Community Notebook // American Academy of Neurology opens new headquarters

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July 2, 2012 // UPDATED 5:48 pm - December 27, 2012
By: Jeremy Zoss
Jeremy Zoss

MILL DISTRICT — The American Academy of Neurology celebrated its grand opening on June 9 with a bike helmet giveaway at the nearby Mill City Farmers Market. 


The five-story, 62,000-square foot building at 201 Chicago Ave. S. is the first new office building constructed downtown in 10 years. 


Angela Babb, associate director of public relations for the academy, said it was only natural for the organization to open its office in Minneapolis, as it has strong ties to the city.


“One of our founding fathers was a professor at the University of Minnesota,” Babb said. “Minneapolis is known as where neurology took its roots. So it’s kind of like a homecoming for us. We went to St. Paul and now we’re back and we have a permanent home this time.”


The American Academy of Neurology was founded in 1948 by the chair of the neurology department at the University of Minnesota. The academy’s previous rented space in St. Paul was much smaller and had issues with parking and personal space. When the academy began looking for a permanent home, the location on Chicago Avenue quickly won over the

academy’s CEO with its location near landmarks like the Guthrie Theater and its proximity to light rail. 


The academy employs around 140 people and will bring between 800–1,000 visiting neurologists from around the world to Minneapolis each year. The building also houses the American Brain Foundation, which raises money for research, and the Child Neurology Foundation and the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties.


The American Academy of Neurology plans to apply for LEED certification for its new headquarters. The building sports several green features, such as locally sourced construction materials, floor plans designed to maximize natural light, bicycle parking and high-efficiency lighting. The exterior of the building features a “sensory garden” with plants from the

Minnesota Arboretum. A 45-foot water feature will be installed on the garden’s wall in late June or early June. The garden’s floor is made up of bricks, 300 of which have the name of a neurological disorder engraved upon them. As those disorders are cured, the bricks will be removed and destroyed. 




Developer unveils images for former Reserve-site project 


NORTH LOOP — Sherman Associates is moving ahead with a five-story, 125-unit apartment development at the site of a long-stalled condo project called the Reserve.


The developer presented conceptual drawings of the project to the North Loop Neighborhood Association’s Planning & Zoning Committee on June 20. The committee endorsed the plan, which was reviewed by the full North Loop board June 27, said board member Karen Lee Rosar.


“My condo directly faces this site,” she said. “I am looking forward to the development of this parcel.”


The development site at 324 1st. N. is adjacent to the Cedar Lake Bike Trail and just a block from West River Parkway. It has been a paralyzed construction site since 2003 when work on the Reserve condo project halted because of litigation.




Renovated Walker Cinema now open


HENNEPIN — The Walker Cinema, the in-house movie theater of the Walker Art Center, has reopened to the public after extensive renovations that began in January. The renovations improve all aspects of the movie-going experience, including projection, sound and seating upgrades.


The Walker Cinema now boasts three separate projectors, including a digital projector with Dolby 3D capabilities and 16- and 35-millimeter film projectors for the Walker’s extensive collection of archival film. The audio experience was upgraded with a state-of-the-art Meyer EXP system, something the Walker’s curator of film and video Sheryl Mousley said was

sorely needed. 


“One of the things that was always troubling to me was that the sound wasn’t perfect,” said Mousley. “For a film room, I wanted the sound to be as perfect as it could be.”


The new seats not only improve the cinema’s comfort, but also add to the audio experience. Like the new sound-absorbing wall panels, the seats reduce reverberation and improve the room’s acoustics. 


Naturally, the centerpiece of the renovations is the new projection system, which allows the Walker Cinema display both cutting-edge digital movies and classic films. The new Dolby 3D system is actually more advanced than the 3D technology used in most multiplexes, with more information transmitted to the screen and a brighter, more solid image than

standard 3D. The Dolby 3D system also uses high-end glasses with real glass, rather than the disposable plastic lenses found in most theaters.


How will the Walker Cinema utilize the new 3D system? That’s up to the artists, said Mousley. “We’re waiting for the artists to catch up,” she said. “We know that it will come into our realm a little bit more. You probably won’t see ‘The Avengers’ at the Walker.”




College Hockey Championship coming to Target Center in 2014


WAREHOUSE DISTRICT — Target Center will host the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) NCAA Division 1 championship for five years starting in 2014.


The NCHC is a newly formed group of Division 1 ice hockey programs that includes Colorado College, Denver, Miami (Ohio), Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota. The conference begins competition for the 2013-2014 hockey season. The inaugural NCHC championship game will be played at Target Center in March 2014 and broadcast nationally

on CBS Sports.


Target Center vice president and general manager Steve Mattson said Target Center was originally designed as a dual venue for NBA and NHL games. Although Minnesota’s NHL team ultimately landed in St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center, Mattson said Target Center is a great hockey venue that has hosted many hockey events in the past. The NCHC championship will

be held after Target Center’s upcoming renovations are completed, which Mattson said will make it an even better place to watch hockey.


Mayor R.T. Rybak touted the five-year partnership with the NCHC as a major event for the city. While Minneapolis attracts its share of events during the warmer months, the city sees far fewer events during the winter and early spring. He said the NCHC championship game will demonstrate that Minneapolis is an exciting city no matter what season.


“This is a city that’s cool when it’s hot and hot when it’s cool,” Rybak said.




Xcel building new headquarters on Nicollet Mall


NICOLLET MALL — Opus Development Corporation has announced it will build a new headquarters for Xcel Energy on the southeast corner of 4th Street and Nicollet Mall. Construction on the nine-story, 212,000 square-foot office building will begin in 2014, with occupancy in 2016.


The new building is across the street from Xcel Energy’s current headquarters. Xcel Energy will retain its space in its current building and be the sole tenant of the new building. 


Ben Fowke, CEO of Xcel Energy, said the new building will improve company efficiency by consolidating employees into a two-building campus. 


“Downtown Minneapolis is our headquarters, and we plan to remain here for the long-term,” Fowke said. “Leasing space in this new building is a prudent, cost-effective way to consolidate our operations, meet our future space requirements and create a great environment for our employees. It also underscores our commitment to our partnership with the city and

its business and community leaders to revitalize downtown Minneapolis.”


The Xcel Energy development is adjacent to another Opus Development project, the Nicollet Residences — a 33-story luxury apartment tower. Opus plans to begin construction on the high-rise apartment project later this year. 


--- Sarah McKenzie contributed to this report.