The Calhoun Square retail center in Uptown will be renamed as its property owners work to disavow the slavery advocate for which the building was originally named.
While leaders of Northpond Partners had contemplated a name change for the south Minneapolis retail building since the Chicago investment firm purchased the property last fall, the police killing of George Floyd and the ensuing worldwide demonstrations and discourse on police use of force and racial equity have pushed the firm to expedite the process.
“The tragic death of George Floyd and ensuing events throughout the country have made it crystal clear that to move forward as a community we must remove painful reminders of the worst chapters in our nation’s history,” according to a statement by Northpond Partners on Calhoun Square’s website. “A property named for a known racist and champion of slavery has no place in Minneapolis or anywhere in our society.”
Calhoun Square, which was constructed in 1984 and has had several turnovers in ownership, bears the name of John C. Calhoun, a Southern politician who was an ardent supporter of slavery and the removal of American Indian people from their lands in the early 19th century.
The building, located on the busy corner of Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street, is just east of Bde Maka Ska, Minneapolis’ largest lake that also once bore the Calhoun name. Last month, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the state Department of Natural Resources had the authority to rename the lake to its original Dakota name.
Signage for Calhoun Square, which includes a prominent lighted sign above the building, was removed Thursday morning, a spokesman for Northpond Partners said. The group said a new building name will be unveiled.
Nearby Calhoun Village shopping center, which is owned and managed by Bloomington-based Doran Management, will also no longer carry the Calhoun name.
“Like a lot of retail spaces that wanted to signal our proximity to the lake, our venue bore the name ‘Calhoun,’” Doran Management founder and principal Kelly Doran said in a statement. “Recognizing the pain this name has caused, we will be changing the name of our venue.”
Doran Management hopes to have the legal work completed to change the shopping center’s name by the end of the year.
Calhoun Square is 2 miles from where Floyd died as a Minneapolis police officer, who has since been fired and charged in his death along with three other officers, pinned his knee onto Floyd’s neck for nearly 8 minutes. Floyd’s death and bystander video of the incident led to widespread protests and calls for police reform.
Over recent weeks, activists and protesters have called for the removal and sometimes forcibly removed or defaced statues and monuments of Confederate leaders and Christopher Columbus across the country.