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MINNEAPOLIS-A lot next to the Milwaukee Road Depot redevelopment project may become the site for new home for MacPhail Center for the Arts. The project moved ahead recently when a request for project analysis authorization and exclusive development rights was awarded to St. Paul-based CSM Corp. by the board of commissioners of theMinneapolis Community Development Agency.

The attraction of the site at 2nd Street and Portland Avenue South near the Mississippi riverfront is its proximity to other arts and cultural organizations, such as Open Book, the new Guthrie Theater and the Minnesota Historical Society’s Mill City Museum. Together, these organizations will create a new “cultural corridor” in Minneapolis, says Douglas Fair, executive director of MacPhail.

The joint project being developed by CSM Corp. and MacPhail will allow MacPhail to increase its space by 35% with a 70,000-sf, four-story building to be completed in fall 2004.

The site will become the new home for MacPhail’s music education programs, now serving 6,000 students of all ages. After nearly eight decades in its current location at 12th and LaSalle in Downtown, MacPhail plans to move out of its aging, crowded building into a state-of-the-art facility in fall 2004.

MacPhail plans to create a state-of-the-art music education facility with classrooms featuring advanced technology and good acoustics, a concert hall, a lecture hall, a music store for students and the professional musiccommunity, community gathering spaces, a coffee shop and onsite parking.

MacPhail has hired Chicago-based design firm Nagle Hartray Danker Kagan McKay, which has designed a number of high-profile projects, including Harpo Studios for Oprah Winfrey and WBEZ, Chicago’s public radio station, as well as the Latin School and Evanston Public Library.

“We were drawn to their work because of their experience building in urban environments and working with sensitive acoustical properties,” Fair says.

The move will meet the school’s goal of remaining Downtown, where the urban environment–with its freeway access and public transportation–will help it remain accessible to students, Fair adds. The site will include an underground parking lot for those visiting, studying or working at MacPhail.

To build the new home, the school will embark on its first fundraising campaign with a goal of more than $12 million, which will be used to purchase the site and construct the new facility.

The MCDA’s vote allows negotiations to go forward; closing is expected within six months.

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