Dayton's Project Update: Historical Discoveries and Design Changes

Dayton's Project Update: Historical Discoveries and Design Changes

Mpls St. Paul Magazine

By Allison Kaplan

Terrazzo floors! Unearthed, beneath the white tiles on the first floor of the iconic downtown Minneapolis department store building now called the Dayton’s Project. As demolition continues inside the 1.2 million-square-foot space, which is being totally repurposed with a mix of office, retail, and dining, new revelations keep coming. Like a marble drinking fountain, discovered in a wall on the fourth floor near the art deco women’s restroom (which is being preserved), and Spanish tile under the carpet in the old J.B. Hudson space.

So far, 1,200 dumpsters worth of materials and debris have been removed from the building at Seventh and Nicollet. About 75 percent of it is recyclable, says Bob Gardner, CEO of Gardner Builders, one of several entities involved in the project.

Anxious to keep the excitement going with work happening behind walls, developers offered the media another peek inside the construction zone on Tuesday to see the progress. Other than the 40,000-square-foot Andrew Zimmern-curated food hall designated for the lower level, no retail or office tenants have been announced.

While leasing talks are underway, design elements continue to be adjusted with each new building discovery: elevated platforms by the first-floor windows facing Nicollet; staircases that can’t be removed. New renderings of the public areas of the building feature 1920s art deco details and lighting in bold colors.

The complicated project requires construction managers to meet every week with an historic preservation expert on redevelopment decisions. New owners hope to get the property added to the National Register of Historic Places, which would make it eligible for tax credits.


The Dayton's brand coming back to its downtown building

The Dayton's brand coming back to its downtown building

Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

By Mark Reilly

The old Dayton’s in downtown Minneapolis will soon be updated with open mezzanines, sweeping high ceilings, shops and offices. And some of its quirks, like the bathroom with turquoise sinks on the fourth floor, will still be there.

Balancing modern design with the history of Minnesota’s grandest department store is a key challenge for the developers who this year bought the three-building complex on Nicollet Mall that for a century was the headquarters and flagship store of Dayton’s and was most recently occupied by Macy’s.

The new owners, 601W Cos. of New York, and their local development partners are hoping to revive the Dayton’s name and logo as they aim to make the building once again the center of retailing in downtown Minneapolis by 2019.

The lower levels of what they are now calling “the Dayton’s Project” will be filled with stores, restaurants and a food hall with a mix of trendy vendors and dining options. The upper floors will be office space with a health club and large outdoor terrace.

“What we are looking for is to be a destination,” said Brian Whiting, president of the Telos Group, a minority owner in the project.

If the retail portion of the building succeeds, it would be a much-needed boost for Nicollet Mall, which lost stores during a $50 million makeover that began in July 2015 and is nearing completion.

A rendering of one of the spaces in the revamped Macy's/Dayton's building in downtown Minneapolis. Plans call for a mix of retail, restaurants and a high-energy food hall as well as Modern office spaces with assorted meeting areas.

The building joins a growing list of old department stores that are getting new lives. In St. Paul, tenants have already started to move into the former Macy’s building that’s been turned into offices, shops and the practice home of the Minnesota Wild. In St. Louis and Pittsburgh, developers are turning downtown sites last occupied by Macy’s into apartments, offices and shops.

The downtown Minneapolis property is actually three buildings that add up to about 1.3 million square feet, about the size of 10 Target stores.

Though not the height of a skyscraper, the buildings have the space of one. Work crews are already tearing out walls and fixtures that remained from Macy’s, which owned the building for the past decade and sold it to 601W for $59 million in March.

The new owner and its partners will spend tens of millions more to update the buildings, the oldest of which dates to 1902. Some early renderings of their ideas leaked on the internet this month, but they provided the Star Tribune with updated versions for this article. On Monday, they plan to formally share the plans with the public.

Also last week, they invited interested parties to walk through the buildings. Among them: Gov. Mark Dayton and his sons Eric and Andrew, descendants of the founder of the Dayton’s chain.

“Fun to see the Dayton’s name carry on in the building,” Andrew Dayton said.

Eric Dayton, who has been campaigning for downtown property owners and workers to return to the streets from the skyways, said he was impressed by the developers’ ideas for opening up the building to Nicollet Mall.


Plans Unveiled For Dayton’s Building On Nicollet Mall

Plans Unveiled For Dayton’s Building On Nicollet Mall

CBS Minnesota

By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a back-to-the-future makeover for the historic downtown building that was the original Dayton’s department store.

In its last incarnation, the downtown Minneapolis building was home to Macy’s, but the building will once again bear the Dayton name.

Renderings unveiled Monday show a mix of food hall, retail and office space.

A seventh-floor terrace which has gone unused for generations will be transformed to an outdoor work and entertainment space.

The building will be known as the Dayton’s Project. The ambitious $250 million renovation seeks to capitalize on the architectural details of the original building and could provide a badly needed boost to a declining retail and restaurant scene on the Nicollet Mall.

