Minneapolis Kmart demolition to be expedited due to unexpected fire

Following a fire at the Minneapolis Kmart on Lake Street, the Minneapolis City Council will look to expedite the city’s demolition of the site that was once home to the retail chain.

According to an update from the City of Minneapolis, city workers completed a partial demolition of unstable walls within the former Kmart building on Friday – a process that was initially set to begin in 2024.

However, "the fire this morning has brought newfound urgency to that effort," according to the announcement.

Minneapolis Fire Department Assistant Chief Melanie Rucker confirmed the fire started in the rear of the building, with heavy fire and smoke from the rear. The fire had breached the roof of the building by the time fire crews arrived around 5 a.m. on Oct. 20, according to Rucker. 

As a result, the city council will seek approval on the demolition contract that was previously bid on during its next cycle. 

Following approval, formal demolition work can begin during the coming months, starting with abatement and proper disposal of hazardous materials.

On Oct. 10, city staff hosted an open house to get feedback on the Nicollet Redevelopment Project, which would demolish the Kmart building that has cut Nicollet Avenue in two for more than four decades, and reconnect the popular thoroughfare with Lake Street, along with housing, retail, and public spaces. 

Despite the unexpected fire, the New Nicollet Redevelopment Project remains on track and staff are currently gathering feedback from community members on new roadway and public space design concepts," according to Friday’s announcement.