MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Nicollet Mall has stood for more than 50 years as the main street of Minneapolis.

After recently losing landmark destinations, such as the downtown Macy’s and several restaurants, the iconic transit mall is undergoing a major transformation.

City leaders are looking to turn Nicollet Mall into the shopping mecca it once was.

But first, they’ll have to convince consumers.

“I don’t know what stores are where,” said downtown worker Brandi Knupp on Wednesday. “That is why I never come down here.”

A Downtown Council plan calls for aggressive recruiting of businesses, especially smaller stores, improving downtown parking and concerns about safety.

The gold standard is the Dayton’s Project, a multi-use renovation of the old Dayton’s building. The renovated space is scheduled to open sometime in 2019.

“The plan for the Dayton’s Project basement, first-floor and second-floor is the epitome of what the task force hopes retail can be in this area of Nicollet Mall,” said Steve Cramer, the CEO of the Downtown Council.

Haskell’s Wine and Spirits has been in downtown Minneapolis since the 1930s. Owners says the more than two years of construction on Nicollet Mall completed late last year was a major blow to business.

But Haskell’s took a leap of faith and opened a small wine bar and cafe on Nicollet just months ago, and it’s been a success.

“We are very pleased with the wine bar,” said Haskell’s CEO Jack Farrell. “We find it very exciting and we haven’t even had the best part yet because of this particularly long winter.”

Farrell is not alone in saying warmer weather will boost existing downtown businesses and recruiting.

Patio season is around the corner and in May the farmers market will return to Nicollet Mall.

Esme Murphy

  1. The Daytons project will be a massive failure. Costs are too high. Meaning prices for food, drink and clothing will be too high. They have no idea what they are doing. Stores are random. Nothing makes sense. They don’t allow a natural progressive way for stores to figure out how they fit with one another. Block E was turned into City Center. Hundreds of millions thrown out the door. No one came. Only black five finger discount hands. Liberalism is a mental disorder.