Sam Black, over at the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, says the Star Tribune is starting to eye alternate office space if the expected Ryan Cos. deal for the paper's land pans out.
Black describes the search as focusing on nearby downtown properties, some of them well known:
"Sources familiar with the search say the paper is seeking between 100,000 and 130,000 square feet in a building with ample parking. It's looking for space that will be available in mid-2014. There aren't a lot of options that fit that criteria, but a few possible buildings include 111 Washington Ave. S., Block E, and the vacant former Neiman Marcus space in Gaviidae Common, according to sources."
The prospects for the Strib land bubbled up at last months of the city of Minneapolis' stadium implementation committee, where several members asked Minneapolis CPED deputy director Chuck Lutz -- in public -- what Wells Fargo was planning to do with the site. Lutz hushed the committee, but said he could offer some insight regarding the-occupant-he-would-not-name, also known as "the corporate user," who might do the following:
Take 1 million square feet of office space
Look at Bloomington and Brooklyn Park locations
Be "shifting national operations" and "consolidating in Minneapolis."
Be "consolidating a business line"
Bring "net 5,000 new employees to Minneapolis"
"It's new," he said. Lutz later corrected himself saying that some of those jobs "will be moving from the Phillips campus," reinforcing the speculation that the prospect for the site might be Wells Fargo Home Mortgages, currently based in Des Moines, but also occupying the former Honeywell campus in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis.
For its part, Wells Fargo isn't interested in discussing its prospects, either for the Strib site or the Phillips campus, or even if a move is afoot. Here's what the company told MPR's Annie Baxter when she poked around on the subject:
"As a major employer in the Twin Cities, we continually evaluate our space needs to provide the best facilities for team members and customers. As this is a continual process, we don’t have any specific information to share at this time."