City moves forward with plans to reopen Nicollet Avenue at Lake Street

A City Council committee today heard about the City’s efforts to reopen Nicollet Avenue at Lake Street, through the current Kmart property. For many years, reconnecting Nicollet Avenue has been a priority for the City, and as part of the 2012 budget process, the Mayor and City Council directed several City departments to work together to move the project forward. Today, the work group made its first report to the City Council’s Transportation and Public Works Committee. The update will also be presented to the Ways and Means Committee at 1:30 p.m. on June 25 and the Community Development Committee at 1:30 p.m. on July 10.

Nicollet Avenue was closed and vacated between 29th Street and Lake Street in the late 1970s to make way for a retail development. Reopening Nicollet Avenue would not only restore the street grid, but it would help revitalize nearby businesses along the corridor from south Minneapolis to Downtown. A new Nicollet Avenue would make for better neighborhoods and improved driving, biking, and pedestrian experiences. It would pave the way for redevelopment that grows the tax base, reweave a missing connection, and focus and leverage the transit investments being made in the immediate area, which is near several large employment centers, including downtown Minneapolis.

Reopening Nicollet is a major undertaking that will require strong partnerships between the public and private sectors, and this work is still in its early stages. Potential pre-development funding for the project may be included in the Mayor and City Council’s discussions about the 2013 budget, and a developer is working to assemble control of the site, which currently involves multiple owners. As part of today’s presentation, the work group shared a timeline of early steps in the process. It includes a preliminary community engagement process starting this summer, which would broaden as the project becomes more defined.

Published Jun. 19, 2012