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MINNEAPOLIS -- Executives at Ryan Companies sayplanning for themassive mixed use development next door to newVikings Stadium is picking up speed.

"We have generated a lot of momentum on many fronts, so now there are many people working to help us solve the issues prior to the end of the year," Rick Collins, Vice President of the Ryan Companies, told KARE Thursday.

"It's very unusual to be able to redevelop five blocks of an otherwise pretty well developed urban core all at one time."

The $400 million project, known as Downtown East development, will devote two city blocks tonewoffice, retail and residential space.Wells Fargo will most likely become the anchor for the office towers in the project.

Another two blocks will be transformed into a new urban park. In addition to providing much needed green space in downtown Minneapolis,is expected to generate more spinoff development, according to Collins.

"It will attract other private investment, so that we're just the start; we're not the end of what happens to transform downtown East."

Anew parkingramp, to be shared with the new stadium, will occupythe block. And it's that parking structure that makes the numbers work, when ifcomes to attracting a buyer for the new officetowers.

"The cost of providingall thatstructured parking would be cost-prohibitive to a company that otherwise might lookto locate in the suburbs," Collins explained.

The existing Hiawatha Light Rail, now known as the Metro Transit Blue Line, isalso an important factor that makesthe location attractive.

The footprint of the project now features what Collins referred to as a "sea of surface parking" andthreebuildings owned by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, including the newspaper's current headquarters.

Ryan plans to purchase the Star Tribune property on December 27, but before then must complete an environmental impact review that will gauge the project's impact on traffic levels, noise, air quality and storm drainage.

The company must also gain City approval for its Planned Urban Development, a regulatory hoop that combines planning, zoning and design approval. The Minneapolis City Council July 19th approved the conceptual framework of Downtown East.

"I give the credit to Ryan," Todd Klingel, President of the Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, told KARE.

"There's a real opportunity here to put a number a projects together and think big. And they did. And they've done that before."

Klingel said the Ryan project and the new Vikings stadium are intertwined because of the parking ramp that will be used by the office tenants on weekdays and football fans on Sundays during the season.

"The stadium needsa certain amount of parking as part of its agreement," he said.

"That parking, in turn, gives Ryan the impetus and wherewithal it needs to create the rest of the development."

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