Study: $50M Nicollet Mall makeover could generate $100M in spending


A new study says a $50 million facelift for Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis will more than pay for itself – spurring $106 million in additional spending and creating 860 jobs, the Downtown Journal reported.

City leaders in Minneapolis envision a reinvention of the popular pedestrian and transit corridor in an effort to maintain it as an economic hub downtown, where 150,000 people work. The shininess of the mall's last makeover, in the 1980s, is fading, and its well-trod granite pavers are cracking, its supporters say.

The city last year held a competition to seek out creative resigns for the mall, and ultimately chose New York-based urban design firm James Corner Field Operations. The firm unveiled a plan for Nicollet from Washington Avenue toward Loring Park. Its features include plans for more trees and gardens along the northern stretch of the mall, an area to be dubbed “Mississippi Woods.” (You can see a nice overview of the plan with photos here.)

But it won't be cheap, so city leaders for several years have been prodding lawmakers for state money.

Gov. Mark Dayton has backed a plan for $20 million in state investment, as part of a much broader bonding bill for capital improvement projects statewide. (The city also aims to raise another $25 million for Nicollet with an assessment levied on property owners near the mall, although details of that proposal haven't been finalized, the Star Tribune notes.)

The new $15,000 study, conducted by St. Paul-based Donjek and Anton Economics, seems to offer ammunition to project supporters. (See a copy of the report posted by the Downtown Journal here.) The report argues that a Nicollet redesign would raise downtown property values and lure new money-spending visitors.

"As our funding request makes its way through the Legislature, these numbers tell the story that the project is well worth the investment,” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said in a statement.

But for now, lawmakers are chewing over Dayton's bonding bill, so the Nicollet project's funding is up in the air.

Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, a key legislator who chairs the House Capital Investment Committee, said Wednesday she still has concerns about the project, the Star Tribune reports. “In meeting after meeting, I’ve listened and listened, and I can’t tell what the concept is. ... It’s been something of a moving target.”

Next Up

Target headquarters

2 men plead guilty to arson at Target headquarters in Minneapolis

The two men were charged in the Aug. 26, 2020, arson that happened following false rumors about a police shooting.

State Capitol.

MN House votes to condemn insurrection and false election claims, 8 GOPers vote against

The resolution condemned violence at the U.S. and state capitols and declared support for 2020 election results.

Michelle Young

Teacher from Edina steals Matt James' heart on 'The Bachelor'

She's also a former high school and college basketball star.

Screen Shot 2021-01-21 at 1.57.10 PM

Missing woman found dead in north Minneapolis

The 63-year-old's body was found three days after she was reported missing.

Mike Lindell, My Pillow CEO.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has Twitter account 'permanently suspended'

The move was taken by Twitter due to apparent violations of its Civic Integrity Policy.

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2

Minnesota confirms America's 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID strain

The strain was found in a Twin Cities metro resident who recently traveled to Brazil.


Gov. Walz announces education plan aimed at eliminating disparities

The plan covers seven categories, including closing the racial education gap and improving opportunities in rural Minnesota

Tax forms

Charges: Otsego cleaning business underreported sales

An Otsego woman is accused of owing more than $20,500 in sales tax, penalties and interest.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz gives vaccine providers 3-day, 7-day deadlines to use doses

Those that don't use their allocation will be given less in the future.


Minneapolis wants to spend an extra $45k on PR for Nicollet Mall

The renovation has been a public relations headache for the city.