MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- If Super Bowl fans wander around the Twin Cities in 2018 thinking "everything looks so new around here," there's a good reason. Much of what they see will be.
Many of the amenities promised in Minnesota's Super Bowl bid haven't been built yet, but they were already in the works.
At the top of the list, of course, is the new stadium. But there are other new projects that will make parts of the metro look quite different.
The $50 million renovation of Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis will feature hundreds of new trees, more gathering spaces, easy access to the skyways and the possibility of fire pits and an ice skating rink. It should be finished by 2016, just as the stadium is ready to open, and it will be renamed temporarily.
"That will be Super Bowl Boulevard," said Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Downtown Council, "so it will be really a prominent part of the Super Bowl experience for everybody who comes to Minneapolis for that great event."
Next to the stadium, in what used to be mostly surface lots, will be a brand new office tower and a new city park for tailgating, most likely covered on game days.
"So yes, the whole park would be tented and a very big tent," Cramer said, "but it's a great amenity for the stadium."
There will be more transit options with Metro Transit's new Green Line between St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Mall of America in Bloomington will be the site of several Super Bowl events and it will have hundreds of new hotel rooms when the J.W. Marriott opens in August of 2015.
A Radisson Blu opened at the mall a year ago, and one or two more hotels could open there by the Super Bowl.
"We hope we have a water park hotel by that time, which will also have more meeting space and event space," said the mall's Executive Vice President Maureen Bausch. "And then potentially there could be a boutique hotel or another one. It's hard to say."
The original mall, meanwhile, will undergo a complete renovation over the next few years. And depending on how many leases they sign for the expansion, Mall of America could be twice its current size by early 2018.
"There are some particular tenants that would love to get open by the time the Super Bowl comes to town," Bausch said.
St. Paul, meanwhile, is offering its own spaces for events and a giant ice palace for the 2018 Winter Carnival. That's something that might not have happened without the Super Bowl, but the other projects were going to happen regardless.
for more features.