A plan to redevelop much of Stadium Village was approved by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents last week.
The East Gateway Project, a redevelopment venture sought by the University of Minnesota Foundation, would dramatically change the look of the eastern portion of campus. The regents approved a resolution to move forward with the project, including transferring control of land from the University to UMF. The plan was met with support from some regents, while others questioned its implications for campus.
“Today we move from vision to action with a plan to help transform the east edge of campus, creating a world-class gateway fitting of this world-class University,” said UMF president Kathy Schmidlkofer at the meeting. “And we are ready.”
As part of the resolution approved at the meeting, the University would also acquire UMF-owned land, including property near M Health Fairview, which is proposed to become part of the University’s future clinical campus.
The East Gateway Project will encompass buildings that currently house the Minneapolis Fire Station 19, Stub and Herb’s, Raising Cane’s and others. The project is the product of a partnership, called Visus, between the UMF subsidiary, the University of Minnesota Foundation of Real Estate Advisors, and the developer Marquette, LLC.
The project envisions increased public areas, more green space, improved transit infrastructure and added commercial and residential uses, according to meeting documents.
“This doorstep is in need of a new identity,” Schmidlkofer said. “We saw the challenge, and we embraced this opportunity.”
In December, UMF presented early renderings and project details to the regents, causing concern over how new development could replace — and possibly not return — affordable student housing.
But other regents at Friday’s meeting said the project is a promising vision for the eastern portion of campus.
“I’m struck by the fact that we need what this project and its vision will deliver,” said Regent David McMillan at the meeting. “We need space for innovation … and engagement.”
Regents Darrin Rosha, Michael Hsu and Randy Simonson voted no to the project proposal. Dissenting voices cited concerns over losing both the University’s autonomy of the land, which allows the school to bypass some city planning requirements, and the regents' oversight of the property.
“That members of the board would divest themselves of the ability to defend … to protect and pursue the University's interest is quite stunning,” Rosha said in an interview with the Minnesota Daily.
Following the approval, the UMF will direct and fund the project’s design and completion. A special committee, containing both members of the UMF and regent-appointed members, will have the authority to recommend final concept plans, accompanying transactions, selection of developers and leasing terms to UMF approval. In exchange, the UMF will provide regular reports to the regents, according to the Friday meeting’s docket.
Rosha put forth an amendment that included holding on to some regent control over decision-making in the land use, but it was voted down.
“I’m concerned about the process that this has taken,” said Hsu during the meeting. “I’m not opposed to a project — I’m opposed to what I’ve heard about this project.”
The project was proposed in four phases, starting across from TCF Bank Stadium. Development will span up to 20 years. UMF expects to have conversations with the city in the spring.
J.D. Duggan contributed to this report.