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2014 Capital Budget Request St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center Expansion

1. Name of the local government or political subdivision that is submitting the request:

City of St. Cloud, Minnesota

2. Project title:

St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center Expansion Project

3. Project priority number:

One of one (1 of 1)

4. Project location:

St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center 10 4 th Avenue South St. Cloud, MN 56301 Stearns County

5. Identify who will own the facility: City of St. Cloud Identify who will operate the facility: City of St. Cloud

6. Project contact information:

Michael Williams City Administrator City of St. Cloud 400 2 nd Street South St. Cloud, MN 56301 (320) 255-7201 - phone (320) 255-7293 – fax

7. Project description and rationale (one page maximum): This request is for $11.56 million in state funding to assist in the completion of the expansion of the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center. The 2008 State Bonding bill provided $2 million toward the expansion project. The City of St. Cloud matched that with $2 million in 2008 for site preparation. Phase I of the expansion project – planning, site acquisition and preparation - was completed in 2010 with that $4 million. The expansion project was included in the 2010 Bonding Bill for $15 million, but the entire bill was vetoed. The City of St. Cloud determined to move ahead with the second phase of the expansion, for a number of reasons including the historically-low construction costs and borrowing costs that reduced the total project costs by more than $2 million. The City expended $22,000,000 in 2010 and 2011 for Phase IIa of the project, in part completing the construction of the expansion space. The expanded River’s Edge Convention Center opened for business in January, 2012, without the necessary parking facility, riverfront features, and other permanent fixtures. The total state contribution would be $13.56 million if this request is approved.

Background: The St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center, owned and operated by the City of St. Cloud, is Central Minnesota’s primary large meeting space for conventions and civic gatherings. The facility, which opened in 1989, is located in downtown St. Cloud along the Mississippi River. The original facility contained 103,000 sq. ft. of space including two large rooms (combined area of 42,000 sq.ft.), four meeting room suites (combined area of 12,600 sq. ft.), as well as commensurate common space. The original facility also includes two levels of underground parking with a total of 365 parking spaces.

The St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center hosts a variety of convention center activities, averaging 375 events per year pre-expansion, including:

234 small meetings and small conferences


40 conventions, major conferences, and trade shows

21 consumer shows (car shows, home shows, outdoor sports show, etc.

80 social and entertainment events (banquets, weddings, parties, concerts, etc)

In the year 2000, total daily attendance for all Civic Center events was 285,873 people. Using industry standards, the River’s Edge had an estimated economic impact of $24.5 million to the St. Cloud area’s economy, before expansion. Once the expansion is completed, total daily attendance is expected to increase to 431,200 visitors, resulting in an estimated $20 million additional impact annually to the St. Cloud area’s economy.

Additional Space Needed: The Convention Center suffered from a shortage of space during the fourteen years prior to the Phase IIa expansion in January 2012. The shortage was particularly acute during the prime convention seasons of mid-February through mid-April and August through mid-November, and resulted in the loss of operating revenue and diminished economic impact. A consultant study in 2007 documented that the facility was at or above the practical limits of its capacity and was losing the ability to compete for the larger events that drive economic impact.

Many large conventions, particularly those with an accompanying trade show, need more square footage than was available. Thirteen major Convention Center clients expressed concern that the Convention Center lacked adequate space for their events, which might result in the loss of their business. In addition, there was not sufficient space in the Convention Center to host more than one moderately sized event simultaneously. Without completion of the expansion project, the facility will be unable to meet its full potential.

The expansion increased the Convention Center’s meeting space and enhanced the downtown commercial district. The Convention Center serves as an anchor for St. Cloud’s downtown commercial, government, and entertainment district. Already, the expansion is generating new eating and entertainment establishments. If fully expanded, the increased Convention center activity may result in the construction of an additional downtown hotel property.

For the past 22 years, the facility has operated without taxpayer subsidy from either state or local government sources. However, we are concerned that a failure to expand in order to serve the needs of the community will cause the building to be underutilized. Without expansion, revenue from facility operations may not be sufficient to cover operating costs.

Funding Request: The City of St. Cloud requests partial project cost of $11.56 million in state funding. A local contribution of $22 million was made towards the project using proceeds from an existing 1% Food and Beverage tax to retire a Debt Service Bond.

If state funding is approved as requested, the Regional-to-State funding ratio for this project will be 65 percent to 35 percent, a much higher rate of local funding than for other comparable projects the state has funded in other regions.

The proposed project is of regional and statewide significance. The existing Convention Center serves the meeting and convention needs of the immediate St. Cloud area and central Minnesota region. As a regional facility, the St. Cloud Civic Center provides facilities not otherwise available in the state-funded facilities (Duluth, Rochester, Minneapolis and St. Paul, among others) are located a reasonable distance from St. Cloud, the proposed project is not expected to compete with other facilities in such a manner that they lose a significant number of users to the expanded Convention Center. Similarly, state funding will not create significant inequities among local jurisdictions.

