The University Avenue Southeast corridor between Minneapolis and St. Paul could soon see transit-oriented development projects originally envisioned as a result of the construction of a nearly $1 billion light rail line.
About a year after officials completed Metro Transit’s Green Line light rail, city leaders are looking to mark the little-utilized Prospect Park North
region as the University Avenue Innovation district
, the first of its kind in Minneapolis. Proponents hope to turn the area into a hub for jobs and housing, said Haila Maze, principal planner for the city.
“The area around Prospect North is a little quiet,” she said. “It’s a lot of older industrial buildings and transitional spaces without a lot going on.”
The Prospect Park redevelopment would be the area’s first in a potential series of similar projects, Maze said. Specific project plans are still in the planning stages.
The Minneapolis City Council is set to officially adopt the project next week. The St. Paul City Council passed a similar resolution supporting the redevelopment last month.
The project, which is organized through the Prospect North Partnership
, includes more than a dozen public and private organizations like Minneapolis, St. Paul, the University of Minnesota’s College of Design and Xcel Energy.
“There’s a unique chemistry that’s drawn these parties together,” said Ward 2 City Councilman Cam Gordon, whose district includes the Minneapolis portion of the project.
After construction of the Green Line — which connects downtown St. Paul to the University and downtown Minneapolis — the corridor became a sought-after area for developers because of the potential of transit-oriented development, Maze said.
She also said residents recognized the potential the area possessed.
“We had some very thoughtful and proactive neighborhood residents in Prospect Park who really saw that area as being different than what it is now,” Maze said.
Gordon said he hopes development creates additional jobs and housing and brings more property taxes for the city. He said there’s also an opportunity to test new ideas that could be replicated elsewhere.
“There’s enormous potential for this area,” Gordon said.