MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In just under eight months, downtown Minneapolis will be the center of one of the biggest media and sporting events in the world — the Super Bowl.
Renderings provided by the Minnesota Super Bowl Committee show massive crowds on Nicollet Mall attending concerts and other events.
Right now, however, Nicollet Mall remains a major construction site.
In the days leading up to the big game, Nicollet Mall will be hosting Super Bowl Live, a multi-day event expected to attract up to a million visitors.
Steve Cramer, the president of the Downtown Council says, there’s no reason to worry about the current construction.
“Downtown is really going to be great for the Super Bowl,” he said.
Amid the construction, there is evidence of businesses upgrading.
Both the Minneapolis Hilton and the Nicollet Mall Target are being renovated, and the Downtown Council is working on recruiting new businesses to fill empty stores.
A Nordstrom Rack will open this fall in the IDS tower and a downtown business veteran, Jack Farrell, is opening a wine bar in August.
“I have always felt a wine bar would do very well downtown,” he said.
Farrell, who has owned the downtown Haskell’s store for 47 years, is taking over the nearby space that was once Dunn Brothers Coffee.
It’s been empty for over a year.
“We will be ready for the Super Bowl,” he said.
Farrell is not so sure about the rest of downtown. He says “it’s wishful thinking” that the mall construction will be done and new businesses moved in by February.
But Cramer insists that downtown and the Nicollet Mall will be ready.
“It’s all going to be done,” he said. “You can take it to the bank.”
As for the biggest empty spaces in downtown, like Macy’s and Barnes and Noble, the Downtown Council says it’s likely those will host temporary pop-up stores that will carry NFL merchandise.