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CenterPoint gets variance for Nicollet Mall plans

  • Blog Post by: Janet Moore
  • October 11, 2013 - 1:39 PM

UPDATE:

CenterPoint Energy reported late Thursday that the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development board unanimously approved its variance request.

"We are exceedingly pleased with the city’s decision and are looking forward towards our plans for our new Minneapolis based headquarters," said spokeswoman Rebecca Virden.

We have a couple updates on stories that have appeared in the Star Tribune and startribune.com.

On Monday, we reported that a possible kerfluffle was averted between CenterPoint Energy and the city of Minneapolis over the utility's moving into the shuttered Neiman Marcus store on Nicollet Mall.

City standards call for street-level retail shops or restaurants to occupy at least 60 percent of the building's frontage. CenterPoint's current plan involves occupying 20 percent of the building's first-floor frontage with some type of "unique retail." This has won city staff's approval, reversing a previous recommendation to deny the company's request for a zoning variance. A zoning board will decide Thursday on the matter.

But Scott Engel of the Minneapolis Pedestrian Advisory Committee said the group recently voted to support the city when staff recommended against CenterPoint's initial plan to retool the former department store. Engel says the city advisory group supports the 60-percent figure, not 20-percent (or less).

He noted it's imperative fo the Mall to remain pedestrian friendly, especially since there's so much development activity at its north end, with the construction of hundreds of upscale apartments and an expansion of the Xcel Energy campus.

Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.

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