The City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park Board have selected a development team to redevelop the Upper Harbor Terminal site. The team, made up of three companies, will be responsible for the planning and construction of the 48-acre site along the Mississippi River in North Minneapolis.
United Properties, THOR Development and First Avenue Productions are all local firms with experience developing and managing area properties. Their selection to the development team was approved by the City Council and Minneapolis Park Board in January.
While the three companies will lead the transformation of the Upper Harbor Terminal site, they will do so only with extensive community input. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for North Minneapolis with much yet to be done,” noted Mayor Betsy Hodges, “so the community should and will continue to be fully involved in what happens at Upper Harbor.”
A public review and comment period was kicked off with a January 31 open house at Minneapolis Park Board headquarters. The starting point for discussions: A development proposal prepared by United Properties, Thor Construction and First Avenue Productions last year—before they were officially selected for the development team.
In the document, the team proposed a site that serves as a cultural destination while benefiting surrounding neighborhoods. An amphitheater would seat up to 10,000 people. Green spaces would surround the amphitheater, and a riverwalk would extend the length of the site. Up to 1,000 housing units would be included and potentially 400,000 square feet of retail, office and manufacturing space.
The development group sought to address concerns expressed by residents in meetings last year that the site would draw people in without helping local communities. “Our goal,” the proposal reads, “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.”
Equity has been a major focus of the Minneapolis Park Board in recent months. Redevelopment of the Upper Harbor Terminal site is seen as a great opportunity to address disparities in the park access in racially diverse and economically disadvantaged areas.
“The Upper Harbor Terminal site represents an unprecedented opportunity to unlock public riverfront access in North Minneapolis,” said Park Board Superintendent Jayne Miller. “We are thrilled to keep moving forward in our mission to provide equitable access to Minneapolis’ world-class environmental resources.”
City Council President Barbara Johnson noted the community benefits the site’s redevelopment could carry. “This is a well-known, highly regarded development team that has provided us with an exciting vision for the Upper Harbor,” she said. “I look forward to the opportunities this project will bring for North Minneapolis.”
Mayor Hodges also expressed optimism in the project’s eventual impact for the area. “I look forward,” she said, “to the day when the residents of North Minneapolis have full access to the beautiful riverfront, world-class amenities, and the many economic opportunities that this redevelopment has the potential for.”
Those unable to attend the Upper Harbor Terminal open house earlier this year continue to have the opportunity to offer their input as the planning process unfolds. Visit upperharbormpls.com to complete a survey on the site’s development, sign up for email alerts, and learn about future public meetings.