Work is expected to begin in early August on the first phase of the Chicago Plaza -- the gateway to the new Mill City Museum and an eventual pedestrian connection from Chicago Avenue to the Mississippi River.
The city's development arm put the project on the fast track to get it completed before the museum's Sept. 13 grand opening. The City Council approved the $271,000 contract with Adolfson & Peterson July 25.
The plaza will be on an unused street right-of-way. Phase 1 will be roughly 220 feet by 60 feet and provide an overlook as pedestrians approach the river, said Dick Victor, project manager for the Minneapolis Community Development Agency. The concrete plaza will have black and gray granite chips imbedded in the surface.
"It should be good for traction in the winter," Victor said.
The design includes four pedestrian lights and decorative posts, but no greenery, he said. The plaza will connect to the riverfront Guthrie Theater's plaza to the southeast, when that gets built.
"This is an industrial mill and historic area," Victor said. "I think the Guthrie will have some trees in front. They wanted this to be hardscape."
The plaza also includes a 24-foot wide driveway access for the Humboldt Mills condo ramp, he said.
The project's phase II will connect the plaza with West River Road, which is still under construction.
"One of our goals has been to expose people to the river and provide places, like fingers, to and from the river," Victor said. "This happens to be an opportunity."