MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - After three years of a blank slate work now begins to fill a void on the northeast shore of Bde Maka Ska.
Jeff Heuer lives across the street and vividly remembers that night in mid-may of 2019 when the old refectory building – as it was called – went up in flames. With it went a popular stop to eat and socialize.
"They thought our building was on fire, all the smoke alarms were going off," Heuer told FOX 9. "So it was kind of frantic and scary."
But now the first official day of construction has replacement fencing going up, and in the next few weeks other small site prep work will start before digging begins in early June.
What is set to open next spring will be two buildings connected by one roof – the north building more open for seasonal concessions, and the south building smaller, but enclosed for year-round use.
The new construction will generally sit on the same area, but the total square footage from the old building to the new will increase by about 50%. The whole area has been redesigned to maximize the social - community aspect of it all, including steps that lead to the water edge.
In the meantime that open space took on a life of its own.
"We’ve seen break dancers, we’ve seen zumba classes out there… skateboarders… you name it," Heuer said. "It’s kind of nice to see the creativity and how people use it."