City Staff Recommends San Francisco Design Firm for Downtown East Park

The following article by Sam Black was published in the January 9, 2015 edition of the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal.

City Staff Recommends San Francisco Design Firm for Downtown East Park


downtown east

A rendering from Ryan Cos. US Inc. of the Downtown East development site plan.

The city of Minneapolis staff has selected Hargreaves Associates to design the Downtown East Commons, a 4.2-acre park that will be built near the new Vikings stadium. Hargreaves beat out 13 other contenders for the project.

The staff pick of San Francisco-based Hargreaves is only a recommendation to the Minneapolis City Council, which must approve the selection. The item is on the Jan. 14 agenda of the city’s Community Development and Regulatory Services Committee.

Hargreaves’ proposed fee is $1.8 million over three years, slightly under the average fee proposal. Proposals ranged from $1.07 million to $3.24 million, according to the seven-page staff memo laying out the recommendation.

The 12-company team put together by Hargreaves includes Damon Farber Associates and VJAA, both Minneapolis-based architecture firms.

Some of Hargreaves’ notable projects include Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, a 270-acre park in London, and Discovery Green, a 12-acre park in downtown Houston.

“The Hargreaves team has a strong portfolio of relevant experience, including work on highly programmed urban parks, work with sports interests, and work with iconic urban places that become known and loved by residents while contributing to the image of a city,” the staff memo stated.

The city expects the Commons to be completed in two phases. The first will coincide with the opening of the new stadium in the summer of 2016. Phase II will coincide with the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis.

City officials and Ryan Cos. US Inc., the lead developer of the Downtown East project, are still working on securing funding for the park. The budget presented in the city staff’s memo estimates the total construction will cost $18.7 million (including Hargreaves design fee).