Wells Fargo commits to $300 million pair of Minneapolis office towers

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Wells Fargo has signed an agreement to build two downtown Minneapolis office towers in a deal worth $300 million.

The Business Journal reports an April groundbreaking is planned for the connected towers that will give Wells Fargo 1.1 million square feet of new office space. The Business Journal says Wells currently has 7,000 employees spread over 14 different downtown buildings. 5,000 of those workers will be consolidated in the new buildings.

The towers are at the heart of a redevelopment plan for the eastern end of downtown, adjacent to the site of the new Vikings stadium. As the Pioneer Press reports, the Downtown East development also includes a new park that will occupy nearly two blocks, a 1,600-stall parking ramp, 400 housing units, and more than 20,000 square feet of retail space.

The project spearheaded by the developer Ryan Cos. will occupy five blocks now owned by the Star Tribune. That newspaper reports the sale of the land is expected to close on Dec. 27.

Twin Cities Business reports the Star Tribune then plans to lease the space back from Ryan Cos. until the newspaper moves its operations.

Twin Cities Business also spoke with outgoing Mayor R.T. Rybak, who remembered that Wells Fargo executives had come to him a couple of years ago saying they wanted to build a campus but expected they would need to look to the suburbs to find an appropriate site. Rybak tells the magazine he pointed Wells toward the Star Tribune site.

Now that Wells Fargo is officially on board, the remaining hurdles for the Downtown East development are few. One of them is a lawsuit challenging the Minneapolis city council's authority to buy the land for the park.

The suit was filed by two former mayoral candidates and a former city council member. The Pioneer Press reports they argued in court this week that only the city's Park and Recreation Board has the authority to create parks. The newspaper says the judge is expected to rule before Dec. 27.

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