The renovation has already let the sun into the historic space by uncovering windows shuttered for decades to keep shoppers from being distracted.

“It’s the beginning of the process of transforming the building from the introverted environment that it has become to one that engages to city and the outside as it was originally intended,” Brian Whiting, president of The Telos Project, said.

Plans include a food hall in the basement, street and skyway level retail shops with easy access for pedestrians, and large office spaces on the top nine floors. Office tenants will have access to amenities including a full service gym, a library and that seventh-floor rooftop terrace with seating, fire pits, work and entertaining spaces.

The terrace, unused for decades, features stunning city views. As for the old wood-paneled JB Hudson space, developers are hoping to attract a restaurant.

Dayton family members, including Gov. Mark Dayton, have toured the site. The governor’s son Eric tweeted his support saying, “This is an important and exciting project for Downtown Minneapolis; I’m proud to have our name attached.”

City officials hope this project — as well as the completion of the nearly three-year Nicollet Mall construction — will lead the way for business to return downtown.

Steve Cramer, the President of the Downtown Council said,

“This one-two punch is going to be tremendous for our downtown and send a signal we are open for other retail and entertainment business along Nicollet,” Steve Cramer, president of the Downtown Council, said.

Gov. Dayton has not released a statement.

The office spaces are expected to be ready sometime next year, the retail and food hall are scheduled for completion by the summer of 2019.

Negotiations with possible tenants are underway, but developers are not naming any names at this point.


Can the Dayton's Project Bring Back the Magic of Dayton's?

Can the Dayton's Project Bring Back the Magic of Dayton's?

Minnesota Monthly

By Jahna Peloquin

For years after it became Marshall Field’s, and then Macy’s, many stubborn, nostalgic locals insisted on referring to the site of 700 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis as Dayton’s. Now, it appears that Dayton’s is back—sort of.

Over the weekend, workers were busy installing the beginnings of what the building’s new owners are referring to as "The Dayton’s Project." According to an article published over the weekend in the Star Tribune, the company is hoping to revive the Dayton’s name and logo and make the building the center of retail in downtown Minneapolis by 2019.

The building was originally home to a dry goods business, R.S. Goodfellow & Company, then the fourth-largest department store in Minneapolis. The six-story building was constructed by George Draper Dayton, Dayton's founder, in 1902. By 1903, Dayton bought the company and renamed the store Dayton's Dry Goods Company. In 1969, the Detroit-based J.L. Hudson Company merged with the Dayton Company to form the Dayton-Hudson Corporation (later Target Corporation). In 2001, Dayton’s was rebranded as a Marshall Field's store, and in 2004, Target Corp. sold its department store holdings to May Department Stores, rebranding the store once again, this time as Macy’s. The Macy’s iteration closed earlier this year, though it had long since lost its sparkle.

According to renderings of the revamped building, the new Dayton’s will look quite different inside. The new owners plan to cut away a portion of the first two levels to create an atrium-like space connected by grand staircases instead of escalators. The basement also will be substantially renovated. These lower levels will be filled with stores, restaurants, and a food hall with a mix of trendy vendors and dining options, while the upper floors of the mixed-use development will hold office space with a health club and large outdoor terrace.


But despite the major facelift, the new owners and designers are promising that the spirit of Dayton’s will remain intact. “This building has a great history, lot of good memories around it,” says Steven Bieringer of local architecture firm Gensler, one of the project’s designers, in the Star Tribune article. “So we are not going to be altering that, [or] those portions of the building.”

Many of the iconic elements of the original Dayton’s will remain, such as the infamous fourth-floor bathroom with retro turquoise sinks and tile. The new owners are also hoping to use some portions of the Oak Grill restaurant in another public part of the complex. They also are hoping to attract a restaurant for the original JB Hudson jewelry boutique on the first floor.

Of course, much of the magic belonging to the old Dayton’s is destined for the history books. Gone are the eighth-floor holiday displays and flower shows, along with the Glamorama fashion show, the Oval Room, and the painted-cloud ceilings of the Skyroom. Whether the new Dayton’s complex will recapture any of that je ne sais quoi is yet to be seen. (And no word yet on whether the iconic green marble floors will remain.) But at least we can rightfully call it “Dayton’s” again—without being corrected.

In the meantime, you can stop by and check out the new "The Dayton's Project" installation, now on view:


For Dayton's developers, the price tag is big and the spotlight is bright

For Dayton's developers, the price tag is big and the spotlight is bright

Star Tribune

By Nicole Norfleet

“So many people had memories here. … It’s a challenge and it’s a potential benefit too,” said Whiting, president of the Chicago-based Telos Group, a minority owner in the project.

The conversion of the old downtown store into modern offices and stores will cost at least $250 million, developers announced Monday. That includes the $59 million purchase price that new owners 601W Cos. of New York paid earlier this year for the three-building complex.

