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IDS Tower reflecting the nearby Wells Fargo Center
|Alternative names||IDS Centre|
|Location||80 8th Street S.
|Antenna spire||910 ft (280 m)|
|Roof||792 ft (241 m)|
|Floor count||57 (52 occupied)|
|Design and construction|
|Developer||Investors Diversified Services
(now known as Ameriprise Financial, Inc.)
|Structural engineer||Severud Associates|
The IDS Center (80 S. 8th St.) opened in 1972 in Minneapolis is the tallest building in Minnesota at 792 feet (241.4 m). It originally stood 775 feet 6 inches (236.4 m), though a 16-foot (4.9 m) garage for window washing equipment was added in 1978 or 1979. The structure rises to 910 feet (277.4 m) when including communications spires on the roof, indisputably the highest points in the city. The IDS was constructed as the headquarters of Investors Diversified Services, Inc.—now Ameriprise Financial. It also housed the headquarters of Dayton Hudson Corporation (now Target Corporation) from 1972 until 2001.
The complex consists of five parts: The 57-story IDS Tower at 8th & Nicollet; an 8-story annex building along Marquette Avenue; the 19-story Marquette Hotel at 7th & Marquette; and a two-story retail building that was originally dominated by Woolworth's. These four buildings are joined by the 7-story Crystal Court.
The 57-story IDS became the tallest skyscraper in Minneapolis when it surpassed the height of the 32-story Foshay Tower in 1972, ending that building's 43-year reign over the city skyline. Construction of the building was followed with great interest, and the topping-off ceremony was a major civic event in the city. In addition to being taller, IDS occupies a much larger footprint than the obelisk-like Foshay.
Design and environment
A lobby and shopping area at the bottom of the tower is known as the Crystal Court, and provides skyway connections between the tower and four adjacent blocks. The Concourse level is occupied by Globe College and University; originally this floor was an extension of the Crystal Court retail space and included a single-screen movie theater. The building had a 51st floor observation deck until 1983. Thousands of people came for one last visit on December 31, 1993. This floor is now office space. The 50th Floor contained an east-facing "Orion Room" restaurant (which was two stories tall utilizing both the 50th and 51st floors), a north-facing bar and cocktail lounge, a private south-facing dining club ("Tower Club"), all which were converted to office space. Today the west-facing "Windows on Minnesota" (originally the "University of Minnesota Alumni Club") closed to the public in 1994 and currently serves as banquet space for the Marquette Hotel, which is part of the IDS Center.
Because of the IDS Center's peculiar and unique stepback design, termed "zogs" by its architect, Philip Johnson, each floor has +- up to 32 corner offices. The area of Nicollet Mall in front of the IDS Center is familiar to television viewers: The character of Mary Richards on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" was seen on Nicollet Mall in the opening montage of the series. Across 7th Street from where IDS now stands was the original Dayton's Department Store, she tossed her hat into the air at the end of the opening sequence. A statue commemorating that scene now stands in that spot, created and maintained by TVLand. A statue of her was erected across the street from the building three decades later. She is also seen in the opening credits dining with boss Grant Tinker at what is now the terrace of "Basil's Restaurant" on the hotel's third floor, where diners can sit at the "Mary Tyler Moore Table", where the TV's famous opening sequence shot was filmed on the terrace overhanging the "Crystal Courtyard".
The IDS Tower has a 8-story annex extending along the Marquette Avenue side of the building. This building is a true annex; the 4th through 8th floors can only be reached through the IDS Tower elevators. The 3rd floor can only be reached through the Marquette Hotel elevators.
The building has not been without structural problems. Since soon after its construction, the Crystal Court has had issues with water leaking through the roof after rain or snow due to effects of Minnesota's extreme freeze-thaw cycle. There are also frequent problems in the winter where ice falls from the tower and onto the court roof, often breaking through. Occasionally the court will be roped off to prevent injury to patrons. The Center and Crystal Court were devastated by a summer wind storm in June 1979 that led to much glass breakage. The entire Crystal Court was sealed off by plywood barriers while this was repaired.
The battle for tallest status
The owners of the Capella Tower (formerly First Bank Place) and the architects behind the design stated that it rose 774 feet (235.9 m) tall upon its completion in 1992. However, the height had been increased due to an engineering need, according to Tom O'Mara, the building's construction manager. There were some ventilation ducts near the roof that required about 14 more inches (36 cm) of height. O'Mara added an extra 10 inches (25.4 cm) to that, bringing the building to a total of 776 feet 0 inches (236.5 m).
In the years following completion, the actual height eventually became known as it was published in almanacs and other listings of building height. The owners of the Capella Tower were hesitant to claim that their building was taller than IDS, and usually deferred the honor to the more well-known structure. As area journalists reported on the sale of the IDS Center to the John Buck Company in 2004 and the death of designer Philip Johnson in 2005, they came face-to-face with the fact that the roof of the tower was one foot lower than its neighbor.
