Bonding package includes funding for Nicollet Mall redesign

An illustration of the new Nicollet Mile. Credit: Image courtesy James Corner Field Operations

The $1 billion bonding package approved by state lawmakers in the final days of the 2014 session includes $21.5 million for the Nicollet Mall redesign.

Funding for half of the $50 million project is expected to come from private sources, including an assessment on businesses along Nicollet Mall.

Once complete, the revitalized Nicollet Mall will be renamed Nicollet Mile. NYC-based design team James Corner Field Operations was recently in Minneapolis to show off the latest ideas for the street.

The team’s vision for Nicollet Mile includes more green space, fire pits, wooded areas with new trees, street furniture, performance areas and glass staircases descended from the skyway at 7th Street.

Funding for the Nicollet Mall project was a key legislative priority for city leaders this session.

Mayor Betsy Hodges thanked state lawmakers for including the project in the bonding package.

“We’re thrilled to be in the state bonding bill at $21.5 million. Nicollet Mall will reinvigorate downtown Minneapolis, making it a 21st century destination our city and state can be proud of,” she said. “Nicollet Mall already draws more than 140,000 workers from across the state daily to work in the 34 million square feet of office located along the mall. It helps generate hundreds of millions of dollars in state revenue and private development each year. The regional significance of this project is enormous.” 

State Rep. Raymond Dehn (DFL-59B) authored the provision in the House bonding bill that included $21.5 million for the Nicollet Mall redesign and Sen. Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-59) authored the Senate version. 

“Thanks to state funding, the redesign of Nicollet Mall is going to become a reality,” Dehn said. “I’m thrilled the Legislature got this done. It’s a major step toward growing our city and our state’s economy overall.” 

Minneapolis Downtown Council CEO Steve Cramer said the next step for city leaders is to decide if and how they would increase the public investment to $25 million by identifying local funds for the project. The Downtown Council will be working with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) to come up with an assessment plan to raise the additional $25 million needed for the project, he said.  

“Hearing the news about Super Bowl LII coming to downtown in 2018 just reinforces the central role a vital Nicollet Mall plays in our local and regional economy. The new Mall will be ‘Super Bowl Boulevard’ during that event because Nicollet marks the core of our community. It’s where the most jobs and retail are, and its where we go to gather and celebrate,” he said.

A study touted by supporters of the Nicollet Mall redesign indicated that reconstruction of the project is expected to create $105.5 million in new spending in the state and 860 full-time jobs. 

Project organizers are hoping to start construction spring 2015 and have it completed in 2016.