Developers have begun to flesh out the design details of the Dayton’s Project in downtown Minneapolis.
New renderings of what the former landmark department store on Nicollet Mall will look like after $190 million in renovations were released this week, as designers have uncovered more features of the complex during deconstruction.
Terrazzo floors have been found under ceramic tiles on the ground level. On the fourth floor near the retro bathrooms, a marble drinking fountain was discovered in the wall. And some plans for structural work near the ornate JB Hudson Jewelers space on the first floor were scaled back so not to damage the space.
“Finding a lot of these historic elements helps inform the design and makes it a better, stronger project,” said Steve Bieringer, senior design manager at Gensler Minneapolis, the lead architect on the project. “Without seeing some of those things … other assumptions would have been made. So I feel it’s pretty fortunate for the project to be able to have that and really mind the historic elements.”
It’s been about a year since work started to transform the former store into an office and retail complex complete with a food hall in the basement. And there’s still another year to go before builders expect to move retail tenants into the three-building complex in the summer of 2019.
While the new renderings resemble earlier images that the Dayton’s Project team has already shared, Bieringer said there are some differences. Designers have lightened up some of the finishes and have reduced the number of floor openings to preserve the integrity of the retail space of the first floors, he said.
Some other new design features include stair railings designed to convey “a 1920s art-deco feel.” Food celebrity Andrew Zimmern, who is partnering to open the food hall, gave input on the food hall’s design.
The 1.2 million square feet of space has been steadily gutted and stripped of its former life as a department store, which used to be the flagship Dayton’s store and later Macy’s before it was purchased last March by New York-based development firm 601W Cos.
Builders paused deconstruction of the store’s first floor so it could be used as an event center for vendor displays and fan interactive booths during the week leading up to the Super Bowl.
Workers have started to pull up the tile floors as well as take down the drop ceilings on the first floor. By the summer, project leaders hope to have city and preservationist approvals to begin the major work of opening up the basement along with the first and second floors to create an atrium with grand staircases.
“We have removed 36,130 cubic yards of materials and debris [about 1,206 large dumpsters] from the building thus far. … These new design specifications coincide perfectly with the quick progress being made with site preparation as we all move this project into its next phase,” Gardner Builders CEO Bob Gardner said in a statement.
The property is not on the National Register of Historic Places, but Dayton’s Project partners are working with the State Historic Preservation Office to get designation and historic preservation tax credits for the project. The oldest of the three buildings date back to 1902.
No new retailers have been announced and the Dayton’s Project has yet to sign any office tenants, though a spokeswoman for the project said several are in the pipeline.