Peavey Plaza demolition voted down

The controversial plan to demolish Peavey Plaza was voted down by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission Tuesday.

Peavey, a park plaza located next to Orchestra Hall on Nicollet Avenue, was designed by urban landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg in the 1970s. Though not officially designated a historic landmark, it could qualify under the city's criteria, so it was being treated as one.

Nineteen people spoke at the committee meeting, a few from the Occupy MN movement, which has used Peavey as a public hub for meetings.

Also in attendance was Charles Birnbaum, founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Cultural Landscape Foundation, who came to Minneapolis just for the meeting. Birnbaum believes that the city has high-balled the cost of restoring Peavey Plaza in its demolition proposal, and says the public needs more information about alternatives.

"We're being asked to demolish one of the most important works of landscape architecture in America," he says. "What we need, at the least, is more information...You would never go to the dentist and start drilling without X-rays."

Birnbaum also authored a piece on Huffington Post about Peavey Plaza last week.

Aaron Hanauer, senior city planner for Minneapolis, says the costs came from an indpendent contractor. "We took the numbers that were given to us," he says.

Any passerby of Peavey Plaza has likely already seen the "Coming Soon" sign depicting plans for a new park. After demolishing Peavey, the city plans to replace it with a new design that would bring it "into the 21st Century." You can read about the plan here, but it would look something like this:

Peavey Plaza demolition voted down
From CPED proposal for Peavey Plaza.

Beth Grosen of the Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development says there will be a meeting later today to discuss a plan moving forward. Among the options would be to appeal to the City Council.

Grosen says she believes Tuesday's meeting was just a speed bump in the city's plan for Peavey Plaza.

"Peavey plaza is a beloved space," she says, "and we look forward to having it be even more vital and sustainable in the future."

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