Upper Harbor Terminal Planning Process Update

City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) representatives provided a short informational update about the status of the Upper Harbor Terminal (UHT) planning process at the January 30 meeting of the Above the Falls Community Advisory Committee (AFCAC).

The City, MPRB and development team are working diligently to explore development concepts that appear viable and that can be shared with the community for input. It’s a complicated site, and the process is taking longer than originally anticipated, but progress is being made.

The full update is included below, and watch for future updates and meeting announcements once the concept and any options are ready for input.

If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for GovDelivery email updates on the UHT web site or watch for social media notices on Facebook, Twitter and NextDoor, as meetings may need to be adjusted. Information on the webpage and meeting notices also will provide more details about specific meetings and topics.

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please contact Cindy Anderson, canderson@minneapolisparks.org, 612-230-6472. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call Minnesota Relay System 711. Para asistencia 612-673-2700 – Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 – Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.

Update provided by MPRB and City representatives to AFCAC on January 30, 2018:

Since late November of 2017:

  • The November 30 meeting about housing development on the site was well-attended and included three hours of presentations and then discussions. The discussion included the topic of what housing mix the development should include, with the general conclusion that a mix of affordable and market would be appropriate. (A presenter noted that the proposed tax reform bill initially proposed to eliminate “private activity bonds” as an affordable housing tool, but it now can be reported that tool was saved in the tax reform bill that later was approved at the end of the year.)
  • A date is still being explored for a meeting and tour to introduce the newly-reactivated McKinley neighborhood group (and other interested members of the public) to the site and the project.
  • Staff has started the process of briefing the newly-elected City and Park Board officials about the project.
  • The City, staff and development team have held a series of meetings focused on several of the specific topics that impact project feasibility. These include: amphitheater financing, park and public space concepts, streets, utilities, financial feasibility analysis, the existing structures and the powerlines. The entire team will be meeting to explore plan options informed by these detailed meetings with the goal of identifying a range of viable options that then can be presented for community input, perhaps in late winter/early spring.
  • The development team continues to refine its concepts, and an initial traffic study is under way to inform the planning.
  • The City has hired a consultant to provide input on some of the infrastructure design questions and also to help refine the cost estimates.
  • An appraiser is updating information about land values in order to inform the feasibility analysis. The appraiser will be selecting the land sales that are considered comparable and will make adjustments as needed.
  • The City and Park Board continue to pursue their request for $15 million of State bond grant funding for Phase 1 infrastructure and park improvements. With matching funds, this could fund up to $30 million. As part of that process, the House and Senate capital investment committees, as well as staff from the Governor’s Office and the Office of Management and Budget, have now toured the site. The Park Board also discussed the request at its annual legislative breakfast. The UHT request was not included in the Governor’s proposed bonding bill (which focused on State and University assets and only included one local request). The UHT request is the City of Minneapolis’ top bonding priority this session. The actual language has not yet been drafted.
  • The City also will be seeking special State legislation that would allow tax increment financing to work as effectively as possible as a funding source.
  • DEED informed the City that its application for funding to assist the reconstruction of Dowling Avenue was not successful.