MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you’ve walked near Nicollet Mall recently, you know the $50 million redesign is well underway.
Construction crews are a constant sight along the mall. Right now the focus is near 10th and Nicollet. The work has closed popular summer restaurant patios, and slowed business for others.
The sound of a jack hammer has become the norm as well, and the noise has people covering their ears.
“It’s been quite the process obviously. You have to take a little pain to get some gain,” Joshua Petzel, General Manager of The Local said. “Right now, our section between 10th and Nicollet is probably taking it the hardest. The biggest challenge is noise.”
Construction is keeping people off the patio during parts of the day.
“You try and make them as attractive as you possibly can,” Petzel said. “You want to get your signage out on the side walk and make it as visible from as far a distance as possible.”
Across the mall, The News Room lost part of its patio for work. The sidewalk is closed near Target. Buses are rerouted. That’s taken a toll on Dunn Bros. Coffee.
“I’m keeping a close eye on my sales every day,” manager Armand Obson said.
Obson said sales are down about 20 percent. He said the relocation of the farmers market during construction, coupled with fewer big events this summer and less foot traffic because of the bus routes, forced the business to close an hour earlier, at 5 p.m.
“Close to the end of the day, it would be people catching buses, waiting for buses,” Obson said. “We’ve had to like fit in the same amount of work in a smaller time frame.”
The end result of the project will give the mall a new look, including more sidewalk space and room for pedestrians. Businesses say they’re all in it together.
“The sooner it’s done the sooner we can all move forward,” Petzel said.
Street construction will start next year. The work is expected to be done in 2017, with a grand opening.