Minneapolis to spend $4.8 million on temporary police station

The fire-scared-entrance to the Minneapolis police 3rd Precinct building.
The fire-scared-entrance to the Minneapolis police 3rd Precinct building is shown in the wake of protests in the May 25 killing of George Floyd on May 30 in Minneapolis.
David Joles | Star Tribune via AP file

The city of Minneapolis plans to rent an office building for at least three years to serve as a temporary headquarters for police displaced from the 3rd Precinct. 

Rioters stormed the precinct and set fires May 28 after Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo ordered officers to evacuate. Since then, staff have been working remotely and at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

A council committee on Thursday signed off on a proposal to spend $1.2 million per year to sublease a building that's a half mile to the north at 2633 Minnehaha Avenue. Taxpayers would front an additional $1.2 million to adapt the facility for police use. The proposed agreement also includes a provision to extend the lease through July 2024. It goes before the full City Council Aug. 28. 

Wayzata, Minn.-based Lothenbach Properties owns the building. It was most recently home to the printing company Imagine Express, which decided last January to relocate.  

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Council member Cam Gordon said renting temporary space will give city leaders time to figure out what to do with the old headquarters.

“One of the things I think this lease will give us is some space and some breathing room in terms of what we’ll do with the 3rd Precinct building itself, and that’s been a topic of great discussion,” Gordon said.

Council member Alondra Cano, whose ward includes the 3rd Precinct, said she doesn't want to see the old building reopened. 

The lease agreement comes as city leaders continue to debate the future of the Minneapolis Police Department. A supermajority of council members wants to disband the agency and replace it with a new community safety department that would not be required to have sworn officers. 

Such an overhaul would require changing the city charter, but earlier this month the Minneapolis Charter Commission blocked an effort to put the matter to voters.