MINNEAPOLIS — Wheels are turning to transform a 2-acre industrial property in north Minneapolis into a regional operations hub for school buses operated by Metropolitan Transportation Network Inc. (MTN).
The growing Fridley, Minnesota-based student transportation company plans to upgrade and expand the existing buildings and paved outdoor storage facility on the site. The largest portion of the investment will go toward exterior site improvements, including a significant update to landscaping, complete resurfacing of the sprawling asphalt parking lot, and modern security systems.
“This is going to be a showcase development that will make the local neighborhood proud, while meeting our company need for a smooth-functioning, high-intensity operating center,” said Tashitaa Tufaa, president and founder of MTN.
THOR Companies, a Fridley-based real estate development and construction company, is handling the $2.7 million redevelopment and managing the design and build-out of the property for MTN.
“We’re excited to develop the North Lyndale operating terminal for MTN,” said D’Angelos Svenkeson, senior developer for THOR Development. “Retrofitting the property to serve as the hub for a burgeoning school bus operation presents some unique site and design challenges, which have inspired us to produce what we believe to be a state-of-the-art facility for a transportation terminal for MTN.”
Even though the targeted completion date for the operations center is Aug. 15, MTN is already taking applications to fill 60 jobs at the center.
“We’re looking to tap the local workforce to fill our jobs as much as possible,” Tufaa said, noting that those interested in working at MTN should visit the company’s website, www.metrotn.com, for more information.
The nonprofit Northside Jobs Creation Team worked with MTN to find an appropriate north Minneapolis location for MTN’s expansion, and to help the company overcome barriers to completing the transaction and obtaining city and neighborhood approvals.
MTN closed on the property late in 2016, with an eye to shift a significant portion of its operations away from its Fridley headquarters into north Minneapolis to better serve existing customers such as Minneapolis Public Schools, and to accommodate future business growth in Minneapolis and nearby suburbs.
The property’s main building will be renovated to handle general office and dispatching functions. One of the warehouse buildings will be converted to a vehicle maintenance facility, and the other will be retrofitted and expanded to 16,000 sq. ft. for use as an enclosed vehicle storage garage.
MTN, founded in 2004, employs more than 300 people and operates more than 300 daily pupil transportation routes, primarily in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The company transports about 12,000 Minnesota K-12 students daily.