City hosting community meeting on office plans

The City of Minneapolis is hosting a community meeting Dec. 11 on plans to construct a new consolidated public office building near City Hall.

Endorsed by the City Council in 2016, the plan would unite most city offices in one downtown building by 2020. In addition to City Hall, city employees currently operate out of six other downtown office buildings that are either leased or owned by the city.

The site of the future consolidated office building is 401 S. 4th St., currently a parking ramp located kitty-corner from City Hall across the 4th & 5th intersection. Plans call for a building seven to 10 stories tall with 250,000–300,000 square feet of interior space. A privately owned parking ramp would occupy a portion of the site.

The goals of the project include making it easier for city residents to locate the services they need, reducing the city’s total real estate footprint and improving the efficiency of city operations. Those goals can’t be met by simply consolidating operations in City Hall because about 40 percent of that building is occupied by Hennepin County offices, according to the city.

The plan has been in development since 1999. Sale of two city-owned buildings — the Public Service Center, 250 S. 4th St., and the City of Lakes Building, 309 2nd Ave. S. — is expected to offset a portion of the cost of building a new consolidated office. By ending its leases and giving up older buildings with older, less efficient heating and cooling systems, the city expects to save $3 million annually.

The community meeting at Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St., will include a presentation by the project team, which includes architecture firms MSR Design and Henning Larsen. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the program begins at 5:30 p.m.