Update: The Minneapolis City Council's Zoning and Planning committee voted May 17 to move ahead with plans for demolition and redesign of Peavey Plaza. Final approval awaits a vote of the full council. Story here.
Peavey Plaza, looking south toward 12th St., with Nicollet Mall on the right, in a design concept released May 16 by M. Paul Friedberg and the Cultural Landscape Foundation. The reflecting pool and a signature fountain at the right rear is maintained.
The Washington, D.C.-based Cultural Landscape Foundation, which has lobbied strenuously to preserve Peavey Plaza's mid-1970s design, on Wednesday released what it called a "new design concept" that differs dramatically from the one that was approved by the Minneapolis City Council and the Mayor last November.
The release, and a story in the New York Times, came on the eve of a meeting of the City Council's Zoning & Planning committee at which Peavey Plaza is to be considered. The council committee is considering a Public Works Dept. appeal to overturn an April vote by the city's Heritage Preservation Commission to deny the city's request to begin work on a new plaza.
The CLF said in a statement that its plan was "developed pro bono at CLF's request" by M. Paul Friedberg & Partners. Friedberg designed Peavey Plaza, which opened in 1975. This new plan would be "less expensive or comparably priced" to the plan envisioned by Minneapolis landscape architect Tom Oslund, which has an estimated price tag of $8 to $10 million, of which $2 million would come from the state. It also "maintains the site's signature design elements."
In the Oslund plan, which already was approved by the Minneapolis City Council, Peavey Plaza would be less depressed below street level, and would have a shallow water feature that could be left wet or dry depending on events and seasons. This view is looking north, with Orchestra Hall on the right and Nicollet Mall on the left.
Oslund's design, unveiled in October of last year, would significantly alter Friedberg's plaza, raising the floor from 10 feet below grade to about 4 feet below surrounding streets, and adding a pergola/promenade along Nicollet Mall and video wall at the south end. While some preservationists have complained, city officials, including City Council President Barbara Johnson and Mayor R.T. Rybak, have endorsed the plan as a needed modernization that addresses accessibility and could help revive the plaza as a center for events and activity. 
Peavey Plaza, looking north. Photo by Rick Nelson

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