Minneapolis reveals ambitious downtown park, development plan - FOX 35 News Orlando

Minneapolis reveals ambitious downtown park, development plan

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  • 38 photos of new Vikings stadium design

    38 photos of new Vikings stadium design

    Tuesday, May 14 2013 9:07 AM EDT2013-05-14 13:07:52 GMT
    On Monday night, fans and team leaders gathered at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis to unveil the chosen design for the new stadium that will become the new home of the Minnesota Vikings.
    On Monday night, fans and team leaders gathered at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis to unveil the chosen design for the new stadium that will become the new home of the Minnesota Vikings.
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Drawings of the new Vikings stadium were unveiled on Monday, and the city of Minneapolis wasted no time showing off their plans to develop the area around it on Tuesday.

Officials say the timely reveal was partially by design.

"To answer the critics who say, 'this was the wrong place for the stadium,' 'nothing has happened around the Metrodome' -- well, it took a day," Barb Johnson, president of the Minneapolis City Council, said.

When the Metrodome opened its doors 31 years ago, it was predicted that it would inspire development in the eastern downtown area. At the time, now-Mayor RT Rybak was a newspaper reporter.

"I worked in the building one block over at the Star Tribune, covering the Dome going up," he recalled. "I remember people saying, 'Will anything ever get built around here?" For years and years, we would all say, 'Well, I don't think so.'"

From the parking lot of the Star Tribune, the city showed off their vision to ensure that history does not repeat itself.

"Dog days are over for east downtown," Rybak said. "Today, we are announcing one of the largest redevelopments in the history of Minneapolis."

The plan calls for a two-block public park for fans on game days, but the city envisions it as a major green space the rest of the time. It will be bordered by two parking ramps that the city of Minneapolis will pay $65 million for and later use the revenue to pay off bonds.

"The city was schizophrenic when the Dome was built. On one end, they wanted redevelopment but they were also, I think rightfully, focused on the idea of not stretching out downtown -- have a compact core," Rybak explained. "With the tough competition in suburban areas, they wanted to keep growth all in one area. We're a much bigger city now, much more vibrant, lots of people living downtown. So, we can spread out a little bit here, and we do not want to have a whole other generation looking at a bunch of parking lots in an area that connects the University to downtown and the river and Eliot Park. This is prime development land and now it really will be."

In many ways, the green space is the centerpiece of the city's grand vision. With movies in the summer and ice skating in the winter, Rybak has already nicknamed the area "the yard," as in "backyard."

"It should be a park unlike any other city," he said.

The park would be framed by two office buildings, which also include 300 apartment units, to be built and financed by Ryan Companies on the land the Star Tribune will sell to the developer because the newspaper's owner believes it's time to move anyway.

"Our business continues to evolve and these headquarters are no longer ideally suited to our current business," said Mike Klingensmith, publisher.

Ryan Companies hopes to have the sale finalized with the Star Tribune by the end of the year and break ground by spring. Wells Fargo is expected to be a major tenant of the office space.

While the vision still needs approval from the City Council, city leaders hope is that it will be completed by the time the stadium opens in 2016.

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