CHICAGO — The Minneapolis City Council approved plans Dec. 13 for a $400 million development adjacent to the new Minnesota Vikings professional football stadium.

The "Downtown East" project relies on $65 million of city borrowing.

On the same day, a Hennepin Court judge refused to block the project as requested by a group of opponents who filed a lawsuit against the city's finance scheme.

The group argued that the city's plan to spend $65 million on the project to finance parking ramps violates spending limits in the state's Vikings stadium legislation, which limits the city's contribution to the stadium project to $150 million.

While the judge declined to block the overall project, rejecting the group's argument that the financing violates the legislation, he did grant a temporary restraining order for one count in the litigation, saying he wanted to consider at a hearing set for Wednesday whether the city has authority to develop a new park at the site.

"The court concludes only that there are issues regarding the authority of the city to acquire and maintain parks independent of the park board that must still be addressed, and that those issues require the involvement of the Park Board before resolution," Judge Mel Dickstein's ruling read.

The project includes plans for two office towers to house Wells Fargo offices, retail space, residential units, a park and parking ramp that would be used for Vikings games.

The new, nearly $1 billion Vikings stadium relies on $500 million of public funding, including the city's $150 million contribution and another $350 million from the state. The state expects to issue appropriation-backed bonds next month to cover the public financing piece.

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