Preservationists Say the Skyscraper Planned for Nye's Is Way Too Tall

Looks like the developer may have to battle historic preservation concerns at City Hall

Looks like the developer may have to battle historic preservation concerns at City Hall

Preservationists are mad about the 29-story apartment tower planned to replace Nye's because it flagrantly violates the guidelines of the historic district it sits in.

"This new proposed building isn't even within the realm of... it's just not even close to fitting into the area's historic context," says Doug Mack with Preserve Minneapolis.

See also: The Apartment Building Replacing Nye's Will Look Something Like This

Mack saw the plans up close for the first time when developer Schafer Richardson dropped by the city's Heritage Preservation Commission for an informal meeting on Tuesday.

Guidelines for the district dictate new buildings should be low-rises topping out at around four stories, with exceptions made for 10 stories max. Not surprisingly, a skyscraper that would almost triple that limit did not please the HPC.

"[The proposal] certainly wasn't received warmly," said HPC Chair Laura Faucher. "There's a concern that if one [high-rise development] is allowed, then that's a precedent, and therefore you have to allow everyone to do one."


Just a few blocks away a different developer, Alatus, is considering another gigantic tower rising 35 stories at the historic Washburn-McReavy funeral chapel.

The neighborhood association is on board with the Nyerise and the Washburn-McReavy tower.

"I'd ask all of these people who oppose it to put together a better plan then," says neighborhood board President Victor Grambsch. "They should be careful what they wish for. If not this, then what? Nobody wants to see a vacant building."

Ultimately, every development is at the mercy of the City Council and the free market. Even if the HPC votes against it, which it probably will, its decisions are only advisory to the City Council. But it's still not a lock that the project will work financially after the upcoming approval battle.

The City Council member who represents the area, Jacob Frey, refused to say anything worthwhile on the record, citing lawsuit concerns, and Schafer Richardson did not respond to several requests for comment.

Send news tips to Ben Johnson.