Scientologists, Nicollet Mall condo developers strike deal

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July 11, 2005 // UPDATED 1:56 pm - April 26, 2007
By: David Brauer
David Brauer

The Nicollet, a proposed 50-story condo tower at 10th Street & Nicollet Mall, may get taller - but first, it will get wider.

Brian Fesler, director of special affairs for the Downtown Church of Scientology, says his group and The Nicollet, LLC have struck a purchase agreement to add the Scientologists' 1011 Nicollet Mall site to the project.

Fesler said the agreement is formal enough for The Nicollet's owners to take revised plans to the Minneapolis Planning Commission July 18, though a few outstanding issues remain to be negotiated.

The Nicollet representatives had no comment.

Fesler said the deal would "definitely incoprate" the Scientologists into the wider development, and the church would retain its Nicollet Mall storefront. Specifics are still to be negotiated, he said.

By having a bigger footprint at ground level, the Nicollet could rise higher than its 50 stories (54, according to the city's technical count, which includes architectural details at the top.) City zoning rules include something called a "floor-to-area" ratio that governs heights.

A public notice posted on the site says the development would be 62 floors. However, Fesler said The Nicollet developer Jeff McDonell told him that the floor count wouldn't change, but left open the possibility that some floors - and thus the building - would get taller.

According to Fesler, the agreement stipulates a speedy resolution of outstanding issues, within a month or two.

Last month, Fesler said the Scientologists would look for a new site if a deal was struck. Now, he says the church still wants a new location, but they also will stay Downtown. The Nicollet Mall site is the only Scientology church in Minnesota.

"If the deal goes through, and even if it doesn't, [our] space isn't large enough for what we want to do," Fesler said. "We like the Mall, and want to have a Downtown information center."