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Shovel-ready: $400 million Downtown East project gets off the ground

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It's a project that will reshape the look of downtown Minneapolis, and on Tuesday morning it officially moved off the drawing board and onto a construction site.

The Tuesday morning ceremonial groundbreaking provided another photo op of some of the state's top business and political leaders in hard hats and gripping shovels. They gathered to acknowledge the start of the massive project known as Downtown East. The Star Tribune's story notes that the $400 million mixed-use development is going up in connection with the new $1 billion Vikings stadium, already under construction. The Downtown East project is expected to be completed by spring of 2016, three months ahead of the stadium according to FOX 9.

KSTP reports that Gov. Mark Dayton, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and former Mayor R.T. Rybak, Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson and other dignitaries were part of the ceremony.

“The stadium was very, very important to revitalize this area, and this project is absolutely crucial to the redevelopment,” Dayton said.

“We want to make this the most-vibrant downtown in the country and the whole world because we have to aim big,” Hodges added.

WCCO reported that former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said the project is going to help create more than 3,000 jobs.

The five-acre Downtown East project includes two 18-story office towers for Wells Fargo, 24,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 193 apartments and a park that will span nearly two city blocks. It also includes a six-level parking ramp, to be owned by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

The Ryan Companies website offers the details of the project by the numbers. In a separate proposal, Ryan has also pitched building a Radisson Red hotel and 200 more apartments above the ramp.

The land for the project was acquired from a number of owners and developers, including a large parcel previously owned by the Star Tribune.

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