Streetscapes

A new Nicollet Mall

After $50 million and 28 disruptive months of construction, the barriers have finally come down on Nicollet Mall, marking its third remake in a half-century. The first was a radical and much-copied transformation of the city's shopping thoroughfare into a pedestrian and transit mall (the work of landscape architect Lawrence Halprin), which debuted to raves in 1967.

An uninspired and arguably unnecessary remake in 1990 lasted roughly the same amount of time. And with its official debut this week, we now have Nicollet Mall 3.0. Designed by James Corner Field Operations (the team behind New York City's famous High Line elevated park), the new mall is notable for its pedestrian-friendly features.

222 Hennepin/

Whole Foods

Must see

T Transit shelter

Link to the Mississippi River

N. 2nd St.

Hennepin Av.

Gateway

Park

20

Washington

Wash. Av.

Mar-

quette

Plaza

Cancer

Survivors

Park

“Enjoyment

of Nature”

sculpture

MISSISSIPPI WOODS

“Cancer Survivors”

sculptures

S. 3rd St.

Minneapolis

Central

Library

T

“Theater in

the Round”

amphitheater

365 Nicollet

“Nimbus”

sculpture

S. 4th St.

Xcel

Energy

4MARQ

Xcel

Energy

NORTH GROVES

The Nic on Fifth

T

Green Line LRT

S. 5th St.

Renaissance

Square

RBC

Plaza

“Stone Boat”

benches

T

50 S. 6th

S. 6th St.

Gaviidae

Common

T

City Center

NICOLLET CENTER

Nicollet

Lanterns

Light

Walk

S. 7th St.

“Mary Tyler

Moore” statue

Crystal

Court

T

The

Dayton’s

Project

IDS

Tower

S. 8th St.

U.S.

Bancorp

Center

RSM Plaza

T

Medical

Arts

Bldg.

Marquette Av.

Lasalle Av.

S. 9th St.

Young-

Quinlan

Bldg.

Target Store

T

SOUTH GROVES

950 Nicollet

The Local

S. 10th St.

Target

Plaza

Commons

Target

Plaza

North

and

South

WCCO-CBS

T

“Prairie Tree”

sculpture

Target Plaza

S. 11th St.

“Sculpture

Clock”

Brit’s

Pub

T

Orchestra

Hall

Peavey

Plaza

YWCA

S. 12th St.

Westminster

Presbyterian Church

1200 on

the Mall

condominiums

LORING WOODS

T

“The Birth

of Freedom”

sculpture

Loring Greenway

Alice Rainville Pl.

Millennium

Hotel

“Shadows

of Spirit”

(recessed

bronze

castings)

T

E. Grant St.

Hyatt

Regency

Hotel

W. Grant St.

Nicollet

Towers

Trees are moved into the Nicollet Mall, where they are planted throughout.

Mississippi Woods

The Mississippi Woods begins on the Minneapolis Central Library block and links the Cancer Survivors and Gateway parks along with other green spaces creating an open link to the Mississippi Riverfront, with its scenic green spaces and trails.

The "Stone Boat" benches provide seating in the North Groves.

North Groves

The Groves will include greenery and a nod to the seasons, with trees that are native to Minnesota. There will be a Nice Ride station and new multi-use transit shelters that are integrated with outdoor seating.

Associated Press

The "Mary Tyler Moore" statue references the opening of the TV show.

Nicollet Center

The Center is the most urban area of the 1-mile corridor. The design was inspired by Minneapolis, a city that celebrates light, art and the four seasons. New light poles with artist-designed lanterns appear here. It will feature a Light Walk, where people can gather and participate in a variety events, festivals, performances and markets.

The "Prairie Tree" sculpture reflects its surroundings.

South Groves

Like its northern counterpart, the South Groves will include greenery. It will also incorporate benches that align together to form curved seating options. The benches will be equipped with Wi-Fi, charging stations and an over-scaled reading lamp.

The leaf patterns in the concrete can be found in Mississppi and Loring Woods.

Loring Woods

The Loring Woods starts at Westminster Presbyterian Church. From the Woods, you can access the Loring Greenway, which connects to Loring Park, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the Walker Art Center.

Graphic by Ray Grumney • Star Tribune

Details of the Mall

A greener Nicollet: Most of the nearly 250 trees (twice as many as the previous mall) are Minnesota-grown and average 8 to 14 years in age. Trees on the mall inclue Oak, Birch, Serviceberry, Red Cedar, Hybrid Elm and more.

Take a seat:There are more than 300 durable chairs in eight styles and three colors. The nostalgic, northern-styled seating can be moved around the mall during the day or night.

Hail, Minnesota:92 cast iron manhole covers (first installed in 1992) depict walleyes, Haralson apples, loons and other Gopher State symbols.

Under foot:Leaves, basket weaves and tree branch patterns are sandblasted into the concrete sidewalks, a cost-saving replacement for variegated concrete pavers. From left to right above: North and South Groves sidewalk detail, Nicollet Center detail, and Mississppi and Loring Woods sidewalk detail.

Spot

lights

49 ft.

Banner

Nicollet

Lantern

The "Light Ribbon": The roadway’s slight curve is emphasized by a trail of 49-foot masts topped with programmable LED beacon lights. Trees are lit from below. On the right, a photo of the Nicollet lanterns lit up at night. The lanterns were designed by artists and use poetry as inspiration. On the left, the scale of the beacon lights is shown.

There are twice as many trees as with its predecessor. They’re not the Kmart-esque saplings usually planted on downtown streets, but a handsome variety of towering, mature and greatlooking specimens. Bravo.

Curbs disappear at intersections, and nearly 300 movable, highly colorful chairs are scattered across the mall’s 12 blocks. An LED lighting scheme adds both necessary illumination and playful drama, and glass bus shelters provide a break from the elements as well as clear sightlines (Metro Transit buses return on Dec. 1).

There’s art, too, an outdoor collection second only to the one in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The sole remnant of Halprin’s mall, Jack Nelson’s “Sculpture Clock,” has been lovingly restored and refurbished. Several commissions from the 1990 mall have also returned, including Kate Burke’s whimsical manhole covers

They’re joined by Ned Kahn’s bold, wind-animated “Prairie Tree,” and Blessing Hancock’s distinctive “Nicollet Lanterns,” a series of suspended, poemcovered spheres. More art is on the way next spring: Tristan Al-Haddad’s “Nimbus” will appear in front of the Minneapolis Central Library, and George Morrison’s granite mosaic “Tableau” (from the 1990 mall) will land near the Loring Greenway’s entrance.

What’s most noticeable, however, is concrete. Lots and lots of concrete, some of it etched with patterns. On the bright side, the lighter (and, dare I say cheerier) color palette is a reversal of the dark, somber (and slick-when-wet) granite paving of the previous mall’s incarnation.

Still, it’s awfully monochromatic. Corner’s earlier mockups, with their prodigious and visually interesting use of pavers (lost to a budget tsunami) are far more compelling. Will this patterned concrete last the mall’s usual 25-year life expectancy? Hard to say.

In the meantime, let’s take a celebratory stroll. Nicollet Mall is back, hurrah.

Jeff Wheeler • Star Tribune

Jen Merth, field manager for Wetland Habitat Restorations, forked mulch around a bed in the 900 block of the Nicollet Mall that will be planted with either an oak or birch tree in coming months. Working with her Wednesday afternoon was Elyssa Eull.

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