City, Park Board seek developer for Upper Harbor Terminal

Leaders envision part of the former shipping terminal becoming a destination park.

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File image

The Park Board and City of Minneapolis are looking for a developer to revive the 48-acre Upper Harbor Terminal site in North Minneapolis into a new destination.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has been looking to redevelop the city-owned riverfront site — its largest parcel of developable land — located on the west bank north of Lowry Avenue since shipping ended there in 2014. The city’s planning staff and the board issued a request for qualifications in early August for a first phase of redevelopment.

The selected developer would work with the city and the board to coordinate a plan for private and park development. The development team would have exclusive rights to plan for the northern half of the site as a minimum, with the southern half left open as a possibility.

Among the city’s goals are creating a first-class regional park lining the site’s nearly one mile of riverfront land. During the first phase, the park would see parkway, bike and walking trail segments that would one day connect to the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway system. Chief among the park’s amenities would be a “riverfront-oriented destination” that could be a park feature, a restaurant or private amenity. A second phase is being planned for the southern half of the Upper Harbor Terminal.

Local leaders also envision the redevelopment addressing disparities in the nearby communities of North Minneapolis through new park amenities and employment opportunities in construction and private development.

“The Upper Harbor has the potential to transform North Minneapolis and its relationship to the river,” said Council President Barb Johnson, whose ward includes the site, in a statement. “I have confidence that we will see proposals that will offer entertainment, recreation, housing and economic development opportunities for this unique site.”

Responses are due by Oct. 14. The City Council and Park Board expect to announce their selection by early 2017.

“The City of Minneapolis is eager to work alongside the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board in selecting a developer that, with imagination and creativity, will work with us to transform this site into the world-class amenity that North Minneapolis needs and deserves,” Mayor Betsy Hodges said.

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