MINNEAPOLIS — Everybody living on the south side of Minneapolis knows the old Uptown Kmart building now serves as a post office.
"I worked there for three months — only lasted three months," laughed Luz Gonzalez, who frequents the area.
It was a short employment run in a building that's been a staple along West Lake Street since its doors opened in 1978, cutting off access to Nicollet Avenue.
"This will be the first time in my life that the street's going to be open," said Gonzalez.
On Oct. 3, the first phase of the long-awaited demolition of the plaza will begin, starting with the attached grocery store.
"With rising construction prices, it is now actually turned out to be a more effective and efficient use of resources to demolish the vacant grocery store now, rather than waiting to demolish it at the same time that we demolish the Kmart store," said Rebecca Parrell, a project supervisor with the city of Minneapolis.
With a demolition timeline set, in a neighborhood rich with culture and diversity, the city is working with companies like Neoo Partners to figure out what's next for the space.
"Learning more about how people move and shop in the area and live and sort of how things work or don't work for people today, and we also want to start to learn more about what would make the area more successful," said Parrell.
Part of the plan is to reconnect Nicollet Avenue, which council member Aisha Chughtai, who represents Ward 10 where the building is located, hopes future plans for the space meet the needs of the community.
Her office sent the following statement:
"Councilmember Chughtai wants to see equitable development without displacing residents. Any development must be rooted in and for the community. It must meet their needs, specifically the needs of BIPOC residents, immigrants, young people, disabled community members, people in transitional housing, and renters. We must make sure community engagement builds a space for these community members and their vision for this development."
"I would like to see 'cause there's a lot of kids around here. I would like to see more parks and green space," said Keon Travis who works in the area.
"I just hope that they open it up and make it a comfortable space for everybody to you know enjoy," said Gonzalez.
The city plans to demolish the remainder of the plaza in 2024 after the post office's lease expires in September of 2023.
Road construction to reconnect Nicollet is set to begin in the spring of 2025.
To signup for updates on the property, and public input meetings, click here.
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