City taking over efforts to gain control of Kmart site at Nicollet & Lake

The city of Minneapolis is taking over a project to reopen Nicollet Avenue at Lake Street, where Kmart blocks it today.

The developer Sherman Associates previously spent a year working to secure site control of Kmart and Supervalu, but left the project last summer.

“Sherman realized it was going to take more time and more effort, and they have other exciting projects to do,” said David Frank, the city’s transit development director. “We, the city of Minneapolis, are doing what we can do to move ahead.”

Frank said the city is picking up where Sherman left off. Staff are working with the owners of the grocery store land on potential site control. They are also starting to work constructively with another party — Frank declined to say who — on site control of the land under Kmart.

City staff also continue to talk with Sears, the owner of Kmart.

“Anything that happens on the site will include them,” Frank said. “They have rights, they serve a valuable need, and we’re good with that.”

Frank said he would love to finalize site control by the end of the year, but it’s more important to have the right deal in place.

“We’re doing all we can to achieve agreements that work for everybody,” he said, when asked whether eminent domain might be used to take over the site. “Hopefully before too long we’ll be bringing something more than an update [to the City Council]. The main thing we’re focused on is the potential real estate deal.”