ID=9053999ID=9054059MINNEAPOLIS - With the throw of a shovel, ground broke Tuesday on one of the most significant downtown projects in Minneapolis history.

The $400 million development includes two 17-story buildings that will house residential, retail and office space. Nearly two city blocks will be dedicated for an urban park which will act as a gateway to the Vikings stadium, currently under construction.

"Our role as a developer and builder is not to build buildings, it's to build neighborhoods and communities," said Pat Ryan, CEO of Ryan Companies.

Ryan Companies is developing the land and Wells Fargo has agreed to buy the 1.1 million square feet of office space. The bank plans to base 5,000 employees there when the project is complete in 2016, which amounts to 25 percent of its Minnesota workforce.

"This is so wonderful for the city and state and we're committed to this part of the world," said Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf.

Stumpf grew up on a dairy farm in Pierz, Minn. and his attendance was previously unannounced.

"It's an easy thing for me to do and it's wonderful to be back home," said Stumpf.


Also in attendance at Tuesday's groundbreaking were two mayors. Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who was instrumental in securing the project, and current Mayor Betsy Hodges who is seeing it through.

"It helps revitalize and re-energize," said Hodges.

"What I really hope this does is challenges us to keep building big," said Rybak.