Downtown Mpls. plan envisions stadium, sports district, mass transit

Washington Avenue Bridge
The Minneapolis Downtown Council's long-term plan for downtown includes greening the Washington Avenue Bridge connecting Downtown East and the Mills District to Seven Corners and the University of Minnesota.
Artist's rendering courtesy the Minneapolis Downtown Council

A new vision for downtown in 2025 unveiled by the Minneapolis Downtown Council Wednesday includes doubling the number of urban residents, increasing green spaces and mass transit, and a sports district that includes a new Vikings Stadium.

The council wants a critical mass of sports venues, entertainment and hospitality built around the transportation hub created to serve Target Field.

Council president and CEO Sam Grabarski said two spots on the west end of downtown, near the Farmer's Market and Target Field would work well for a new Vikings stadium.

"There's a great opportunity there," he said.

The Council's Viking's stadium plan is at odds with that of Mayor R.T. Rybak who favors using the Metrodome site. Grabarski said the Council is open to option but prefers using that site for residential development.

Hennepin County Board Chair Mike Opat said the county welcomes the partnership of the council in dreaming big for Minneapolis in an era of shrinking public resources.

Linden Avenue stadium concept
A concept photo of how a new Minnesota Vikings stadium would appear on a site just south of the Farmer's Market in Minneapolis.
Courtesy of AECOM

One of the more ambitious goals calls for Minneapolis to become the first major U.S. downtown to end street homelessness. Opat said Minneapolis has already made more headway on this than most metropolitan areas.

"This plan isn't about settling for just a little bit above average," Opat said, "This plan is not about good enough, it's about achieving greatness and when you achieve greatness you end homelessness."

The plan remains short on details for achieving its goals. It does estimate the price tag would be about $2 billion that would come from public and private sources.

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