The catalyst for the Downtown East project was multidimensional and included a range of participants, including the City of Minneapolis, State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Vikings, the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority, Wells Fargo, and the Star Tribune Media Co., among others – as well as a confluence of well-timed events that fell into place.
The City of Minneapolis, State of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Vikings combined to invest $1 billion into a new multi-purpose stadium. This investment included redevelopment of a 25-acre site around the stadium along with structured parking a short distance from the stadium to support events that could be available for other users on non-event days.
It’s ironic that a new parking ramp would be a key piece of the redevelopment of an area filled with surface parking. The ramp will be owned by the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA), and financed by the city and the MSFA. The ramp will be used by office workers during the week and by fans and visitors on game day and other events.
Another key piece that fell into place was the purchase of 12.5 acres of land from the Star Tribune. Ryan executives first sat down with Star Tribune representatives, including broker Russ Nelson of NTH, Inc., and Steve Stratton and Chris Roehr of Jones Lang LaSalle, in February 2012 to talk informally about ideas for the five-block site. It was a rare chance to acquire a large urban site from a single owner. The Star Tribune, anxious to sell the land for some time, was excited for the opportunity to move its headquarters to a new location within downtown Minneapolis.
Independent of those conversations, Minneapolis Mayor Rybak became aware in the fall of 2012 that San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. was considering Twin Cities’ suburban alternatives for a large campus expansion, and fostered the connection between Wells Fargo and Ryan.
The Ryan team recognized that the site as it currently sat, surrounded by surface parking lots, was not attractive enough for a corporate user to make a several-hundred-million-dollar-investment. Along with demonstrating the benefits of the location, Ryan decided to include a 4.2-acre urban park as the centerpiece of the project design.
Unique Project Funding Plan
Also helping move the project forward was Ryan’s proposed funding plan for the public components of the mixed-use redevelopment. Private investment in the office, retail space, and apartment units totals nearly $350 million. Leveraging that private investment, the public ramp, urban park, and skyway connections require public investment of approximately $84 million.
The Downtown East project will benefit from a wide array of transit options. The site has immediate access to passenger rail, bus, biking, pedestrian, and auto options that are unmatched in the Minneapolis market.
Residential and Retail
Ryan’s residential project will be comprised of three distinct buildings that will be operated as one project. Combined, the buildings will feature 193 premium apartments and 24,810 square feet of retail space.
Downtown East Phase II
Ryan is actively working on phase II of the Downtown East project which will include three adjacent development parcels. Two of the parcels are 1-acre rectangular pads adjacent to the north of the Wells Fargo towers. The third is an 18,000 square foot liner parcel on the south side of the MSFA parking ramp on block 1. Phase II will include additional residential, retail, hospitality, or office space.