BEST RESCUED LANDMARK - 2007
Last year, our major cultural institutions opened their sparkling new facilities, designed by the world's star architects, and dazzled the international press. Meanwhile, a renovated behemoth on Lake Street in the heart of Minneapolis revitalized an urban neighborhood with a stunning array of multicultural, multi-use tenants. Today it represents one of the country's most impressive success stories of adaptive reuse. At one million square feet, the former Sears building at Lake Street and Chicago Avenue was a colossus encompassing three blocks in Phillips, a notoriously troubled south Minneapolis neighborhood. After decades of struggle over what to do with the septuagenarian building, its overhaul was made possible through an unprecedented collaboration that included ESG Architects, Collaborative Design Group, UrbanWorks Architecture, Close Landscape Architecture, Ryan Companies, and the National Park Service. As architect Mark Swenson of ESG Architects puts it, "This was an amazing story of how everything stood in the way of the project reaching completion. The brain damage on this project was beyond belief." Still, all involved parties succeeded. High-end condos exist side by side with subsidized apartments. Allina's corporate headquarters are adjacent to a hotel. And the bustling Midtown Global Market has become a diner's mecca.