Mpls. City Council to Vote on Downtown East Development Project

Created: 12/13/2013 7:27 AM By: Jennie Olson

Downtown East Development Project
Downtown East Development Project
Photo: Photo: Ryan Companies

The Minneapolis City Council will vote Friday on funding for a massive project next to the new Vikings stadium.

The project would create a large park and parking ramp, called the Downtown East Development Project.

Opponents of the city's proposal to finance $57 million for a parking ramp and park land filed suit claiming it exceeds the amount the city council authorized to spend on the stadium. The stadium bill passed by the legislature requires $150 million from the city of Minneapolis.  

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim the additional $57 million is also a contribution to the stadium. "Bottom line, we just want to make sure this deal is done right and there's proper transparency and that the taxpayers are represented here," Stephanie Woodruff, a former mayoral candidate and a plaintiff in the suit, said.

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal says this is an economic development deal separate from the stadium.

"The city has no interest in providing any additional support to the stadium," she said after the court hearing.

She does acknowledge the parking ramp in the Downtown East development will be used by the Vikings on game days and it will be operated by the stadium authority. However, she says the city will own the ramp and all revenue will flow to the city to pay off the bonds used to build the ramp and buy park land.

The city council is expected to approve funding, but it’s not likely that any final contracts will be signed until the judge rules next Tuesday.

Ryan Companies, which is developing the Downtown East Development Project, says it has two weeks from Friday to close the deal.