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Minneapolis approves Gateway tower despite objections over rooftop sign

City planners had objected to a request for a sign at the top of the skyscraper.

Despite concerns over a roofstop sign in a city that has few, United Properties has been given permission to move on to the next step of its "Gateway" tower project in downtown Minneapolis.

The developer plans to build the tower at 30 South 3rd Street, formerly home to the historic Nicollet Hotel, and with a height of 503 feet it would become the ninth tallest building in Minneapolis. 

The plan includes space for a Four Seasons hotel with 280 rooms across 10 stories, 22 condos, underground parking for 455 vehicles, and 530,000 square feet of office space anchored by RBC Wealth Management.

It's the involvement of RBC that provided a point of interest at Thursday's meeting of the Minneapolis Zoning and Planning Committee, after a previous hearing saw city planners lay down some stipulations regarding the signage on the building.

They objected to plans to include an RBC sign towards the top of the tower, at a height of 484 feet, requesting that no signage be placed any higher than 50 feet on the building amid concern of setting an unwanted precedent.

But United's VP of Development Rick McKelvey appealed to this decision, including a letter from RBC CEO Michael Armstrong in which he said the rooftop sign "is critical to the company's growth and success."

The objection threatened to derail the Gateway project, but the planning committee on Thursday overruled the recommendations of city staff and agreed to allow the development to move on to the next step.

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The proposal now has to go before the full city council before it gets the official stamp of approval.

The Star Tribune notes that the RBC sign would be the tallest in Minneapolis, which has few rooftop signs on many of its skyscrapers despite it being the home to many major companies.

It will be higher up than the current tallest sign in Minneapolis, the "FOSHAY" sign at the top of the Foshay Tower, the newspaper notes, and is more than twice the height of U.S. Bank Stadium, which has U.S. Bank's logo displayed prominently.

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