Minneapolis Lake Street Kmart site: Leaders share recommended concepts

The City of Minneapolis held a public meeting Thursday evening to provide an update on the Nicollet Redevelopment Project.

The project aims to bring new life to the site of the former K-Mart building, which was also the site of a massive fire in October. That helped the city speed up its demolition process, destroying all that was left by November. Today, the site sits empty with nothing but a fenced-off, concrete parking lot.

The public has pitched similar ideas, including green spaces, recreational areas, bike paths, and transit connections. Kelsey Fogt, the Senior Transportation Planner for the city says while the vision is coming to fruition, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.

"We're looking to start construction in 2025 on the street. The development will come after that. The public space will come after that. So there will still be a lot of transition in this area" said Fogt.

Just a few blocks away from the site is Eat Street, home to several small businesses and restaurants. With this project expected to bring more people to the area, business owners have been up-to-date on what could be coming soon.

Thursday's update

Project leaders have selected recommended concepts for the New Nicollet roadway and public spaces on the site.

"Overall, what people were asking for when we're talking about the street is that they were looking for a space that really supports pedestrians coming through the area," said Kelsey Fogt, the senior transportation planner for Minneapolis Public Works.

At an open house Thursday night, city officials demonstrated the street concept they're recommending. It has wide sidewalks and space for things like sidewalk cafes and also has transit advantages and safe connections for bicycles. The street would be open to transit and vehicles.

As for public spaces on the site, community feedback led city planners to recommend a public park along the Midtown Greenway and between the new Nicollet Avenue and 1st Avenue.

"We heard from folks from the very beginning that having green space and greening in general on the site is very, very important. It was one of the top comments that we got from folks throughout the engagement, and I think that there's a lack of a park in this area in general," said Adrienne Bockheim, Minneapolis’ principal city planner and designer.