United Properties has found a new partner to lead a critical component of the Nicollet Hotel Block project, a high-profile development proposed for downtown Minneapolis.

The City of Minneapolis gave United Properties development rights for the one-block site, which sits at the north end of Nicollet Mall, last February following an unusually public competition between four developers.

Bloomington-based United now says Greystar will lead development of the project's housing and hotel components.

Bill Katter, United's president and chief investment officer, released a statement about the decision, saying Greystar is evaluating is evaluating several hotel partners and that the brand will be announced in early 2016.

United Properties initially presented a new hotel concept by Hilton, called Canopy, for the block. But another developer, Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates, had already submitted an application to partner with Hilton on that concept.

The Star Tribune reported on challenges, including the loss of two partners, that United Properties faced immediately following its selection. The company's original apartment developer partner, StuartCo, pulled out over concerns about timing.

For decades, the block was the site of the stately Nicollet Hotel and most recently a surface parking lot. United offered the city about $10 million for the land and promised to spend more than the other candiates on its development costs. The original proposal was for a 36-story tower and a shorter hotel building with a plaza that would showcase a future streetcar stop.

In Thursday's prepared statement from United Properties, the company referred to the redevelopment as a "30+-story, mixed-use project" that includes street-level retail and restaurants, below-grade aprking and skway-level access to the Minneapolis Public Library. 

United Properties did not say project's $161-million price estimate has changed. The first City Council meeting on the project is expected in January.

Below is an earlier rendering, which will likely change before the project is finalized.


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