Indoor driving range proposed for top of huge downtown Mpls parking ramp [IMAGE]

Here, via KSTP, is an aerial rendering of the project.
Here, via KSTP, is an aerial rendering of the project.

Plans are coming together to put the top floor of the gargantuan Ramp A/Hawthorne Transportation Center building near Target Center to very productive use.

SEE ALSO: City Pages blogger robbed in skyway

According to KSTP, a group named Downtown Rooftop Golf, LLC wants to put a tarp over the top floor of the ramp, then use the space for a huge development involving an indoor driving range, locker rooms, retail and food services, playing fields, a walking and running track, a youth center, and education facilities.

Best of all, the roughly $80 million skyway-connected project would involve zero taxpayer dollars.

KSTP details where the proposal is currently at with the Minneapolis officials:

Before the proposal can move forward, the city of Minneapolis needs to lease the airspace above those parking ramps from MnDOT, which owns it. The City would then lease the airspace to private developers. Two city council committees will vote [today] on whether to allow lease negotiations to move forward.

KSTP previously reported that MnDOT's new leadership is indeed interested in leasing the rooftop space.

Even if the project sails through the City Council process -- and really, since it'd be entirely privately funded, why wouldn't it? -- construction probably wouldn't begin until 2015. So you still have at least a couple outdoor seasons to work on your golf swing before you'll have an opportunity to head inside during the cold Minnesota winter and drive some balls downtown.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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