Minneapolis Approves Millions More for Nicollet Mall Project

MINNEAPOLIS – Yet another change in the project to redevelop the Nicollet Mall has resulted in an additional $2.1 million being approved by a Minneapolis City Council committee on Tuesday.

The new money will pay for design changes, extra man hours, and more landscaping supplies, reports the Star Tribune. This is one of a series of budget increases the project has gone through since May 2016, totaling $4.7 million in additional expenses. This also includes contract extensions, design modifications, and bigger trees. A total of five contracts have been amended since last May, including contracts for design, construction, project management, and landscaping services.

In spite of these new expenses, the project is still running under budget on two different fronts. The Nicollet Mall renovations had a total budget of $50 million, and $7.5 million of that was allocated for unexpected costs such as these, reports the Star Tribune. The total cost if this new raise is approved is $41 million.

The newest cost additions have not yet been approved by the full city council. That vote will occur on August 31.

Nicollet Mall’s renovations are supposed to be mostly completed by November. This is more than two full years after the corridor was first closed off to vehicles.

When the project was starting the city received only one bid for it, $24 million over the allocated budget, reports the Star Tribune. The city changed the plans in order to make the project work. It did this by splitting the renovations into several smaller pieces, making Metro Transit pay for part of the project, and shifting to concrete use rather than employing more expensive pavers. Public art, special lighting, seating areas, and hundreds of trees will be included in the finished Nicollet Mall.

According to the City of Minneapolis website, the project covers roughly 12 blocks. A link to more details on the project is no longer working. That means the city is spending more than $6 million per block.

In addition, the Target store located along Nicollet Mall just finished its own renovations at a total cost of $10 million, reports WCCO. Those renovations took several month as the store continued to operate during construction.

Anders Koskinen