It will take nearly two years and several million dollars, but Peavey Plaza is coming back to life — complete with the water features and stark concrete that defined the downtown Minneapolis landmark when it was built four decades ago.
The initial plan was to tear up the aging Nicollet Mall plaza and replace it. But preservationists sued to stop demolition, and in 2013 got the site added to the National Register of Historic Places and then reached a settlement with the city.
New preliminary plans by Minneapolis-based landscape architecture firm Coen + Partners show that trees will be planted, ramps will be added for accessibility, and water features, including fountains and a reflecting pool, will be refurbished. Renderings show an open space for concerts, exercise classes, movie screenings, a food market and a wintertime ice skating rink.
The project is still in its beginning stages, and changes to the design are likely, said Lisa Cerney, Minneapolis' deputy director of public works. Right now, the cost is estimated between $8 million and $10 million, Cerney said, and it will be paid for with money from the state, city and fundraising.
Construction is scheduled to begin next year, and is expected to be complete in May 2019.
Erin Hanafin Berg of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, a plaintiff in the earlier lawsuit, said the group has some concerns about how the new plans differ from Peavey Plaza's original design, and would like more details about how changes — particularly to the pool and walls around the plaza — will be implemented.
"We were hoping that Peavey Plaza would be treated with a lighter touch," she said. "We're mostly supportive of where they're going, we just have a lot of questions about the details."