Upper Harbor Terminal Redevelopment moving forward

Plans to revitalize the Upper Harbor Terminal site have been outlined by a development group set on transforming the Mississippi riverfront between the Lowry and Camden bridges.

United Properties, Thor Construction and First Avenue Productions have combined efforts to draft a redevelopment proposal in response a call for submissions made by the city and the Minneapolis Park Board. The proposal aims to make the 48-acre Northside site a cultural destination that also delivers community benefits.

The centerpiece of the redevelopment proposal is an amphitheater that would seat up to 10,000 people. The facility would be managed by First Avenue Productions, parent company of the iconic downtown nightclub, and feature a diverse lineup of local and national performers.

Parkland would surround the amphitheater. A riverwalk would extend the full length of the site, allowing pedestrians and bicyclists to enjoy up-close views of the city’s defining natural resource. Planned park features also include a marina, an ice skating rink, a rock climbing wall, playgrounds, and concessions.

The city has long touted the Upper Harbor Terminal as a potential hotspot for future residential growth on the Northside. In response, the development group proposes including up to 1,000 housing units—possibly including a large residential tower.

Bringing more jobs to the area has also been a large focus in redeveloping the site. The proposal plans for a mix of enterprises meant to bring more prosperity to surrounding area, including:

  • 40,000 to 70,000 square feet of retail space
  • 100,000 to 150,000 square feet of office space
  • 180,000 square feet of manufacturing

In earlier planning phases of the Upper Harbor Terminal project, advocates expressed concern the site might bring in people from outside the community without benefiting Northside neighborhoods. The development group sought to address such concerns in its proposal.

“In its simplest form,” part of the document reads, “our goal is to create a unique and beloved place; a place that invites the region, but respects the wishes of the neighborhood and contributes to its quality of life—economic, social, and cultural.”

The project comes as the Park Board implements equity initiatives meant to address disparities in the park services and conditions in racially diverse and economically disadvantaged areas. Greater Mississippi River access for adjacent Northside neighborhoods is a priority in the proposal with a pedestrian footbridge set to span I-94 at 36th Avenue North.

The next step for the redevelopment proposal is city review early next year. If it is approved, additional planning will go into 2018 with construction planned for later that year. The amphitheater and public spaces would be the first developed.

One feature not set to change: the iconic storage domes (pictured) and silos that were part of the Upper Harbor Terminal’s operations. These and other structures will be preserved to reflect the site’s shipping history.

A public comment period is set for early next year, should the plan be approved by the city. This process may result in changes to site plans. Follow developments and sign up for email updates at upperharbormpls.com.