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Changes planned at Calhoun Square after sale for half-price

Photo by Jeff Wheeler

A Chicago investment firm has purchased Calhoun Square and an adjacent vacant lot in Uptown’s busy retail district for $34.5 million, half of the more than $69 million the shopping center sold for five years ago.

The Uptown landmark on the corner of Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue has had its struggles with several retailers recently departing the building including the Libertine restaurant in September and Famous Dave’s earlier this year.

Northpond Partners, which purchased the site from Minneapolis-based the Ackerberg Group last week, plans to make “significant changes” to Calhoun Square after some research and consultation with residents, said Sam Ankin, managing principal of Northpond Partners.

“We are super cognizant and understand that Calhoun Square has not been working,” Ankin said, in an interview Thursday morning. “We really believe that’s not because of the location or the neighborhood. That’s because of the mix of the building and the wrong tenants.”

Ankin said Northpond is open to a range of different uses for the 171,000-square-foot center, and the firm will take the next two to four months to explore its options.

Uptown like St. Paul’s Grand Avenue shopping boulevard is going through a transition with it losing long-term retail stores North Face and Columbia earlier this year. But Ankin said the neighborhood is still vibrant with the addition of new apartments, the location’s high walkability, and the popularity of the nearby Chain of Lakes.

“We just think that it’s still the best if not one of the best urban neighborhoods in the Twin Cities,” Ankin said.

Northpond Partners is an investor and operator of retail and urban mixed-use properties with its current portfolio including the Broadway and Icehouse Plaza properties in Minneapolis.

Proposed Minneapolis skyway could link Ameriprise Client Service Center to rest of system

Minneapolis may soon get a new skyway to extend its growing network of above-the-ground, glass tunnels.

A skyway is being proposed between Ameriprise’s Client Service Center near the intersection of 3rd Avenue S. and S. 9th Street and the Clearway Energy Parking Ramp across S. 9th Street effectively connecting the Client Service Center building to the rest of the skyway system.

A representative from ESG Architecture and Design is scheduled to present the plans to the land use committee of the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association on Nov. 5. The plans were already approved by the downtown skyway advisory committee though they would still need city approval.

“We are proposing to connect the Ameriprise Client Service Center to the skyway system,” said Paul Johnson, a spokesman for Ameriprise Financial, in a statement. “The addition of a skyway connection would make it easier and more convenient for our employees and visitors to move between our two main downtown locations and access the skyway system.”

There are about 2,400 employees that work in the Ameriprise Client Service Center. Ameriprise’s headquarters are two blocks away at the Ameriprise Financial Center.

This segment of skyway may look a little different from what pedestrians usually city around the city. The project would require variances from requirements that skyways run perpendicular to a structure, connect on the second level of a building and appear horizontal to the street.