Open house offers first look at possible future of former Kmart site

The intersection of Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue is both literally and figuratively at a crossroads.

Now the public is getting a chance to weigh in on what direction a prime piece of real estate at that intersection will take.

"I'm just more interested in them opening it up. What that's going to do to the community," said Dixon Martin who lives near the former Kmart building.

The City of Minneapolis 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.

"We've heard overwhelmingly that folks would like to see greenspace, greening, trees. As you can see, there is none of that on the site right now," said Adrienne Bockheim with the City of Minneapolis.

The city asked visitors their thoughts on three different concepts of where green space should go on the 10-acre lot.

It also wants input on four concepts of what the new stretch of Nicollet Avenue could look like and whether it should have street parking, a median, and be open to general traffic or just bus lanes.

"There's lots of views out there. I'm not surprised, with the street being closed for 50 years, there's lots of room for new visions and new ways to use the street space," said Kelsey Fogt with the City of Minneapolis.

But for many, anything that will reconnect Nicollet Avenue is a move in the right direction.

"It's exciting to see progress here and I hope we make the right decisions," said Jesse Burndt, who lives near the former Kmart building.