A Minneapolis City Council panel voted Thursday to move forward with demolition of Peavey Plaza on Nicollet Mall, despite objections from local preservationists.
The Zoning and Planning Committee vote, which still requires full council approval, overrules the Heritage Preservation Commission's decision last month to deny demolition permits. City officials hope to bring more vibrancy to the plaza by doing away with the 1970s architecture and starting from scratch.
Proponents of the demolition, including the city's Public Works Department, testified Thursday that the plaza's fountains are broken and beyond repair. Others supported demolition because the current plaza is not handicapped-accessible.
Preservationists have argued that the plaza's design has historic significance. Charles Birnbaum, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Cultural Landscape Foundation, which has fought for the plaza's preservation, said it is a "masterwork" and a "seminal project" of designer M. Paul Friedberg's career.
The city plans to build the new plaza in summer 2013. The $10 million project is expected to be funded largely with private dollars.
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