Auction bids are rolling in for the big red "K" that adorned the front of the Kmart on Lake Street in Minneapolis until the store closed earlier this year ahead of the city-owned building's much-anticipated demolition.

More than 40 online bids had been received as of late Friday afternoon, driving the price up from $100 at the start to more than $1,000, according to

Bidding ends Dec. 1, and the winner will then have to pay up with a 12.5% fee tacked on before hauling it from storage off N. 2nd Street just east of Interstate 94.

The metal "K" stands 9 feet tall by 11 ½ feet wide and is 1 foot thick. City officials estimate its weight at roughly 900 pounds.

The letter doesn't look quite the same as it did before it came down this year, said city spokesman Casper Hill. Gone is the word "mart" that the K wore in sash-like fashion to complete the store's name.

What does one do with a "K" that when laid down is big enough to seat several for a socially distanced coffee klatch? Residential or business display outside seems logical. Use on a giant-sized Scrabble board seems less likely.

The Kmart discount retail outlet opened on Lake Street in 1977 in the middle of Nicollet Avenue, effectively severing the heavily traveled thoroughfare in the heart of south Minneapolis. A Supervalu grocery store also operated on the same 10-acre tract for many years.

For decades, the Kmart was among the most hotly debated buildings in Minneapolis, if not the entire Twin Cities.

On one side, it was viewed as vital to providing essentials to many who had few shopping options nearby for reasonably priced goods such as clothing, toiletries and household goods. At the same time, its placement straddling Nicollet was derided as a visual scar and a travel annoyance for motorists and mass transit alike.

The store had been scheduled to shutter by June 30 after the city bought out its lease in March, but the riots following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in May accelerated its closure.

As the building awaits its demise at a date yet to be determined, the U.S. Postal Service began renting out space this week for at least one year, operating as a temporary replacement for two south Minneapolis post offices that were destroyed in the riots.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482