Construction is beginning to heat up on an ambitious project that will turn the historic Dayton’s complex in downtown Minneapolis from an obsolete single-use retail store into a creative multi-tenant office and retail space.
As of Tuesday, New York-based 601w Cos. and its project team have pulled demolition permits valued at $6.97 million for the top-to-bottom makeover of the 1.2 million - square - foot complex at 700 Nicollet Mall, according to the city of Minneapolis.
That’s just a down payment on a renovation touted by the project team as one of the largest adaptive reuses of a historic property in the nation. Total project costs are projected to be north of $250 million, a project spokesperson said in an email.
As Finance & Commerce first reported in March, the undertaking will be called “The Dayton’s Project.” The complex was built as a Dayton’s department store in 1902. It more recently operated as Macy’s before closing in March. For a while it was a Marshall Field’s store.
About 80 construction workers are already onsite taking care of initial demolition and abatement duties. The project is expected to create 400 construction jobs and will employ all-union labor, according to the developers.
The renovation is scheduled to wrap up in 2019, though some office space will be available for “early tenancy” next year, the developers said.
On Monday, New York-based 601w Cos. and its partners released the latest images of what the 12-story building will look like inside and out when the dust settles on the renovation. The team includes Chicago-based Telos Group and Minneapolis-based United Properties.
While walking the tightrope between preserving the 115-year-old building’s historic character and creating modern spaces, the project team hopes to connect future tenants with the “larger city landscape,” including Nicollet Mall, said Steven Bieringer, a project architect.
Bieringer, a senior design manager at Gensler’s Minneapolis office, said in an interview that the building historically connected with the mall by way of window shopping. But it was hard for people on Nicollet Mall to see inside the building — and vice versa.
That’s about to change with help from a design that will bring more natural light into the interior spaces, he said.
“We want them to be able to look into the building now,” Bieringer said.
Architectural images depict transparent and open spaces. Among the signature features is a rooftop garden with gathering spaces, which will top off the structure.
In addition, the project will restore historical features such as the building’s façade, the first-floor JB Hudson space and the distinctive Art Deco ladies room on the fourth floor, the project team said.
Besides Gensler Minneapolis (architect and interior design), the project team includes Gardner Builders (general contractor), Hightower Initiatives (owners’ representative), Meyer Borgman Johnson (structural engineering), McGuire Engineering (mechanical/electrical), Preservation Design Works (preservation/historic design), and Coen+Partners (landscape design).
The renovated building will offer retail space and restaurants on the first and second floors and a “dynamic festival food market” on the lower level, according to the project team. Office space is pegged for floors three through 11.
The rooftop will include seating, fire pits and an adjoining lounge, gym and a library.
In February, 601w Cos. bought the complex from Cincinnati-based Macy’s Inc. for $59 million.
“It’s a rare find in our business to discover such an architecturally significant building in such a prized location,” Brian Whiting, president of The Telos Group, said in a press release. “We fully understand its historical and cultural significance to the city of Minneapolis and the generations of Minnesotans who have experienced great memories there.”
Shortly after the sale, Minneapolis-based United Properties said it would be a part owner and developer in the renovation.
No tenants have been announced yet, but a project spokesperson said Tuesday that the team is “in conversations with many groups” and that “interest is very high.”
United Properties President and Chief Operating Officer Bill Katter said in a press release that the project team is seeing “strong interest” from potential retail and office tenants. Katter expects to reach an agreement soon with a “signature food hall tenant,” he added.
“This move will be a key first step in attracting other high-caliber tenants that will round out this property,” Katter said.
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