As part of a long-standing goal to reopen Nicollet Avenue at Lake Street, the City Council voted today to authorize City staff to exercise an option to purchase 10. W. Lake St.—the land under the Kmart store in south Minneapolis.
Moving ahead with the purchase of the Kmart land gives the City certainty that at some point in the future Nicollet Avenue will reopen, but an exact timeline hasn’t been determined. The City and Kmart have not been able to reach an agreement to relocate Kmart to a new store location on site, which would allow Nicollet to reopen. Kmart’s lease expires in 2053.
Reopening Nicollet at Lake Street would reconnect neighborhoods, reestablish the street grid and set the stage for new development on 10 acres of land now home to single-story retail buildings and surface parking lots. The Kmart store was built in 1977.
Moving forward, the City will continue to work with Kmart on the possibility of relocating the store, and also work with community leaders and keep them informed of developments in the ongoing efforts to reopen Nicollet.
In addition to the primary goal of reopening Nicollet Avenue, the City’s adopted plans for the area call for mixed-use, multi-story development. Development has the potential to bring new jobs, quality housing for a variety of income levels and retail options to the area. As the development takes shape, City staff will be working with the surrounding community to incorporate the community’s vision into the goals and objectives for the site. Public investment in the I-35W Transit Access project and green crescent connection to the greenway will also provide enhanced pedestrian, bicycle and transit access in the immediate area.
The City purchased land adjacent to the Kmart site formerly home to a Supervalu grocery story in 2015. At that time, the Council also approved initiating an option agreement for the land under the Kmart site. The cost of this investment is $8 million, of which the City has already paid $800,000 to secure the option agreement.
Cash from the City’s Streetcar Value Capture Fund will cover the $7.2 million remainder of the purchase price plus $100,000 in closing costs. The Value Capture tool allows the City to tap property taxes generated from five parcels along the Nicollet Central corridor identified for a future streetcar line.
The Council also passed directions calling on City staff to report back later this summer with recommendations on supporting renters and preventing the displacement of low-income residents, renters and businesses owned by immigrants and people of color.