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MINNEAPOLIS - Optimism ran high on Tuesday from Minneapolis' mayor.

"Well, dog days are over for East downtown," said Mayor R.T. Rybak.

Drawings released depict oneof the largest redevelopments in Minneapolis history.

The combination project will include office, residential, retail, parking, skyways and a new downtown park.

The $400 million redevelopment planincludes five blocks, currently dominated by surface parking lots, between downtown and the new stadium.

The project will be developed on land currently owned by the StarTribune, which is actively planning to relocate downtown.

"The remaining (StarTribune) building presents inflexible limitations for our company. For some time now, well before this specific development proposal was presented to us, StarTribune has aspired to move our headquarters," Mike Klingensmith, publisher and CEO said.

The redevelopment will include two 20-story office towers on the two blocks bounded by 3rd and 4th Streets South and Park and 5th Avenues South. It's estimated that the office space would support up to 6,000 jobs.

The plan also includes a 1,328-stall skyway-connected parking structure on the McClellan block, which would accommodate office workers, game day fans, stadium event spectators and the general public 365 days a year.

There will be 40,000 square feet of retail space and about 300 rental-housing units.

Another major piece of the project is called The Yard, a new park in the heart of the emerging Stadium area on the two blocks between Park and 5th Avenues South and 4th and 5th Streets South.

"It's almost impossible if you're standing here today to imagine how this area is going to change is just a few years," said Ryan Companies Vice President Rick Collins.

The project could generate $3.5 million or more in total property taxes in the first year, including $1 million for the city of Minneapolis.

Under the current financing plan, Ryan Companieswould beresponsible for office, housing and retail space without TIF.

"Clearly from the very beginning, people did not want to hear the words Tax Increment (Financing)and we're not hearing it. We're hearing property tax revenue for the city of Minneapolis," said Council President Barb Johnson.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority will be responsible for the cost of the skyway system.

City bonds will be issued to finance a new parking structure and The Yard. The city's participation would be repaid in part with revenues from new parking structure and other parking facilities in the area.

"The city will not be writing a check for anything," Johnson said.

At least one downtown resident thinks the plan is almost a perfect fit.

"You just need a school now and you'd have just about everything you need," said Nate Scott.

City leaders and developers will still need council approval on the plan. If passed, it's expected to be completed in time for the opening of the new stadium in 2016.

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