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New Development Spikes Around Super Bowl Host City's Stadium

As Super Bowl weekend fast approaches, the city of Minneapolis is buzzing — and not just in anticipation of an economic windfall as a result of the big game. 

U.S. Stadium Bank in Downtown East Minneapolis
U.S. Bank Stadium in Downtown East Minneapolis

Downtown Minneapolis has undergone a major transformation, particularly east downtown near U.S. Bank Stadium — host of the 2018 Super Bowl. The area, once a sea of open parking lots, now boasts a thriving business community with a live-work-play environment that city officials told Bisnow appeals to both young professionals and empty nesters alike.

Anchored by the Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium, Downtown East is also home to Wells Fargo & Co.’s new $300M office towers and a massive 4-acre park called The Commons.

"Really, it's a new neighborhood anchored by a new park [and] is one of the most exciting things done in downtown in a long time," City Community Planning and Economic Development Department Deputy Director Chuck Lutz said.

Downtown East Common and Wells Fargo Towers
Downtown East Commons and Wells Fargo Towers

The city has worked to redeem the area's image and reputation since approving the $400M Downtown East budget in December 2013. 

The Wells Fargo development, which came online in July 2016, features two 17-story towers that total 1.1M SF, and is the largest single-tenant project in downtown Minneapolis to come to fruition since Capella Tower in 1992.

The Commons, which is 4.2 acres of green space, was an added bonus further reflecting the renaissance taking place in the city, Lutz said.

Aiding in the revitalization of Downtown East is real estate developer Ryan Cos., which is spearheading the massive five-block, $588M redevelopment project that includes Wells Fargo’s two office towers. The project bridges central downtown to the new U.S. Bank Stadium, and includes 1.4M SF of office, 182K SF of residential (195 apartment units), 24K SF of retail and 228K SF of hotel (164 rooms). In April the developer unveiled its Millwright office building, which will house 500 of its corporate and regional employees. The 174K SF office is close to the light rail, the Commons and the Vikings' stadium.

Ryan Cos. Vice President of Real Estate Development Tony Barranco told the city the transformation taking place in Downtown East is unlike any urban development he has ever seen.

“Now we have to keep the momentum going and going,” he said. 

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Millwright Building Exterior, Ryan Cos.
Ryan Cos.' Millwright Building in Downtown East Minneapolis

Cranes dot the Downtown Minneapolis skyline as companies relocate to the area and inject capital into the local economy. 

Sherman Associates is building a mixed-use project at Washington and Chicago avenues slated to come online in the spring that will include two restaurants, a Trader Joe’s and 180 apartment units. 

Farther west in the Elliott Park neighborhood adjacent to East Town, development and construction firm Kraus-Anderson Cos. is spearheading several projects that will help energize the area formerly drowning in parking lots and low-income housing.

The company recently celebrated the completion of its new 100K SF five-story headquarters at Eighth Street and Fifth Avenue; it consolidated its Twin Cities operations and moved in October. The Kraus-Anderson development also includes its 17-story amenity-rich HQ Apartments on Portland Avenue, and its eight-story luxury hotel on the same block as its new headquarters. The developer broke ground on the 168-unit Elliot Park Hotel in July and it is slated to open its doors in the summer.

Something Old, Something New

The decision to construct U.S. Bank Stadium, which played a pivotal role in the city's initiative to revitalize Downtown East, was spurred by problems with the Vikings' former stadium — the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

The $55M Metrodome, completed in April 1982, was home to the Vikings and Major League Baseball's Minnesota Twins.

U.S. Bank Stadium
U.S. Bank Stadium

Though a major improvement from the Metropolitan Stadium that preceded it, the Metrodome was not free of its own issues. After 32 years of operation, the Metrodome could no longer accommodate the needs of Minnesota’s professional teams and was in dire need of an upgrade. In December 2010, the stadium suffered its fifth roof collapse following a severe winter that brought several inches of snow to the city. The collapse further fanned the flames of the two teams’ desire for a new and improved space. 

While the Twins relocated to Target Field in Minneapolis’ historic warehouse district in 2010, the city began working with the Vikings and architect HKS Inc. in Dallas on a replacement. 

In 2014 the Metrodome was razed to make way for U.S. Bank Stadium, which celebrated its grand opening in July 2016.

“The Metrodome was really inadequate for the needs of the Vikings long term, and Minneapolis, through the leadership at that time, wanted to make sure the Vikings didn't leave the area and go to some distant suburb,” Lutz said. “We decided it would make sense for the city to make a capital contribution to keep the [stadium] where it was.”

Owned by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the 66,400-plus-seat stadium includes the largest transparent roof in the nation, has seven levels and features six premium club spaces, two bars and 135 suites. The stadium is built to reflect the culture and climate of the city while simultaneously paying homage to Scandinavian designs, such as Viking longboats. 

The stadium and the development of Wells Fargo towers and Commons are estimated to generate $14.1M in property taxes for the city this year, boosting the city’s coffers by $3.5M. 

“I don’t believe the Downtown East development you see … would be there but for the stadium,” Lutz said.