Emporis.com restored the IDS Center to first-place status in the city in February 2005 by including the height of the window-washing garage, although that has not completely ended the dispute. A spokesperson for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which sometimes handles height disputes, stated that it would be unlikely for the garage to be included in the official height because many would not consider it to be an integral part of the building's design.
It is unclear if the height of the Capella Tower reaches to the top of the "halo" surrounding the screen walls (walls designed to hide cooling towers on the roof), so the height of the flat roof might be somewhat shorter, or that building might similarly be able to add to its height by including the additional structure. Presently, the IDS is considered to be 15 feet (4.6 m) taller than the former First Bank Tower.
It is also important to note that height measurements are sometimes incorrectly reported due to conversion from U.S. customary units to the metric system and back again. The IDS was often reported as 774 feet (235.9 m) in height because of this problem, occasionally appearing to be two feet shorter than its competitor.
The building has two mechanical floors between the 8th and 9th floor and two mechanical floors between 51 and the roof level. They are known as 8A, 8B and 51A, 51B. They are not accessible from any of the building's passenger elevators and contain HVAC equipment. As a result, the 9th floor is really the 11th floor and the 51st floor is really 53rd. This can be elucidated from the outside of the building or by walking down the stairwell from the 9th floor or higher. There is also a floor 2A which is inaccessible except from the freight elevators. There are also three floors beneath the IDS called P1, P2, and P3. These are storage levels for tenants and also are connected to the parking ramp below the IDS. Neither 2A, or P's 1, 2, and 3 are counted as actual floors. Half of the space of the complex (floors 9 to 57 of the Tower) is located above the 8th floor and half (including the retail, hotel, and floors 1 to 8 of the Tower and annex building) is located below the 8th floor.
The building was purchased by the John Buck Company in December 2004 for US$225 million. Just over a year later in January 2006, the company began looking for new buyers. In August 2006 it was sold to The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc., for approximately $277 million. Beacon Investment Properties of Hallandale Beach, FL purchased the building from Inland in April, 2013 for approximately $253 million.  The tower is also leased to smaller businesses.
The IDS has 1.4 million square feet (120,000 m²) of office and retail space.
Communication spires on top of the building tower to 910 feet (277.3 m), the highest point in Minneapolis. A number of major FM radio stations who formerly broadcast from the site now use the IDS as a backup in case their primary location in Shoreview, Minnesota were to fail. In 2009 the equipment was removed and digital towers were added for the national digital switch. Some television broadcasters using the tower include Univision affiliate WUMN-LP and K43HB, which broadcasts HSN programming, while the area's major television stations use it for their STL towers and microwave relays to Shoreview and their individual studios and live trucks. The roof of the IDS Center is also home to the W0IDS UHF Amateur radio repeater, one of the widest coverage repeaters in the Midwest.
In popular culture
- Mary Tyler Moore's character was shown dining in Basil's restaurant overlooking the Crystal Court in the introduction to the Mary Tyler Moore Show, it was not known as "Basil's" during that time.
- A spoof of the Mary Tyler Moore's show scenes appear on Husker Du music video covering the Mary Tyler Moore theme song featuring the IDS Crystal Court.
- The building was briefly mentioned by Steve Buscemi in Fargo - "IDS Building, the big glass one, tallest skyscraper in the Midwest after the Sears - uh, Chicago...John Hancock building whatever..."
- The building appeared in Remy Zero's music video, "Save Me."
- The Hold Steady's song "Party Pit" (Off their album Boys and Girls in America) contains the lyrics, "I saw her walking through the Crystal Court. /She made a scene by the revolving doors."
- David Treuer's novel The Hiawatha describes the role of American-Indian labor in building the tower.
- In the movie "Purple Rain", Prince is seen looking in the window of a Music Store on the Skyway Level of the Crystal Court.
- In the movie "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" and the short film "The Crimson Permanent Assurance", The IDS tower is among a group of buildings creating a large financial district.
There have been three deaths as a result of falls from the IDS Tower, one by accident and two by suicide. In 2007, Fidel Danilo Sanchez-Flores, a worker removing snow from the IDS Center's Crystal Court roof, slipped and fell three stories through the glass canopied atrium to his death.
In 2001, a 30-year-old man jumped to his death from the 51st floor, crashed through the Crystal Court, and landed by the fountain near Basil's restaurant. In 1996, a 32-year-old man knocked out a window in the 30th floor of the IDS Center and jumped to his death.
- Henry Breimhurst, , Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Nov 29, 1996.
- Susan Feyder, 34 years later, IDS may finally be high AND dry, Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 4, 2007.
- StarTribune, March 1, 2001, David Chanen
- Man crashes into atrium of IDS Tower and dies | Minnesota Public Radio News
|Tallest Building in Minneapolis