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Three design teams unveil visions for Nicollet Mall [IMAGES]

Three visions for the new Nicollet.
Three visions for the new Nicollet.

The renderings released a week ago offered a sneak peek, but last night, the three design teams selected to pitch the future of Nicollet Mall got to deliver their full visions in a two-hour event at the Guthrie Theater.

All three proposals plan to resurface the streets, connect the pedestrian mall to the Mississippi and to Loring Park, and add plenty of lights. But each also includes its own distinct quirks. We sifted through the 125-slide presentation and pulled the highlights.

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First up, Montreal-based firm Daoust Lestage presented a vision of fountains, furniture, 375 new trees, and practical innovations like linear drainage troughs to solve the mall's current structural problems.

More public art and stuff to do:

Three design teams unveil visions for Nicollet Mall [IMAGES]
Daoust Lestage

Giant overhead lights, fountains, and uniform-looking benches:

Three design teams unveil visions for Nicollet Mall [IMAGES]
Daoust Lestage

And an option to transform for "market mode":

Three design teams unveil visions for Nicollet Mall [IMAGES]
Daoust Lestage

Next was James Corner Field Operations, the firm behind projects like New York City's the High Line and Chicago's Navy Pier. The pitch presented Nicollet as a green link with three distinct zones -- live, work, and play -- complete with a cycle track, fire pit, and tents for the farmers market.

Better skyway connections:

Three design teams unveil visions for Nicollet Mall [IMAGES]
James Corner Field Operations

Tree groves with seating (and an option for the possible streetcar in the background):

Three design teams unveil visions for Nicollet Mall [IMAGES]
James Corner Field Operations

Light fixtures like the "glow worm":

Three design teams unveil visions for Nicollet Mall [IMAGES]
James Corner Field Operations

Last to present was Berkeley-based Tom Leader Studio/!melk, which described a Nicollet with 18 percent more green space, better bike access, and three new plazas -- Market Plaza, Loring Plaza, and Gateway Park.

The vision for a plaza at 12th and 13th Streets:

Three design teams unveil visions for Nicollet Mall [IMAGES]
Tom Leader Studio/!melk

The overhead view of Market Plaza:

Three design teams unveil visions for Nicollet Mall [IMAGES]
Tom Leader Studio/!melk

The new Market Plaza, with a designated event building featuring a retractable roof:

Three design teams unveil visions for Nicollet Mall [IMAGES]
Tom Leader Studio/!melk

A panel of 13 judges is reviewing the three pitches, and will announce a decision on Thursday. That choice, the Nicollet Mall Project clarifies, isn't of a specific plan, but rather of a team the city will work with to shape the final design.


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