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Minnesota space planned for State Fair's west end

Commercial real estate transactions in Minnesota are not limited to new office, manufacturing and retail buildings. An important component of development is creating and improving tourist, amusement and historical sites.

Developers, for example, are building a new $15 million neighborhood at the Minnesota State Fair. This area was largely occupied by common-looking vendor booths that were originally constructed in 1964 as the Young American teen center. Most of this center, originally intended to be temporary, no longer exists except for a few structures and displays.

The improvements are located on a 22.5 acre area that will open on Aug. 21 and will constitute the largest expansion of the fair since the 1930s. Two restaurants, an amphitheater with an outdoor beer taproom, seven vendor pavilions and new restrooms are the major elements of this improvement.

The West End Marketplace's centerpiece, the Minnesota State Fair and Heritage Center, will be the tallest structure and become the fair's first public building that will be used all year. It will house artifacts, an educational display and can host private functions such as wedding receptions and corporate events.

The Heritage Center will have several vendor pavilions with butterfly roofs that will funnel rainwater into a system of rain gardens. These will filter contaminants from the runoff and provide green space to break up the large expanse of concrete that previously covered this area.

A new transit hub will be located near the northeast section of this area. The hub will be the main entrance for the anticipated 700,000 visitors that arrive each year by bus.

As this project shows, commercial development often combines private and public use and requires the knowledge of several laws concerning real estate land use, historical development and the environment. The proper advice can help to ensure that development takes place wisely, legally and economically.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, "State Fair's west end reimagined as a 'Minnesota space,'" Don Jacobson, Aug. 7, 2014

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