Minneapolis council OKs downtown east plan

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An ambitious plan to revitalize the lackluster eastern section of downtown Minneapolis around the site of the new Vikings stadium continues to march its way downfield, the Star Tribune reports.

The City Council on Friday approved the proposal's fundamental concepts in a unanimous vote, and more council votes on specific aspects of the deal are likely in the fall, the newspaper reported.

It was only a few months ago that city leaders unveiled the $400 million plan to construct mixed-use development, including two 20-story office towers, parking lot and large public park on five square blocks of land owned by the Star Tribune near the new stadium, which is slated to be complete for the 2016 season.

It would be one of the largest real estate projects in Minnesota history, the newspaper has noted. The plan calls for 40,000 square feet of retail space and 300 housing units. Here's the project proposal (see the fly-through video below).

Details about the sale of the land from the newspaper company to project developer Ryan Cos. have not been disclosed, and a Star Tribune spokesman declined to comment. A city official told the newspaper the average land price is about $71 per square foot, making the 12.5 acres in question worth about $38.6 million.

The city would need to find $42 million for the parking ramp, and would buy the two blocks from Ryan Cos. to create the park, at roughly $23 million, the Pioneer Press notes. Money from the ramp could be used to pay back the money.

Among other unanswered questions: What should be done with Park and Portland avenues, which would otherwise cut through the park?

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