By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Dayton’s Project was announced back in 2017 as a plan that would help revitalize downtown Minneapolis with its mid-2019 opening.

However, the mixed-retail office project which occupies the entirety of the old Dayton’s department store building on Nicollet Mall has been hit with delays.

On Tuesday, WCCO’s Esme Murphy got a tour of the project slated to open next spring.

The overall plan for the project is to combine 700,000 square feet of office space on the upper floors, with a combined food court and retail space in the lower floors.

A tour showed most of The Dayton’s Project is still under construction. One area will be a library for tenant use. Another area is set to be a locker room for the 10,000 square foot fitness center.

The lower level food court will be operated by celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern, but The Dayton’s Project’s officials are mum about other tenants.

The Dayton’s Project is one of many downtown spaces either under construction or empty. The Downtown Council insists those spots on Nicollet Mall and in nearby skyways will soon be filled.

“(We were) never worried about skyway space; that comes open, that always leases up. We have got our own pop-up retail that will be coming back in October and November,” Steve Cramer, president of the Downtown Council, said.

Downtown workers walking by the Dayton’s Project just want to see someone move in. Worker Kaia Anderson said she was looking forward to “anything new and exciting. It’s a pretty large space, so it will be cool to see what they do with it.”

While officials say their official opening will be sometime in the spring of 2020, they are hoping that the food court will be open as soon as Valentine’s Day and that construction will be complete by April.

The total cost for renovating the old Dayton’s store is estimated at more than $200 million.

Esme Murphy

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