Marquette Plaza

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Southwest view of Marquette Plaza in its original configuration
West view of Marquette Plaza today, note the enclosed gap

Marquette Plaza is a highrise in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, located at 250 Marquette Avenue.


Designed by Gunnar Birkerts, it was home to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1973 to 1997 (hence, many people refer to it as "the old Federal Reserve building"). Designed much like a suspension bridge, most of the original floors are supported by two sets of catenary cables. Underground chambers were used for vault space, and an external elevator shaft was attached on the east face of the building to connect a ground-floor lobby with the rest of the building. There was originally a gap between the lobby and the rest of the above ground structure to emphasize the construction method.

While the building's design has been highly praised as an engineering achievement, it was plagued with design defects that led to leaky windows and other problems. In addition, asbestos had been heavily used in the building's construction. The Minneapolis Federal Reserve decided to build a new complex a few blocks away rather than renovate the structure, and it passed to private hands. The building was remodeled in 2002 for about US$65 million, a process which included adding office space to the east side and into the aboveground gap, while also converting a concrete plaza into a grassy park. A skyway connection was added to the ING ReliaStar 111 Building.

Early designs for the building included sketches for an addition on top that included an inverted catenary, resulting in a shape resembling an oval.[1] The building is credited with influencing the decision to add an observation bridge with a catenary arch above the dramatic opening in Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Centre. Local design company Ellerbe Becket contributed to the work for that structure.[2]

Notable tenants[edit]

Major tenants after the move have included telecommunications companies that made use of the vault space. The Minneapolis Public Library's central location had also been temporarily located there while waiting for the 2006 completion of a new building a block away.


Marquette Plaza re-established its iconic status in 2011 as it became the first downtown Minneapolis building to earn LEED Platinum certification. This status, granted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the most prestigious and challenging level of LEED certification to achieve and illustrates the building’s transformation and leadership in the greening of downtown. Marquette Plaza made its mark as the first large multi-tenant building in Minnesota to receive Platinum certification, due to a rigorous series of efforts and implementations set forth by property manager Base Management and 23 building tenants, which include: The Scoular Company, Federal Government agencies, Foley & Mansfield, Meet Minneapolis and CenturyLink. Platinum certification is more challenging to receive when multiple tenants are involved in the process. The sustainability consultant that helped Marquette Plaza attain LEED Platinum certification was Sustology, a Minneapolis-based sustainable developer and consultant with its headquarters in Marquette Plaza. The property was up for recertification ins 2016 and again attained LEED Platinum status with the help of consultant Sustology and is currently the only LEED Platinum Certified building in Minnesota as of 2016.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lileks, James. "Federal Reserve". Archived from the original on October 19, 2010. Retrieved March 19, 2006. 
  2. ^ Mack, Linda (February 3, 2006). "A princely architectural project". Star Tribune. Retrieved March 19, 2006. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°58′51″N 93°16′04″W / 44.980858°N 93.267773°W / 44.980858; -93.267773