MOUNDS VIEW, MN-Medtronic Inc.’s plans to build the $65-million, 820,000-sf first phase of a complex that could eventually be nearly double that size passed a crucial vote at a Mounds View City Council meeting earlier this week.

Vigorous and often contentious debate on the call for a citywide referendum to approve the project went late into the night Tuesday, but eventually ended with the council voting 4 to 1 not to allow a referendum on the development. The Medtronic complex would be built on the site of the Bridges of Mounds View Golf Course at US Highway 10 and Interstate 35W.

A group of Mounds View residents opposed to selling a city golf course to Medtronic had gathered 1,200 signatures in support of a proposal to put the project on the November ballot. But following the advice of the city attorney, the council decided not to certify the petition on the grounds that referendums can be used only for laws, not development deals.

“We finally got approval,” says Art Collins, chief executive office of the medical device firm, which is based in nearby Fridley, MN. “We expect the new facility for our cardiac rhythm management division to be ready in the fall of 2007.”

In June, the council approved the sale of the city-owned Bridges of Mounds View Golf Course to Medtronic. Construction on the first phase, which would accommodate 3,000 employees, will likely begin this fall rather than September as had been previously expected. Two later phases would bring the project to 1.5 million sf, with space for 6,000 employees, Collins says.

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