Updated: 07/02/2013 7:47 AM KSTP.com By: Mark Albert
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority on Monday unanimously approved entering into negotiations with Ryan Companies to develop two parking ramps and a signature park near the new Vikings stadium, the first portion of a hoped-for $400 million dollar development proposal to transform what's being called "Downtown East" into a hub of shopping, offices, apartments, and green space stretching to the east of the $975 million showcase stadium.
"It's going to be a game-changer," MSFA chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen told reporters after the meeting, saying 5,000 to 6,000 temporary construction jobs would be created.
A representative from Ryan Companies, based in Minneapolis, told the Authority members "thank you for the vote of confidence."
After the meeting, Rick Collins called the deal "an opportunity to re-develop a major area of downtown Minneapolis all at one time."
Monday's vote technically approved the parking structure development deal even though the details have not been finished, negotiations have not been completed, and no "term sheet" has been written.
"It is complicated," said Kelm-Helgen. "There won't be anything in writing that we can share with people at this point."
Asked whether she was concerned that the arrangement could be perceived as a lack of oversight since no further vote by the Authority would be required no matter what was ultimately negotiated between the Authority, Ryan Companies and the city of Minneapolis, Kelm-Helgen said since she and executive director Ted Mondale were representing the Authority in negotiations, they would ensure other members were aware of the final details. She then speculated that perhaps a vote could be arranged later as a "formality."
"I think everyone wins in the way it's been put together and I think it's going to be a huge benefit," Kelm-Helgen said.
The $975 million stadium is expected to break ground in October with Ryan Companies securing needed permits and approvals by November.
The company's plans include twin office towers with a tenant that has not yet been named, although Ryan has made no secret that Wells Fargo would be its ideal occupant. Still, "they've not made any commitment," Collins reiterated.
But that did not stop the Authority's two top officials from name-dropping.
Mondale at one point referred to the project as "this Ryan/Wells Fargo development," and in the question-and-answer session later, chairwoman Kelm-Helgen told reporters to "think of the construction work alone that will be done between the Wells Fargo towers, as well as the stadium."
Click here to read the agenda and the Authority's memorandum regarding Monday's action.