Dorm expansion continues through negotiations

Erin Madsen

The construction of a 150-room expansion to Middlebrook Hall on Minneapolis park land continues as the Minneapolis Park Board and the University negotiate a price for the land.
Amendments made to the language of a University agreement with the Minneapolis Park Board to purchase land encroached on by the construction clarified what role a proposed student internship with the Minneapolis Park Board would have in the process.
The alteration does not dismiss a prospective internship program in exchange for the land. It replaces the phrase, “pending completion of an internship program” with “understanding the completion of an internship program.”
Orlyn Miller, senior planner of Facilities Management, said University officials appreciated the board’s decision to clarify the initial agreement.
Miller said the word “pending” added confusion to the prospective land exchange.
“‘Pending’ made it sound that the exchange would not happen until the internship program was finished,” he said.
“It’s not that there isn’t a commitment issue by the University, but with all our best efforts there’s no guarantee that University students will be interested (in the program),” he added.
The construction oversight was first recognized by University officials in July when they hired a survey company to map a property line.
According to Don Archibeque, Facilities Management’s owners representative, discussions with the park board quickly followed.
Archibeque said he is confident the negotiations will result in the University’s acquisition of the 4,000 square feet of land.
“(The land) is what I call a boulevard strip. It’s basically unusable for any kind of construction,” he said.
The board has given the University permission to continue Middlebrook’s construction while land appraisals are conducted.
The University will make an offer to the park board based on two appraisals performed by the Real Estate Office.
University property acquisition representative Sue Weinberg said that the University will work with the park board to determine the appropriate appraisers.
“We will give the park board a list of MSI appraisers under annual contract and either allow them to choose or we will advise them on their decision,” she said.
Weinberg said there is currently no perspective closure date on the West Bank land plot exchange.
She added that “there has to be complete acquisition of the property by the end of the one year construction permit (August 2001).”

Erin Madsen covers community and welcomes comments at [email protected]