Macy’s Redevelopment: ‘Purposeful Renovation’

iconic macy's to undergo adaptive re-use renovation What was termed by Mayor Betsy Hodges as a “huge opportunity for downtown Minneapolis,” is now clearly a priority. The new owner of the former Nicollet Mall Macy’s store last week announced the development team tapped to rework the one million square feet of the downtown landmark property into a modern mixed-use development.

Sale of the complex at a price of $59 million to New York developer 601W Companies was made public in December of last year, and the subsequent store closing schedule was announced soon after by the retailer.

Real estate developer United Properties was named local development manager for the massive project. The firm is relocating from its Bloomington headquarters, where it has been for 35 years, to Gaviidae Common in Nicollet Mall, putting its employees closer not only to the Macy’s renovation but also closer to its parent, Pohlad Companies. The two operations will be skyway-linked, viewed as a way to “streamline coordination and communication” between the offices, say representatives. Most of the firm’s 57 employees are expected to make the move to the fourth floor; United Properties has owned the first and second floors of the building since 2015 and purchased the third and fourth floors in June of 2016.

Lead architect for the Macy’s redevelopment will be San Francisco-based Gensler, with Telos Group LLC out of Chicago named as office marketing lead and redevelopment consultant. The pair has previously been associated with 601W Companies on other redevelopment projects. The fourth member of the team announced last week is Houston-based Transwestern to act as the management agent.

Work is expected to begin this spring on the “purposeful renovation” of the downtown Minneapolis landmark that will likely include historic tax credits, according to Gensler spokesman Grant Uhlir. Renovation of the landmark building is expected to retain much of its original character.  Although no timetable has been announced, Telos President Brian Whiting noted that the Macy’s redevelopment “will be one of the largest adaptive re-use projects in the region, and its importance to the City of Minneapolis is not lost on us.” 

He added, “We are not simply redeveloping a building. We are providing unique and progressive environments that draw on the building’s history and combine it with the diverse experiences Minneapolis has to offer.” 

The cornerstone building of the sprawling three-building Macy’s opened in 1902 as Dayton’s; it then become Marshall Field’s. As shopping habits changed, however, much of the space was unused. While the redevelopment will include some retail space, upper floors may be redesigned to serve other purposes, according to preliminary reports. No detailed or definitive plans have been released, and there is no word about the future of the iconic restaurants once housed in the centerpiece historic building.

Final sales of merchandise began in January, shortly after the announcement of the sale. More than a century of retail history at Nicollet Mall has ended. 

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