RBC Wealth Management has committed to anchoring a stalled 33-story, mixed-use tower that would be built on a critical and underutilized block of downtown Minneapolis.
The $330 million project includes plans for a luxury Four Seasons Hotel and condos to be constructed at the Nicollet Hotel Block on the northern end of Nicollet Mall, according to a city staff report available Friday.
The city has granted developer United Properties a series of extensions to secure the financing to develop the site, which was once considered a gateway to downtown.
“This block is not just an entrance to downtown but a gateway to the entire western half of the country,” Mayor Jacob Frey said in an interview. “A surface parking lot does not do that grand entrance any justice. … It’s undoubtedly taken awhile, but I’m pleased with the direction we are finally heading.”
The Nicollet Hotel Block, a 1.7-acre city-owned site on the corner of 3rd Street and Hennepin Avenue, got its name from the 18-story hotel that used to occupy the site. After the hotel’s 1991 demolition, the site has been a parking lot.
RBC, which has been rumored for months to be looking to move from its downtown offices on S. 6th Street, has completed a letter of intent to anchor the office component of the tower, according to a city staff report for the economic development and regulatory services committee’s upcoming meeting.
RBC didn’t confirm or deny reports of the move but said in a statement Friday, “Our firm has been headquartered in downtown Minneapolis for more than a century, and is committed to the area as we continue to invest in our business and build our brand. Our selection of headquarters space is important to the company and to our 5,000 colleagues both here in the Twin Cities and across the country.”
The Four Seasons would have 275 rooms and take up a large portion of the tower. Eighteen condominiums would be on the top five floors.
Besides lobby areas, a restaurant and plaza are planned for the ground level. The second floor would have an open atrium, hotel ballroom and conference center.
A hotel pool, bar area and other amenities would occupy the third floor. Three other floors would be available for other office users. A total of 540 underground parking stalls would be built.
The tower would be connected via skyway to the Hennepin County Central Library across 3rd Street. United Properties also is in talks with Hennepin County and the Opus Group on another skyway connection that would cross Nicollet Mall from the library to Opus’ under-construction 365 Nicollet apartment tower.
United Properties also has been working with the city to make sure the project would accommodate any future streetcar line across the property.
United Properties on Friday declined to comment on the report.
Renderings of the proposed tower were not immediately available, but the staff report said the new design would have “an architecturally significant style with a primarily glass facade and stepped rooftop terraces.”
The redevelopment contract for the project is on the agenda for the March 13 economic development and regulatory services committee meeting. Multiple extensions have been granted to United Properties, which was awarded exclusive negotiating rights for the project in 2015.
RBC anticipates occupying between 310,000 square feet and 370,000 square feet. A final lease agreement is expected to be reached later this month, and final space determination won’t be made until the fall.
The contract with the city, if approved, would be contingent upon United Properties providing evidence that the lease with RBC had been executed. United Properties already has a commitment from Four Seasons Hotel.
The purchase price for the property would be $10.4 million. United Properties has already paid the city $300,000 in fees for the extensions, which will be credited toward the purchase.
According to the documents, the anticipated closing would be in December. Land use applications would be due by August, and if they are not submitted, the city would have the option to cancel the contract.