Minneapolis will remove the Lake Street Kmart in the “coming weeks” following a building fire

Minneapolis will remove the Lake Street Kmart in the “coming weeks” following a building fire

Mayor Jacob Frey and other city officials provided details Sunday morning of an accelerated plan to demolish the former Kmart building on Lake Street in south Minneapolis months faster than originally planned.

This comes more than a week after the building caught fire on Oct. 20 and sustained damage to the back side of Kmart. That was enough for the city to decide it was necessary to begin demolition sooner than originally scheduled in March 2024.

“It’s become somewhat more urgent because of safety issues to get this thing removed much sooner, and so we’ve had to speed up that process,” Fry said at a news conference in front of the Lake Street Kmart building.

The players wear blue jackets and yellow helmets

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and former Mayor RT Rybak use sledgehammers to demonstrate the planned demolition of the old Kmart building on Lake Street.

Nicole K | MPR News

Attendees at the press conference included former Mayor RT Rybak, former City Councilwoman Meg Tuthill and current City Council members Aisha Chughtai, Andrea Jenkins and Lisa Goodman.

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Vacant buildings are sometimes vulnerable to break-ins and fires, said Eric Hansen, head of the city’s Department of Community Planning and Economic Development.

He called the former Kmart structure “an attractive nuisance in the community” and said it needed to be removed “as quickly as possible.”

The City Council is scheduled to approve a contract to remove the site’s rubble this week. Once approved, hazardous materials must be removed from the area before the building is demolished.

“We hope to mobilize the contractor the week of November 6, and then you will see the process,” Hansen said.

“First, some contaminants come out of the building and then you’ll see the walls and the building itself coming down. And then that will be cleared. Then the foundation and some other things will be removed next spring,” Hansen said.

Hansen estimates that most of the old Kmart building will be demolished in the “coming weeks.”

Meanwhile, Hansen said the roads are scheduled to be built in 2025, and he encouraged the public to weigh in on the layout of the 10-acre property through a survey. The survey can be found on their website and will collect community input through November 15.

The city fire department investigated the matter, however They said on Tuesday that they were unable to determine the cause of the fire.

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