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What the Hell Is ‘Project Bigfoot’?

Plus the city's contempt for the homeless, Google bails on Becker, and win free chicken in today's Flyover.

YouTube (City of Rosemount)|


Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

U of M Trying to Sell 280 Acres to Mystery Developer

Is current University of Minnesota leadership "corporatizing the institution," to the extreme detriment of the school's mission? To hear Board of Regents member Darrin Rosha tell Racket yesterday: "Absolutely." With that in mind, consider this strange fucking story: The Rosemount Planning Commission unanimously approved plans from a Delaware-originated LLC called Jimnist to construct something called "Project Bigfoot" on 280 acres of the U's 4,772-acre UMore Park site, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Biz Journal reports. Want additional details? Too bad! Rosemount commissioners barely received any (the U will sell the developer the land; it may produce a "tech campus"), so why would you get more? We do know the completed development may include 40,000 square feet of offices, servers, and 80-foot towers; ominous security fencing will wrap around everything, and access will be controlled through gatehouses. "This is a huge project, both in terms of acreage and financially,” civil engineer Trisha Sieh said at Monday's meeting, which, if you review tape, did elicit plenty of bafflement among those who approved the fishy plans anyway. Project Bigfoot faces more regulatory hurdles, but construction on it—whatever it is—could begin by next summer and last "years," the Biz Journal reports.

Are There No Prisons? Are There No Workhouses?

Ho ho ho, MnDOT is at it again. Southwest Voices reports that early Tuesday morning, the Department of Transportation, filled with the Christmas spirit, tore up an encampment under the I-35W overpass at 31st Street in south Minneapolis, leaving unhoused residents to search for a new site. Among MnDOT’s stated concerns with the makeshift shelter? Blocking pedestrian access of the sidewalk. (And yet cement barriers replaced the encampment by the afternoon.) Since Minneapolis City Council failed to prevent the continual process of encampment destruction in October, it remains unclear exactly what people without houses are supposed to do about their situation, especially as subzero temperatures and a blizzard make the outdoors potentially deadly. Hide somewhere where their more fortunate neighbors can’t see them, maybe?

Google Bails On Becker

When Google announced plans to bring a $600 million data center to Becker, Minnesota, in 2019, everyone was happy. Sherburne County saw the project as needed spur to the regional economy. The construction industry jumped at the chance to put a couple thousand people to work. Xcel Energy was maybe happiest of all—data centers gobble up huge amounts of power, and Google would have become the utility behemoth’s fifth largest customer. But after delays and missed deadlines, the construction project now seems officially kaput, the Star Tribune reports. Google has not given a detailed explanation for its change of plans. Xcel has announced, however, that two other data centers may be interested in locating to the area.

Win a Boatload of Free Korean Fried Chicken

Last month, we brought you news of bb.q Chicken, the globally popular Korean fried-chicken chain that recently opened its first Minnesota location at 1500 W. Lake St. That was enough of a story, but then we learned about franchisee Emily Krouse journeying from her Twin Cities home to Seoul, South Korea, seven years ago to meet her biological family. Their first-ever meal together? bb.q Chicken. “I don’t speak any Korean, they don’t speak any English, and yet this one fried-chicken meal was enough to bring a level of connection," she told us. Now, to celebrate her Uptown chicken shack's opening, Krouse is staging a fun giveaway: From January 12 through January 19, in-store guests can register to win free chicken for a year. Well, technically $30 worth of chicken per week for one full year, but c'mon, that's a lot of chicken.

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