Minneapolis is asking for community input to redevelop the Lake Street Kmart location

Since closing its doors in 2020, Kmart on Lake Street has been a 10-acre sea of ​​parking lots, half-hanging red letters and abandoned shopping carts. And for Uptown residents, it’s been a talking point for years. Because the property separates the north and south running streets in one of Minneapolis’ most popular hubs, the site of the former mall has disrupted access to bus routes, the Greenway, and the overall ability to quickly get from point A to point B on Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue, one of Minneapolis’ most popular thoroughfares.

Shortly after the 2020 Lake Street Kmart foreclosure, the City of Minneapolis purchased the land with the intention of upgrading the cement face to greater and better heights. Now, almost two years later, the Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development team wants the community’s help in deciding the new destiny of the country.

Community members and business owners can participate in an online survey, hosted through the City of Minneapolis website, where they can share their thoughts on how the area should become and how it can better serve the neighborhood. The goal of the project is to simultaneously restore the road network between Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue while improving the quality of life for residents in the Uptown neighborhood.

“The city of Minneapolis has a long history of developing through our community engagement,” said Rebecca Parrell, co-director of the New Nicollet Redevelopment project to redevelop the area. “And by involving the community, we’re trying to figure out exactly how the community is currently performing in this space. What they see as challenges, what they see as benefits, and how we can capitalize on those as we move forward.”

The first phase of Nicollet’s redevelopment, which is considered a mark of success, focuses on engaging the Minneapolis community in the project itself. In addition to the poll, which runs through November 30, the group is hosting an open house on October 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Abyssinia Cultural Center, just blocks from the former Kmart campus

“I think it’s worth saying that there are different viewpoints,” says Parrell. “There are people who are genuinely interested in supporting small, local businesses, while there are other people who are interested in having art or format shops that can offer a wider variety of low-cost goods and services, as well as food. “

At the heart of the redevelopment project, Parrell says balance is key. She explains that the future of the site will do its best to optimize the winning traits identified in the first phase of Nicollet’s redevelopment, while aiming to provide the goods and services needed in the area in the design of the future space funding takes place in phase two. The actual demolition of the Kmart building and the redevelopment of the site will take place in phase three.

Although the project is not expected to be completed before the end of 2023, a few things are certain: the new space will be greener, larger and more convenient for locals. Parrell explains that the building will most likely include storefronts providing street-level access to Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue, multiple floors of apartments providing new housing for the area above, and lots of greenery added to the land around to provide shade in the summer and create a more welcoming environment overall.

“At the end of the day, 10 acres of land won’t solve all of the challenges we face,” says Parrell. “But we must try to do our best to listen and prioritize what we hear from the community. We will do our best to meet the needs of the people who are there.”

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