No operating funds are requested for the proposed project.


8. For new construction projects, identify the new square footage planned: This is an expansion project.

9. For remodeling, renovation or expansion projects, identify the total square footage of current facilities and new square footage planned;


Existing Facility:

103,000 sq. ft.


80,000 sq. ft.

Parking ramp

Approximately 300 stalls


Local Project Financing

Project name: St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center Expansion Project

Local Government Submitting request: City of St. Cloud, Minnesota

Do the project cost estimates below already include inflation?


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10. Project schedule. Identify the dates for following:

a. Date construction crews are expected to first arrive on site:

Phase I – July, 2010 Phase IIa – July, 2011 Phase IIb – April, 2015

b. Date construction will be complete with a certificate of occupancy obtained:

Phase I – Completed July, 2010 (Certificate of Occupancy not required.) Phase II a – December, 2011 Phase II – June, 2016

11. Has a project pre-design been submitted to the Commissioner of Administration? Yes

12. Identify any new or additional state operating dollars that will be requested for operation of the project (cite the amount and year, if applicable): None

13. Discuss how the project meets or exceeds the sustainable building guidelines established under Minnesota Statues, section16B.325:

The design of this project intends to meet the requirements of the Department of Administration and the Department of Commerce initiatives for sustainable building design. Our objective by following the guidelines will be to ensure that the building exceeds the existing energy code, as established in Minnesota Rules, chapter 7676, by at least 30 percent.

The design will focus on achieving the lowest possible lifetime cost and encourage continual energy conservation improvements in the buildings. The design initiatives will include many the following:

Air quality and lighting standards that create and maintain a healthy environment and facilitate productivity improvements;

material cost reductions;

consideration for the long-term operating costs of the building, including the use of renewable energy sources and distributed electric energy generation that uses a renewable source or natural gas or a fuel that is as clean or cleaner than natural gas.

The design team will incorporate an open process, including providing the opportunity for public comment.

14. Explain the extent to which the project will use sustainable building designs:

The design and ultimate construction of the St. Cloud Civic Center addition will meet or exceed the State of Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines (MSBG) in a number of categories. Although the design is in the preliminary stages, a number of opportunities exist in this area. The following list is an outline of the areas where we intend to incorporate MSBG and/or the United States Green Building Councils (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) design standards.

Planning and Design:

An integrated design team lead by certified LEED consultants will be involved in the project planning. MSBG and LEED categories will be examined and prioritized for consideration.


The building site utilized an existing downtown site where vacant buildings and/or sites in need of revitalization were razed. The parking facility will be located on an existing city parking site. Building areas were reduced by adding on to the existing facility vs. constructing a new facility on an undeveloped parcel on the edge of the city. The entire site will be fully served by utilities and


close to a mass transit hub. The design will use appropriate development patterns to fit in with the urban context of the site.

Site and Building Design:

The site will manage storm run-off during and after construction. Vegetation will be incorporated to enhance air quality and water control. Vegetation along the river bank will be analyzed and maintained to promote bio-diversity. The building will be designed to take advantage of life cycle costs in both materials and operating systems. These will be enhanced through the use of commissioning.

Material choices will consider “Green” materials that respond to sustainability while fitting into the context of the downtown character and the existing facility. Indoor air quality will be addressed by mandating a no-smoking policy in the building and specifying low VOC materials. Ventilation will meet or exceed ASHRAE 62.1 and thermal comfort will meet ASHRAE 55-2004. Natural day-lighting will be incorporated as appropriate. Roofing materials that reduce heat island effects will be considered.

The design and construction will consider options for material and waste reduction for both the demolition and construction phases. Equipment and appliances chosen for the facility will meet Energy Star compliance. Other opportunities for sustainable design techniques will be considered as the design progresses.

15. Attach a resolution of support from the governing body of the applicant, if applicable:

The St. Cloud City Council has taken affirmative action several times over the past 14 years supporting the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center Expansion Project. Most recently, on September 26, 2011 the City approved a state application for $10.1 million in support of the expansion project. The Council will be asked to adopt another resolution of support at its regular meeting on June 24, 2013.

In addition, the cities of Sartell, Waite Park, Sauk Rapids, St. Joseph and St. Augusta adopted resolutions supporting the application for state funding of the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center Expansion Project, most recently in 2013.


RESOLUTION 2013-6-77


WHEREAS, the City of St. Cloud initiated a phased approach to the expansion of the St. Cloud Civic Center; and

WHEREAS, the expansion cannot be completed without State bonding dollars; and

WHEREAS, the State of Minnesota partnered with the City by granting $2 million for the planning, design, land acquisition, and site preparation with the intention of funding 50% of the total project; and

WHEREAS, the current request reduces the state funding request to only 35% of the total project.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City of St. Cloud encourages the Legislature and the Governor to appropriate $11,560,000 in state bonding dollars to complete the expansion project.

Adopted by the St. Cloud City Council on June 24, 2013.