The plan is for the more than 1 million square feet of space to be transformed with stores, restaurants and a lively food hall to occupy the first two floors and lower level and new offices for an estimated 4,000 workers to take up the rest of the 12 floors.

The redevelopment is being called “the Dayton’s project.” According to records from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 601W Cos. filed an application for the Dayton’s trademark last month. Already developers have begun using the Dayton’s name in their marketing, including a website and large posters on the skyway level of the building.

The store, which in recent years had operated as a Macy’s, has been shuttered since March. Many Minnesotans remember the store from its previous life as the flagship Dayton’s department store which brought thousands to shop along Nicollet Mall.

“I just really couldn’t think of a better scenario for Minneapolis,” said Steve Cramer, president and chief executive of the Minneapolis Downtown Council.

Cramer, who spoke during a news conference Monday announcing the Dayton’s project, said the tie between the store’s redevelopment and the multimillion makeover of Nicollet Mall “couldn’t be stronger or more timely.”

“To me, this one-two punch is going to be tremendous for our downtown and send the signal that we are open for other retail and entertainment business along Nicollet,” he said.

Redevelopment is a daunting task for a complex that has old mechanical systems and asbestos alongside local treasures such as the old Oak Grill restaurant on the top floor and the elaborate JB Hudson jewelry store on the first floor.

Developers said they are working with local and federal historic preservation officials to determine what features of the old department store to save and the best way to preserve them.

Workers are taking apart each floor starting with the fifth. The age of the complex — the oldest of the buildings dates back to 1902 — means there could be construction challenges hidden behind the walls. “As we are starting to open up the layers upon layers that have been cast on this building as a department store over the years, we’ll find challenges,” Whiting said.

No office or retail tenants have been signed, but he said there has been a lot of interest. The complex would mostly be complete in 2019, but it’s possible that some office tenants could move into the space as early as next year.

At about $190 million in teardown and construction costs, the makeover of the Dayton’s complex will become one of the most expensive projects in the Twin Cities at the moment. The new hotel built this year at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport had a budget of $115 million, the makeover of the main terminal $200 million and a new airport parking ramp $240 million.

“It’s really easy to spend money on a project like this,” Whiting said. “I always say it would be easier to just tear it down and start again, but then you would lose all that history and culture and nostalgia that is what’s attracting people.”


A delicate balancing act for Dayton’s redo

A delicate balancing act for Dayton’s redo

Finance & Commerce

By Brian Johnson

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.


Plans unveiled for Dayton's building in downtown Minneapolis

Plans unveiled for Dayton's building in downtown Minneapolis

MPR News

By Matt Barnard

New York based-developers revealed ambitious redevelopment plans for the historic Dayton's building in downtown Minneapolis on Monday that are designed to transform the site into a community hub.

601W Cos., along with partners the Telos Group, LLC and United Properties, began sweeping renovations after acquiring the building in March.

The new plans for the Nicollet Mall building include modern designs while maintaining the historic core of the site, said Telos President Brian Whiting.

"There are some very specific gems within the building that have not only been well preserved, but have a lot of memories tied up in them and those we are going to embrace," Whiting said.

Iconic elements such as the fourth-floor women's bathroom and rooftop facade will be preserved, as will the old Dayton's department store name.

The renovated building will house office, retail and dining space.


Dayton's building redevelopment plans unveiled

Dayton's building redevelopment plans unveiled


MINNEAPOLIS - Developers have unveiled long-awaited plans for the redevelopment of the historic Dayton's Building in downtown Minneapolis.

601w Companies, and its partners at United Properties, The Telos Group, LLC, shared renderings of the planned work on Monday, dubbed The Dayton's Project, located on the corner of Nicollet and 7th Avenue.

The re-envisioned 12-story, 1.2-million square foot building will feature retail space and restaurants on the first and second floors and a food market on the lower level. Floors three through 11 will feature office space with a rooftop park, gym and library.

“This project reflects the historical significance of the building while adding a respectful but progressive design to create dynamic and relevant environments for today’s workforce and the downtown Minneapolis community,” said Steve Bieringer, senior design manager at Gensler Minneapolis, the project architect. 

"We are seeing strong interest in the project from potential tenants for both office and retail, and expect to reach an agreement with a signature food hall tenant that we believe will be a great addition to downtown Minneapolis,” said Bill Katter, president and chief investment officer of United Properties.

The Telos Group says about 80 construction workers are on site beginning demolition and abatement work. Gardner Builder is the project's general contractor. Hightower is the project manager.

The project will create an estimated 400 construction jobs, according to Telos.

“It’s a rare find in our business to discover such a historically significant building in a such a prized location. We fully understand its historical and cultural significance to the City of Minneapolis and the generations of Minnesotans who have experienced great memories here,” said Brian Whiting, President of The Telos Group, LLC.

The building was a shopping destination for decades, most recently with Macy's, up until its closing last March.