Last week's story about the Nicollet Mall overhaul now being proposed was short on one detail. While half of the estimated $50 million cost is envisioned as coming from state bonding, the other half is expected to be raised by assessments on businesses. But which businesses, exactly? Those along the mall? Others in some kind of broader downtown district? All businesses in the city?
The answer, from Steve Cramer, executive director of the Minneapolis Downtown Council: It hasn't been determined yet, Cramer said Monday. It probably won't be citywide, and likely will be applied throughout a district, Cramer said.
Cramer added that a similar business assessment was applied to pay for the last Nicollet Mall makeover, in the late 1980s. But for that project, businesses anted up 85 percent of the $23.5 million total. That share today, accounting for inflation, would come to about $36 million.
Will that drive up the prices of lunch or a tie downtown? Hard to say, with the repayments to be spread out over many businesses for 20 years, Cramer said.
"If it's done well," Cramer said of the mall project, "it'll generate economic activity that will have a positive benefit."