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Which of these three re-design finalists has the best vision for Nicollet Mall? [POLL]

The farmers market on the current incarnation of Nicollet Mall, which struggles with broken light poles, poor irrigation, and high-maintenance sidewalks.
The farmers market on the current incarnation of Nicollet Mall, which struggles with broken light poles, poor irrigation, and high-maintenance sidewalks.

Nicollet Mall hasn't gotten a facelift since the late-1980s, and the decades haven't been kind to Minneapolis's slowly-crumbling main street. Seeking solutions, in April, the city sponsored a contest calling for re-designs.

After 21 teams replied, the city winnowed the firms down to four, then three, and gave them a summer assignment: Come up with a new concept for the 12-block stretch of downtown. Now, the preliminary proposals are in.

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While the full plans will be unveiled Sept. 17 in a ceremony at the Guthrie Theater, today, the city released some context-free teasers. Berkeley-based Tom Leader Studio with !melk submitted a proposal that seems to show groovy skyways and designated spaces for a market and food trucks. The rendering from New York's James Corner Field Operations reveals people lounging in sidewalk cafes. And Montreal firm Daoust Lestage plans for lots of trees, benches, and market stalls.

Still uncertain is who will pick up the tab for the project, which will cost an estimated $30 million to $40 million. The city has already authorized $500,000 for project planning, the Downtown Journal reported, and hopes to cover the rest through a still-pending $20 million state bond and to-be-determined assessment fees on private businesses.

The city plans to select a design this October, and have everything else hammered out in time to begin construction in 2015.

We'll have the full details on the proposals when they're released next Tuesday, but for now, snap judgment time: Based on these views, which concept do you want to see become the new Nicollet Mall? Let us know in a survey below the images, and click on each one for a closer look.

Option A:

Which of these three re-design finalists has the best vision for Nicollet Mall? [POLL]
Tom Leader Studio via city of Minneapolis

Option B:

Which of these three re-design finalists has the best vision for Nicollet Mall? [POLL]
James Corner Field Operations via city of Minneapolis

Option C:

Which of these three re-design finalists has the best vision for Nicollet Mall? [POLL]
Daoust Lestage via city of Minneapolis

What do you think?

-- Reach Olivia LaVecchia at olavecchia@citypages.com or on Twitter at @olavecchia


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