Managing Nicollet is a Shared Responsibility

The success of Nicollet depends on the involvement of a wide range of agencies and partners, including City of Minneapolis, mpls downtown council, law enforcement, social services, and commercial and residential property owners. The Mpls Downtown Improvement District (DID) team worked with the City of Minneapolis to finalize an ordinance and policy for the successful management of Nicollet. With our livability team in place, and a position dedicated to activating Nicollet, DID continues its leadership of Nicollet’s daily operations.

Nicollet reopened in the fall of 2017 after undergoing a complex multi-year renovation—from the hundreds of thousands of feet in below-ground utilities to the 1,500 LED lights illuminating the new sidewalks and street. Click Here to learn more about the Nicollet redesign.

History of Nicollet Mall

Nicollet Avenue has been Minneapolis’ civic “Main Street” for more than 100 years. Throughout most its history, first horse-drawn wagons and then cars parked in front of Nicollet Avenue businesses and stores. Then in the 1960’s, in order to compete with developing Suburban areas, eight blocks were closed to automobile traffic, shifting the emphasis to bus transit and recreating Nicollet as a more pedestrian-oriented retail thoroughfare with larger sidewalks and public places.

As the first transit “mall” in the country, Nicollet quickly became a national model of urban innovation, inspiring the creation of transit malls in other cities, including Portland, Oregon and Denver, Colorado. One of the most popular and signature characteristics of the 1960’s design was the serpentine curve of the street originally conceived by landscape architect Lawrence Halprin. This curve, along with the wide sidewalks, planters and outdoor seating turned Nicollet itself into an attraction.

Nicollet Mall was renovated in 1990 by BRW, Inc., but infrastructure upgrades underneath the street and the aging out of the pink granite pavers and other design features from that era set the stage for the next iteration of Nicollet.