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MOUNDS VIEW, MN-After winning state approval, city officials must now decide whether to go ahead with a massive Medtronic expansion at this golf course located at US Highway 10 and Interstate 35W. The medical device company hopes to transform the land into a cardiac rhythm management complex.State legislators recently passed a bill allowing the land, once owned by the state, to be used for economic development. The land was originally turned over to the city to use only for a public purpose. Assuming Gov. Tim Pawlenty signs the bill, which is part of a larger public financing package, the ball would be back in the city’s court.

The city has held public hearings on the development proposal, and residents are split over it. Opponents argue that the city should allow the property to remain a golf course and object to the use of tax increment financing. Proponents favor adding jobs and increasing the tax base in an attempt to lower property taxes overall. The next public hearing on the topic is June 20.

Medtronic would pay $1 million to a state highway fund to free up the land, and it will pay the city $8.65 million for 72 acres of the 118-acre golf course, if the project goes forward.

The first phase of the Medtronic campus involves construction of 820,000 sf of office space in several buildings that would house research and development space for Medtronic’s largest division, cardiac rhythm management.

The real estate costs for the first phase alone would be about $65 million; add in the lab equipment, computers and other furnishings, and its investment would run more than $100 million and bring about 3,300 jobs to Mounds View, say city officials. A later phase could add 680,000 sf and bring the total number of new jobs to more than 6,000. The company would like to begin construction this fall.

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