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See it: Nicollet Mall's nearly final redesign

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Nicollet Mall redesign
A rendering of Loring Woods Plaza at Loring Greenway, part of the redesigned Nicollet Mall.
Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations

Construction on the $50 million redesign of Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis begins this summer, and the architects of the project are in the final stages of planning.

The redesign is meant to bring the mall in line with who is downtown now, said Lisa Switkin, a principal with James Corner Field Operations.

"The Nicollet Mall of 25 years ago was catering to a different audience ... it was mostly retail," Switkin said.

Now, it's meant to be a space for a broader group, including those living downtown, she added.

The project has three main goals, according to Switkin:

• Make the mall more pedestrian-friendly
• Make it greener, including adding new trees and shrubs
• Take advantage of downtown's revitalization and residential construction boom.

Earlier versions of the design included stairs going from the skyways to the mall, but that idea has been scrapped.

"We always wanted a dialogue between the skyway and the street," Switkin said. "But it was actually very difficult to make a public connection to what's essentially a private skyway."

James Corner Field Operations will show the updated plans at a public meeting at the Minneapolis Central Library at 6 p.m. Tuesday.