The 12.5-acre Downtown East site includes two 17-story Wells Fargo office buildings, a four-story Millwright office building, a seven-story Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) parking ramp, three four-five-story residential buildings, a 4.2-acre city park called The Commons, a Radisson Red hotel and four new skyway connections. The development of the site has revitalized a long-forgotten commercial area, connecting central downtown with the new U.S. Bank Stadium, the University of Minnesota, the Mill District and the Elliot Park neighborhood.

AET took a unique staged geotechnical approach to properly characterize the site conditions and develop foundation plans. AET’s scope of geotechnical services included a phased approach of test pitting and traditional soil and bedrock sampling to maximize data collection.

AET also provided special inspection services for the site during construction including:

    • Drilled pier rock bearing foundation observation
    • Soil bearing foundation base observation
    • Testing of the soil correction when removing existing fill
    • Concrete testing and placement observation
    • Reinforcement observation
    • Structural steel observation
    • Fiber reinforcement of existing concrete beams in the Haaf Parking Ramp to accept additional skyway load
    • Fireproofing observation and testing
    • Special consultation on geotechnical and construction materials

Downtown East transformed the 12.5-acre downtown area from blocks of underused space to a cosmopolitan center. To construct the eight structures, city park and four new skyways across the site within schedule and in a cost-effective way required AET and ERA to work closely with design and construction partners formulate innovative structural and environmentally conscious strategies. When years of potentially contaminated soil was discovered on site, AET created a strategic approach to maximize the reuse of the fill and remove potential obstructions for construction. Building design elements created an opportunity for AET and ERA to improve the levelness in a traditional structural steel frame building and the two large towers on the site brought more innovation regarding drilled piers due to the single core concrete foundation design. The final result was a collaborative project the created a vibrant area in the heart of Minneapolis.

In 2018 AET along with our project partners Ericksen Roed and Associates (ERA) and our client Ryan Companies US, Inc. received a Grand Award from ACEC/MN for our innovative structural work on Downtown East.

For more information about AET's services for this project, visit our EnvironmentalGeotechnical and Construction Materials pages