Minneapolis is still waiting on $20 million in state bonding dollars to redo Nicollet Mall, but city officials are moving forward with a design competition to chart the corridor's future.
A staff report released Friday says the city will soon issue a request for qualifications with the goal of selecting four design teams, who will then offer competing visions for Nicollet Mall. The submissions will be presented publicly before a winner is chosen, partly based on public feedback.
Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis' signature pedestrian and transit corridor, was created in 1965. It has not been reconstructed since 1991. The staff report says that a sidewalk heating system installed at that time later failed, which has created escalating maintenance costs.
A new Nicollet Mall figured prominently into Mayor R.T. Rybak's vision for the future of Minneapolis on Wednesday. Rybak said that in 2025 the mall will be dubbed "Nicollet Green," replete with sidewalk cafes and heated by steam generated by the county garbage burner.
Transforming Nicollet was one of 10 goals the Downtown Council identified in their 2025 plan, which was released last year. Their vision of the redo is pictured above.
The total reconstruction of Nicollet Mall will cost about $30 million, $21 million of which is for construction costs. It will include a complete reconstruction fo the street "from building face to building face," stretching from Washington Ave. to Grant Street.
Gov. Mark Dayton included $20 million for a Nicollet Mall redo in his recent bonding proposal. Nicollet did not, however, make it into the House DFL bonding proposal.
City officials hope to select a design consultant by this fall. They expect construction, if the money is available, to be complete by 2015 or 2016.
Here is what the 2025 plan envisioned for Nicollet Mall:
"Redesign that corridor as the region’s premier walking experience—a linear park lined with trees, flower gardens, shops, restaurants, residential buildings, hotels and office towers. Animate the street with a curb-less walking environment that shares space with bicycles and with quiet, zero-emission vehicles (electric buses or modern streetcars) that offer free shuttle service every few minutes. Interpose at intervals public plazas that feature stunning art pieces, water features, dramatic lighting, interactive programming and other attractions. Taken all together, this new Nicollet will become by 2025 the region’s signature place and its iconic identity."