City Council committee approves N. Mpls. riverfront development 'concept plan'

Proposed development of Upper Harbor
The proposed development of Upper Harbor site in Minneapolis in 2016.
First Avenue

A 48-acre concept to develop the Mississippi riverfront in north Minneapolis is one step closer to reality after a key City Council committee approved it Tuesday.

The project, known as the Upper Harbor Terminal and in the works since 2016, has been met with community concern for months, and an earlier vote was delayed to seek more community feedback.

On Tuesday, after Mayor Jacob Frey and 4th Ward Council Member Phillipe Cunningham endorsed the plan in a Star Tribune op-ed column, the city's Economic Development and Regulatory Services Committee unanimously passed the plan in concept.

The plan calls for redeveloping the site, between the Lowry and Camden bridges, for more than a mile. It would include a First Avenue-operated amphitheater, a hotel, hundreds of homes and thousands of square feet for business. It also calls for an 18-acre park.

Some residents have said they feel shut out of the planning process, while others have said they worry the development will not offer residents jobs and opportunities.

Committee members Tuesday acknowledged they need to continue to get community feedback and vowed to do so.

In their statement, Frey and Cunningham defined the concept plan as "a working document that begins to imagine what could be on the land — not what will be there.

"The plan is designed to ensure that the north side economy benefits first from the project," Frey and Cunningham wrote in the Star Tribune column. "It is indeed centered on sustainable development."

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