$340M in Mpls. Development Projects Hinge on Economic Growth

Updated: 10/30/2013 7:29 AM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

The city of Minneapolis embarks on an ambitious 2014, committed to $340 million in downtown development projects backed by taxpayers.

City officials believe the investments will bring more economic development, jobs and actually bring down property taxes in the process, but one economist has a word of caution for taxpayers who are backing these big projects with a combination of taxes and bond sales.

University of St. Thomas Economist Dr. David Vang says all of the projects hinge on continued economic growth.

"You can already see this huge debt load has affected the city of Minneapolis when its bond rating has slipped a little bit because of it," Dr. Vang tells KSTP.

Dr. Vang says he "cannot remember a time in the last 20 years when so many big public projects have converged at the same time in Minneapolis."

The projects are the Vikings Stadium, the Downtown East Development, Target Center renovation and trolley cars. All of them add up to about a $340 million dollar commitment backed by Minneapolis taxpayers.

Dr. Vang says, "If any of these projects were to fail, for any particular reason, Minneapolis taxpayers are obligated to pay the debt service on them ... If all of them succeed and bring in new development, jobs and new residents, then the taxpayers of Minneapolis will get a great return on their investment."

Most of these projects will start getting off the ground in 2014, but work is expected to start on the new Vikings Stadium before the end of 2013.

Minneapolis has its eye on millions more from the state for another major project.

The city is also asking for $25 million from the state in the 2014 bonding bill to help pay for a facelift to the Nicollet Mall. Click here for the full story.