Minneapolis project on hold as key player faces major challenges

A plan to develop a 48-acre site in north Minneapolis has hit a snag.

The area operated as a barging terminal until 2014, but now, there are plans to make it a community asset. 

The Upper Harbor Terminal Project is set to bring in Riverfront Park amenities and private development. However, the north Minneapolis-based Thor Companies is under financial strain, putting many in the community on edge.

The Minneapolis Redevelopment Committee met Tuesday to discuss whether to move the project should move forward, but ended up tabling the matter.  

“There’s no there’s no path to ownership in any of the items that they are proposing. From a development perspective, they’ve not had any authentic community engagement,” said Catherine Fleming, who opposes the current concept.

“There was engagement, but it wasn’t enough, and it wasn’t done well enough and it didn’t reach enough people,” added Kyle Samejima, another opponent.

Minneapolis City Councilman Philippe Cunningham is now trying to figure out what’s going on with Thor Companies, a big player in the Upper Harbor Project.

“All I can really do at this point is to be of support of how it shows up for Upper Harbor Terminal,” he said.

Over the last few days, it was reported that the real estate development and consulting company was in financial trouble for not paying a bank loan. Also, the CEO resigned - a man Council member Jeremiah Ellison spoke to right before he left.

“At the time I think he expressed that whatever Thor was going through wasn’t insurmountable,” Ellison said. 

Thor is the state’s largest minority-owned company. With the grand opening just this past September, it’s been described as a “beacon of hope” for the community and the face of the Upper Harbor Project.

“United Properties is the master developer, but Thor has been at the forefront of engaging with our community, and so that is where a lot of community confidence was invested,” Cunningham said.

FOX 9’s calls to Thor companies were not returned.