A deal to build a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings passed two big hurdles on May 7 and 8, when the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate approved a public subsidies package for a Downtown Minneapolis roofed facility.
The House voted 73 to 58 and the Senate voted 38 to 28.
As of press time, the Senate and House bills were headed to a conference committee made up of three representatives and three senators. That committee will iron out differences between the bills and then send a final bill back to both houses.
After that, it would be up to the Minneapolis City Council to approve the city’s portion of the subsidies — $150 million for construction and $189 million for operations. Seven City Council members have signed letters of support for the deal.
Voting yes for the House bill on May 7 were 40 DFLers and 33 Republicans. Voting yes for the Senate bill were 22 DFLers and 16 Republicans.
Only two Minneapolis representatives — Minority Leader Paul Thissen (63A) and Bobby Jo Champion (58B) — voted for the bill. Sen. Linda Higgins (58) was the lone Minneapolis senator to vote for the bill.
Minneapolis representatives voting against the bill included Frank Hornstein (60B), Marion Greene (60A), Susan Allen (61B), Karen Clark (61A), Jean Wagenius (62B) Jim Davnie (62A), Phyliss Kahn (59B), Diane Loeffler (59A) and Joe Mullery (58A).
Minneapolis Senators Kari Dziedzic (59), Jeff Hayden (61), Scott Dibble (60) and Patricia Torres Ray (62) also voted against the bill.
The Minneapolis Planning Commission voted in favor of rezoning Mulroy’s Auto Body from residential to C2, allowing the owners house tenants and proceed with a renovation.
The rezoning was approved on May 7 with a 7 to 1 vote, even though city staff recommended the Commission deny the request made by owners Pat and Donna Mulroy.
“I can’t see the public interest in chasing this business out of Minneapolis,” said City Council Member Gary Schiff, who also serves on the Planning Commission. “An auto body shop with solar panels? Are you kidding me? I’ve never seen a more green business.”
Mulroy’s was denied a rezoning request when the couple bought the building at 3920 Nicollet Ave. S. in 2004. They couple has been operating with a nonconforming use since.
“I think things have changed in 10 years,” Pat Mulroy said. “I think the atmosphere is more pro-business, and I’d like to think that all the things that we’ve done around there finally showed that we’re a good neighbor, and we have a good track record.”
Mulroy’s was also approved for a conditional use permit to allow for a shopping center. The Mulroys had been leasing space to three tenants in the building before the city told them the tenants would have to leave until the couple was approved for rezoning.
Pat Mulroy said he expects to complete the renovation next year, during the reconstruction of Nicollet Avenue, and to hopefully have tenants back in after that. He also plans to build a geothermal system under his parking lot.
“It’s unfortunate that all my tenants weren’t able to stay there,” he said. ‘They all had to change their entire lives.”
City staff had recommended denial because of concerns over what a C2 zoning would allow so close to a neighborhood.
“The rezoning to C2 would also introduce redevelopment possibilities that could be detrimental to the public health, safety, comfort or general welfare, because of their character or scale,” the staff report stated.
Reach Nick Halter at [email protected]