Plans take shape, as city leaders reimagine former south Minneapolis Kmart site

Plans take shape, as city leaders reimagine former south Minneapolis Kmart site

Plans take shape, as city leaders reimagine former south Minneapolis Kmart site

A pile of dirt and lingering dust that remain from the wreckage of the former south Minneapolis Kmart, at last, sit atop some concrete plans.

City planners provided initial renderings for the street design and a sizeable public park space that will replace a chunk of the empty lot at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue.

Public Works’ senior transportation planner Kelsey Fogt said reconnecting Nicollet Avenue is first on their list. The road—long cut in half at Lake Street—has been called the heart of the city, and it’s the heart of the project.

“I’m very excited,” Fogt said, adding, “I live nearby, so it’ll be part of my daily commute into work, into downtown.”

Public Works plans to present a street design concept complete with sidewalks and some greenery for City Council approval in April or May, Fogt said.

A plan for a public park will seek City Council approval around the same time, said principal city planner and designer, Adrienne Bockheim.

She and her team narrowed it down to a sizeable square space with a bike and walking path weaving through the property from the west side of the lot.

“People liked that it was one kind of larger, more regularly shaped park,” Bockheim said.

Plans beyond that will later be up to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, but it’s expected to include recreation space, community gardens, public art and plenty of greenery.

That’s in their process that gets figured out further down the road, Bockheim said.

“But certainly, as part of the public space work, we went out and talked to folks in the area and asked them, you know, ‘What are some themes, the different cultures that live in this area and different, you know, what are the stories that took place around this site that could then be integrated in public art in the future?”

For the time being, the rest of the space remains a blank canvas, surrounded by a tapestry of hopes and dreams for its future.

Bockheim is confident that businesses, like the restaurants and shops that line Eat Street to the north, will want to join in.

Fogt expects construction to reconnect Nicollet Avenue will begin in 2025, and then it’ll be a few more years before a park—or anything else fills the space—according to Bockheim, who expects to start additional public engagement sometime this spring.