Uptown Minneapolis storm preparedness plan

Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street
Calhoun Square, at the intersection of Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue, on Tuesday evening, May 8, 2012.
MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

Uptown shopping and restaurant district

•Location: Hennepin Ave. and Lake Street, Minneapolis

•That corner is the location of Calhoun Square, a two-story mall, with some three dozen shops, restaurants and kiosks. Several other small businesses are also located in the general area.

During our hypothetical tornado, about 500 people would be at Calhoun Square at that time. Once a tornado warning was issued for the area, mall security would spread the word to merchants and monitor the skies on the roof. It's "where I'd run to in the Uptown area," said buiilding manager Ken Seifert.

Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street
Looking north along Hennepin Avenue just south of Lake Street on Tuesday evening, May 8, 2012.
MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

The mall's atrium, which has skylights and glass, would be cleared since it would present the most danger to patrons.

Patrons and employees would move to to shelter areas, includiing the east hallway on the first level and the basement.

Building officials expect shoppers and others in the Uptown area would seek shelter in Calhoun Square in the event of severe weather.

Three other businesses are located on the corner of Hennepin and Lake.

The Juut Salonspa would have 15-35 people on site on typical weeknight. The senior manager on duty is supposed to send guests and staff to the basement if he or she determines a tornado could hit the salon. There is no weather radio on site. Jeremy Melting, director of operations for the small local chain says staff are advised of what to look for in the sky, but he acknowledged the training could be improved.

The two other stores, MAC Cosmetics and Victoria's Secret both declined interviews for this report. Employees at both stores said they also would move customers into their basements if a tornado struck. Neither store had a weather radio on site, according to employees who were not authorized to speak on the record.

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Officials from Calhoun Square did not provide us with a written copy of their emergency preparedness plan.

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