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MINNEAPOLIS-Guthrie Theater officials broke ground this week on a $125 million, 255,000-sf theater facility that will transform the landscape bordering the Mississippi River Downtown.

The 10-story facility’s dramatic design was conceived by French architect Jean Nouvel. One of its most distinctive features is a dark blue metal skin that will feature silkscreen printings of immense, impressionistic images from two or three classic Guthrie stagings of the past. The complex houses three stages and has a distinctive, cantilevered walkway that will jut out toward the Mississippi River.

The theater won a critical $25 million in state funds from the Minnesota Legislature session, and is most of the way to raising the rest of the money. The Guthrie expects to raise about two-thirds of the cost from foundations, business and private donors and finance the rest.

The locally based Keewaydin Real Estate Advisors, which advised the Guthrie Theater on its site search, land acquisition and architect selection process, is the theater’s project advisor and project manager. The project team also includes Fisher Dachs Associates theater consultants, Donnell Consulting cost consultants and McGough Construction Co. of St. Paul. They will be assisted by mechanical engineers Michaud Cooley Ericksen, Minneapolis and structural engineers Erickson Roed, St. Paul.

Architectural Alliance of Minneapolis was selected by Nouvel from a number of Twin Cities-based firms to serve as the project’s local architect partner.

The new Guthrie is expected to be completed in January 2006 and open May 7.

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