Today’s Star Tribune confirms the plan brought to light a week ago, that the City of Minneapolis is summoning a hibernating secret agent with bond-issuing superpowers to issue $65 million in debt to support the Ryan project. The Star Tribune (which, of course, will benefit handsomely from the sale of four blocks of Downtown East real estate) seems to have the only information available on the entire Internet about the Minneapolis Port Authority.
If you thought an entity authorized by the legislature to bond tens of millions of dollars and change the face of our city’s built environment would be easier to find online than a Minneapolis book club that drinks port wine, you’d be mistaken.
Of course! Secret agents are secret. They don’t show up in Google. We’re dealing with Agent Bond-Issue.
What do we know about Agent Bond-Issue?
According to the Star Tribune piece, the Port Authority will designate an “industrial development district” for the project area. What qualifies? Parcels which suffer from “1) faulty planning causing deterioration, disuse, or economic dislocation; and 2) lack of use or improper use of areas, resulting in stagnant or unproductive land…”
Never mind that the reason why this neighborhood suffers from blight while the riverfront two blocks north is thriving is because of proximity to the existing Metrodome stadium and institutional land uses, a property tax which favors land speculators holding empty lots, failed 80’s-era industry/technology special zoning, and post-WWII land clearing for freeways and gateway renewal.
The city’s port authority, intended to spur development in industrial districts, has been used just twice in recent history. The city used it to issue $25 million in bonds to rebuild the city’s downtown bus terminal in 1997. It used it again to issue $33 million in debt for a parking lot adjacent to the Guthrie Theater.
Mistaken mission, Agent Bond-Issue?
Bond-Issue, also known in MI6 as Agent 00$65million, is supposed to save our city from “1) faulty planning causing deterioration, disuse, or economic dislocation; and 2) lack of use or improper use of areas, resulting in stagnant or unproductive land…” The problem is, Agent 00-$65million keeps giving us parking ramps. And parking ramps fit this definition of marginal property to a T.
Agent Bond-Issue, the Minneapolis Port Authority, needs a new dossier from M: Our city isn’t asking to be saved by parking ramps, it’s asking to be saved from parking ramps.