Business leaders, Minneapolis officials and the public celebrated the opening of the new Nicollet today—a greener, brighter and more user-friendly main street for downtown Minneapolis.
The Nicollet renovation features twice the amount of greenery with nearly 250 new trees, including some already 40-feet tall along with the latest LED lighting. The renovation included stamped and leveled concrete walkways that now are straighter and wider along with curb-free intersections so pedestrians will never have to step up or off a curb.
Nicollet is now home to the city’s largest display of public artwork outside of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Notable features include: the Light Walk, a two-block long overhead light installation made up of a series of mirrored fins and programmable LED lights; Nicollet Lanterns, 12 illuminated sculptural lanterns featuring poems by local writers; Prairie Tree, a sculpture featuring wind-animated elements that reflect the sky; and the restored Nicollet Sculpture Clock.
The reconstructed street designed by world-renowned architectural firm James Corner Field Operations addressed four main areas of Nicollet in need of improvement: creating an identity for Nicollet, updating materials overall, decreasing clutter and making spaces more inviting.
The Nicollet renovation addressed the lack of identity by implementing a new brand campaign that involved dropping “mall” from all Nicollet signage and banners and developing a new tagline “On Nicollet.” The new tagline encourages visitors to share their experiences using the hashtag #OnNicollet. Focused on uniformity, the campaign also incorporates colorful banners, branded furniture and wayfinding kiosks to direct pedestrians through Nicollet.
Nicollet has been a retail and business hub for the city since 1880s. It was last renovated in 1991 before this reconstruction project. The project secured state bonding in 2014 after City and business leaders made a successful pitch to state lawmakers about the urgent need for a major overhaul of the mall, which was plagued with cracking granite pavers on the sidewalks and other infrastructure in need of repairs.
The funding for the public/private partnership includes $25 million in downtown property assessments, $21.5 million in state bonding and $3.5 million from the City of Minneapolis. The new Nicollet has already attracted more than $300 million in private investment. For more information about Nicollet, visit OnNicollet.com.