by Dan Rafter
Big changes keep coming to downtown Minneapolis. And now more are coming to a key address in the city’s Central Business District, 555 Nicollett Mall, home of the building formerly known as Gaviidae Common II.
That four-story 68,700-square-foot site is now merging with the iconic 40-story RBC Plaza office tower, arguably the highest-profile address — 60 S. 6th St. — in downtown Minneapolis.
Renovations to the combined property began in January of this year.
This came as good news to Giovanni Cordoves, senior vice president of KBS Capital Advisors, the company that operates RBC Plaza and serves as an adviser to the building’s owner, KBS REIT III.
“We spent 2013 planning the renovation and are eager to finally see hammers swinging,” Cordoves said in a written statement.
Sonja Dusil, senior director of brokerage services with Cushman & Wakefield|NorthMarq, which manages the building, said that construction on the two properties will result in 60,000 square feet of new class-A office space.
Construction plans call for the conversion of floors three and four of the former Gaviidae II space, which previously served as a food court, to 60,000 square feet of contiguous office space. Each 30,000-square-foot floor will offer 16-foot ceilings and expanded windows facing Nicollett Mall and 6th Street.
Construction will also bring tenants a new amenities package, one that includes a conference center, fitness center and break-out areas on the lower level and main lobby for casual meetings.
The first floor of the former Gaviidae II space will merge to become art of the existing lobby of RBC Plaza.
Dusil said that the project is an important one for downtown Minneapolis because its location is such a central one for the area.
“Nicollett Mall is the main thoroughfare through downtown Minneapolis,” she said. “We want to take advantage of the vibrancy and the energy that occurs on Nicollett Mall. That is a big advantage for us at RBC Plaza.”
This project is far from the only taking place in downtown Minneapolis.
“Today, developers and companies are looking for ways to take advantage of their existing real estate. From an office perspective, they are looking for redevelopment and re-use purposes versus new construction,” Dusil said.
Downtown Minneapolis is also home to several new multi-family developments, ones that have either recently opened or are now in the construction stage.
“There is always something exciting going on in downtown Minneapolis,” Dusil said.
RJM Construction is leading the RBC Plaza construction project. Shea Design is serving as the project’s architect.
The RBC Plaza project’s office component is good news. It shows that the office market in Minneapolis is slowly making its way back from the doldrums.
“The good news is that people are out there making decisions again,” Dusil said. “There is movement. There is life to the market. There is activity. The trend now is that people are looking at how to use their spaces differently. Some tenants are downsizing or rightsizing as they go to a smaller square-foot-per-employee allotment. The good news is that there is some activity out there. The movement feels good to everybody after the decline in activity that we had.”
The renovation work at RBC Plaza is expected to end in the third quarter of 2014.