City gives preliminary OK for demolition of Star Tribune building

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The Star and Tribune, circa 1954 (Minnesota Historical Society photo)

The staff at the Heritage Preservation Commission in Minneapolis has signed off on the demolition of the Star Tribune building to make way for a Downtown East park planned near the new Vikings stadium. Here's a look at the building through nearly a century of Minneapolis history:

The building itself is a bit of Minnesota history. Here's an excerpt from the staff report on its origins:

"The subject property was constructed in 1919 and 1920 by the Nonpartisan League: the populist and somewhat socialist agrarian movement that swept the upper Midwest beginning in 1915 and which led to the formation of the Farmer Labor Party. The League, under the auspices of the Northwest Publishing Company, founded the Minnesota Daily Star (later named the Minneapolis Daily Star): one of Minneapolis’ many upstart papers audacious enough to challenge the dominant Minneapolis Journal and Minneapolis Tribune. The paper quickly faltered, falling into receivership by 1924."

That history won't be enough to save the place from the wrecking ball, if the Historic Preservation Commission approves the request for "Demolition of a Historic Resource" at its Nov. 19th meeting. It's part of a multi-step approval process for the larger, $400 million Downtown East development proposed by the Ryan Cos. The newspaper is expected to relocate elsewhere downtown.

The city is asking to keep some of the history, though. The Heritage Preservation Commission has two conditions for tearing the place down, including saving a half-dozen "seals" representing the industries of the Upper Midwest:

  • At the developer’s expense, the developer shall ensure the six stone medallions are safely removed, stored, and incorporated into the proposed park onsite, along with an interpretive plaque describing the history of the site.

  • The developer shall commission a historian who meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards in History to document the history of the Star Tribune and its previously purchased newspapers, for distribution to CPED and local historical organizations, and possible publication in popular and/or scholarly journals.

You can read the report here: