City leaders seeking study of Peavey Plaza’s historic assets

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The City of Minneapolis plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a study of Peavey Plaza’s historic significance, which will serve as a guide for the revitalization of the public space at 11th & Nicollet.

The sunken concrete plaza is owned by the city and maintained by the Public Works Department. The Minneapolis Downtown Council and neighboring Minnesota Orchestra organize various events in the plaza throughout the year, including the Holidazzle Village, which made its debut in 2014.

An earlier plan to revitalize Peavey Plaza was stymied when the Cultural Landscape Foundation and Preservation Alliance of Minnesota filed a lawsuit in June 2012 over concerns that the plan would jeopardize the historic resource.

The plaza was designed by landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg and has been considered an icon of modernist architecture. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in January 2013.

The city settled the lawsuit with the group of preservationists in the fall of 2013. Under terms of the settlement, city leaders and preservationists agreed to work together on a plan to preserve its historic features while making it compatible with the American Disabilities Act.

The goal of the new study is “to fully explain the existing conditions of Peavey Plaza to the satisfaction of all interested parties,” according to a staff report presented to the City Council.

City leaders along with the preservationists, Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District and new Greening Downtown Minneapolis will collaborate on a revitalization plan for Peavey Plaza the next three years.

The final report on the plaza’s historic significance is expected in early 2016.