Lunchtime tourist

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December 6, 2004 // UPDATED 4:51 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Linda Koutsky
Linda Koutsky

US Bank Plaza

(Formerly Pillsbury Center)

200 S. 6th St.

When Pillsbury merged with General Mills in 2001, they no longer needed as much Downtown office space. Many employees vacated their namesake towers and moved to General Mill's vast Golden Valley campus, and US Bank moved in.

US Bank has occupied many buildings Downtown, and as the sixth largest financial services company in the nation, the growing company will probably occupy more.

While this building's name has changed, it's still owned by Texas-based developer Hines -- one of the largest privately held real estate development companies in the world (and the owner-resident of the nearby Hines Office Tower at 50 S. 6th St.).

This full-block complex was designed and built in 1981 by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). Its two angular towers are covered in travertine stone -- a buff-colored sedimentary rock with a composition between limestone and marble.

A light-filled atrium connects the 22- and 40-story buildings. Soaring eight stories overhead, the atrium encompasses two floors of retail space and restaurants. The towers, the higher being the fourth tallest Downtown, step down in building-block form to meet the atrium and outdoor plazas.

Interior finishes includes more travertine stone, reflective chrome surfaces and a large granite sculpture by New York artist Loren Madsen suspended near the escalators.

SOM are giants of the architectural world. Founded in Chicago in 1936, the innovative firm has completed more than 10,000 projects in over 50 countries and won more design awards than any other firm.

SOM's founding philosophy was to combine efficiency in form and structure to uplift the spirit.

This idea is epitomized in two of their Chicago buildings: the John Hancock Tower and the Sears Tower (until recently the tallest building in the world), and their upcoming Trump International Hotel & Tower, Dia Center for the Arts and the Freedom Tower. Other projects in progress include New York City's Dia Center for the Arts and Freedom Tower, the latter of which will be located on the former World Trade Center site.

LUNCH TIP: Grab a slice at Mill City Pizza on the skyway and settle into a table overlooking the atrium.

Does anyone else miss the giant granite letters outside that spelled Pillsbury? Send your comments to