The Hennepin County board voted Thursday to approve a $67-million transit hub near Target Field -- a project that aspires to be the Minneapolis version of Grand Central Terminal.
The primary goal of The Interchange is to alleviate logjams on the northwest side of Target Field, but the project would also put another public park and retail space on the north end of downtown.
The county was awarded a $10 million federal grant last December for the transit hub and plaza. A venture partnership between the Twins, Target Corp, and United Properties will kick in an additional $1.7 million.
- Second platform for light rail transit - Public plaza connecting to the Target Field promenade - 288-stall parking ramp - The Cascade (an amphitheater and staircase) - Retail space - Landscaped area suitable for development
A project summary says: "The Interchange embodies the principles of Open Transit, which integrates all models of transit, is development oriented, focuses on architecture that can create iconic indoor and outdoor spaces, appeals to passengers, residents, office workers and visitors alike, as well as integrating culture with transit."
As well as connecting the light rail lines with the North Star commuter rail, the hub will also house the new Metro Transit Police Station. The agency is spending $10 million on the relocation.
The green space will also have a giant video screen, and Twins president Dave St. Peter said the team is committed to making the plaza available year-round.
"Maybe a skating rink out here someday -- a lot of activities. Maybe for the neighborhood, maybe a movie night, some concerts," he mused. "I think there's a lot in store for this part of downtown."
The bigger plaza, which is already getting good reviews, would hopefully reduce congestion around light rail stops and also give the west side of the Twins ballpark a plaza like the east side has facing Hennepin Avenue.
The Interchange was always on the drawing board and construction is well under way, but the Thursday vote clears the way for even more additions. The hub is expected to open in the spring of 2014.