MINNEAPOLIS (July 19, 2021) — The Upper Harbor Terminal Collaborative Planning Committee (UHT CPC), comprised of volunteer representatives from the community, has voted to approve the UHT Coordinated Plan. This represents the culmination of over four years of planning and community engagement work by the city, community and development team. The vote had two abstentions.
The UHT Coordinated Plan includes a mix of housing, community spaces and job-focused development that will also create a new 19.5-acre riverfront park, a 10,000-seat riverfront community performing arts center (CPAC), and new bike and pedestrian improvements that aim to reconnect the Northside neighborhoods to the Mississippi River. The UHT CPC also voted to recommend public ownership of the CPAC property, which was previously planned as a private development project with majority ownership by a First Avenue-controlled entity. Instead, the city will enter into a long-term management agreement with First Avenue. The plan now awaits approval by the Minneapolis City Council in late September. If approved, city infrastructure work, park improvements and phase 1 development construction is anticipated to start in spring 2023, with completion of phase 1 in summer 2024.
UHT CPC was formed in conjunction with the approval of the UHT Concept Plan on March 1, 2019, in response to community concerns that the concept plan did not fully address the needs of the Northside Community. The Minneapolis City Council recommended the creation of a dedicated group of community representatives that would collaborate with the development team to advance the plan and ensure that community perspective remained central to the process. UHT CPC’s volunteer work began June 30, 2019.
“The CPC was committed to seeing this through and making sure that the Draft Coordinated Plan was one that the community would be proud of,” said Markella Smith, a UHT CPC member. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with other individuals who had the best interest of the Northside at the forefront during this entire process. This development could spearhead changes in how the city and private developers conduct business in the future with other communities, but especially communities of color. I am immensely proud of the work we have done.”
“Since 2019, the UHT CPC, city and development team have tackled challenging and emotionally charged topics, including city policies and impacts on racial equity, economic disparities and equitable economic development, housing affordability, environmental justice, gentrification and displacement, and community wealth and ownership,” said Dayna Frank, First Avenue CEO and owner. She noted that UHT CPC volunteers have been meeting on average twice per month, with many meetings lasting three hours or longer.
During this process, a separate but collaborative community-led engagement process — the Community Learning Tables — was introduced by Pillsbury United and the Public Policy Project. The Community Learning Tables dove deeper into the topics the UHT CPC was addressing by bringing community voices and subject matter experts into the discussion. The monthly events attempted to bridge the divide between community, city and developer, and offered a chance for all parties to talk freely and directly about the challenges of finding common ground.
“The work of this group will never be fully appreciated, and anyone who has witnessed the amount of work knows the true impact this will have on the future of the city,” said Brandon Champeau, United Properties senior vice president & commercial development market leader. “The changes they demanded and the improvements they recommended have truly made this a community-driven plan. While this was never easy, I’m appreciative of the process and the way it gave us the time to present alternatives, discuss opportunity costs and ultimately to bring conviction to our decisions, and to know that we were advancing the best possible plan, given the constraints and requirements of each stakeholder. They sparked true change and progress toward more equitable development.
“I am personally humbled by the experience, depth of knowledge and perspective they brought to this process,” Champeau continued. “It is changing how we approach development, how we measure value creation — and I know it has laid seeds for systemic change to city policies and practices that will reverberate beyond the boundaries of this project, and for years to come.”
“The UHT CPC refused to accept status quo and found creative ways to continually make this development smarter, stronger and better than ever,” said Frank. “Because of their work, the Community Performing Arts Center will not only be a world-class place to enjoy entertainment on the Mississippi River, but a catalyst for community programming, local entrepreneurship, employment and youth development. I am amazed at their work and honored to have been a part of the process as they turned their passion to action.”
Called “the most consequential project in Minneapolis’ history” by Channon Lemon, a UHT CPC member, UHT is hailed as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a large-scale, community-building asset in North Minneapolis, grounded in a restorative approach toward racial justice that meets the needs, aspirations and priorities of the nearby residents.
The UHT Development team is currently seeking community partners to continue guiding redevelopment efforts to ensure they reflect the values of the Northside Community. Expressions of Interest (EOI) can be submitted through Aug. 15, 2021. For more information about the EOI, including a UHT project overview, partner role descriptions and role-specific qualifications, visit the UHT Redevelopment section at upperharbormpls.com.
About United Properties
United Properties has been creating deep roots in the commercial real estate industry for more than 100 years. The company imagines new possibilities in real estate to help enrich communities and create lasting legacies. United Properties provides market expertise for ground-up development, redevelopment and acquisitions of value-add and stable investments. The company invests in and develops office, industrial, retail, mixed-use and senior housing properties. United Properties is owned by the Pohlad Companies and is headquartered in Minneapolis, with offices in Denver and Austin, Texas. For more information, visit www.uproperties.com and follow on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
About the Upper Harbor Terminal project
Upper Harbor Terminal is a 48-acre site located on the Mississippi River. It formerly housed a barge shipping terminal that ceased operations in 2014. In 2016, United Properties responded to an RFP for the City of Minneapolis to imagine the possibilities of this site. Since then, the company has worked in partnership with the city and community to create an equitable development plan that meets the community’s needs and sets a precedent for how private development can align more intentionally with community values. For more information, visit www.upperharbormpls.com.