Big changes may be coming to my corner of downtown Minneapolis. Yesterday, real estate developer Ryan Companies (owned by the family of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan) cleared the first administrative hurdle to begin construction on a major office and retail complex that would also include a park. It would be a welcome change to the east end of downtown, which is currently awash in a sea of drab parking lots. On weekends when I venture outside, my neighborhood can seem eerily deserted, so this project could restore some life to the area. And we certainly need the additional green space. Perhaps I’ll get my movie theater back as well.
Plenty of other pieces still need to fall in place before construction can begin, but it’s worth noting that this wouldn’t even be considered if not for the new Vikings stadium that will be built soon. I’m still not thrilled with public funding for a sports stadium, but perhaps this will be the rare case where a stadium will bring economic benefit to the surrounding area.