which includes park lands, housing, restaurants, business space, an amphitheater, and manufacturing buildings – is approved.

That early proposal can act as a "starting point ... but extensive community input remains to be completed, and many factors need to be thoroughly evaluated to determine what will actually be feasible and desirable," the release says.

In fact, there will be a community open house from 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board headquarters. You'll be able to learn more and give feedback there.

Hodges in a statement said she's "very excited" to work with those developers, calling it "a once-in-a-generation opportunity for North Minneapolis with much yet to be done, so the community should and will continue to be fully involved in what happens at Upper Harbor."

Meanwhile council member Lisa Goodman of Ward 7 said she's "impressed" the companies have "banded together to try and get this complicated project started; if anyone can succeed they will!"

The original story from Jan. 5 is below.

You might remember all that talk a few months ago about the possible amphitheater (plus a bunch of other development) along the Mississippi River in north Minneapolis.

Well hey, there's some movement on it this week.

Two committees – one that's part of the Minneapolis City Council and the other from the Parks and Recreation Board – gave their early blessings to the developer selection at meetings this week.

And what is the project? A total redevelopment of the city's Upper Harbor Terminal area, a 50-acre stretch of traditionally industrial land that these groups want to turn into a space with park lands, housing, restaurants, business space, an amphitheater, and manufacturing buildings. There are more details on the plan's website, Upper Harbor Minneapolis.

So is the project definitely happening? No. There's still a long, long way to go, with plenty more committees and councils who need to OK everything.

Essentially, this week's approvals allow United Properties to lead redevelopment of the land – as long as everyone involved can negotiate an exclusive rights agreement. United Properties could be working with construction company THOR Development, First Avenue Productions, plus some architecture, engineering and design firms.

So what happens next?

According to the website, the committees' approvals will be considered by both the full City Council (Jan. 13) and then the full Park Board (Jan. 25). After that, if it keeps getting the thumbs up, it'll go to Mayor Betsy Hodges.

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