MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For years, many Minneapolis residents have wondered whether Minneapolis would ever manage to take back the spot occupied by the Kmart store on Lake Street, and thus reconnect Nicollet Avenue.
Now, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has confirmed to WCCO that the City of Minneapolis has reached a deal to buy Kmart out of its lease there.
“Unblocking this artery is key to unlocking transit potential for Minneapolis,” Frey said. “Our city’s ability to seize this opportunity came as a result of deliberate preparation over many years. This is a momentous day for our entire city.”
The store, which has stood there since 1977, has frequently been called one of if not the most financially successful Kmart location in the nation, with the chain understandably reluctant to let it go. And it has stood resolutely in its spot bisecting Nicollet along Lake Street even as the retailer closed many of its outlets nationwide in recent years.
Kmart has had a land lease on the property, including renewal rights, that could have kept the store in its spot until at least 2053.
For a number of years, the City of Minneapolis has been negotiating its way to a deal that would ultimately lead to the closure of the block-blocking building, and ultimately restore the stretch of Nicollet Mall connecting Eat Street to the Lyndale and Kingfield neighborhoods.
The deal will reportedly cost the city approximately $9.1 million.
If all goes according to the city’s plan, after the store closes, officials say the city will hire a contractor to demolish the Kmart and a former grocery store on the site. Developers would then go to work to determine what goes up in its place along the newly restored stretch of Nicollet.
Plans include “working with the community on a new street and a new development vision for the site.” That Kmart has been noted as one of the few large retail locations for lower-income residents.
The city council’s committee for economic development and regulatory services will consider the agreement at is meeting on Monday, and the full council will vote on it the following Friday.