IDS CENTER CRYSTAL COURT
Nicollet Avenue and 7th Street South
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Planning for a downtown Minneapolis office tower began in 1962. A 12-story structure was to be built on a quarter-block site, located at the intersection of Nicollet Avenue and Seventh Street South. Investors Diversified Services, Incorporated (a.k.a. IDS) and the Dayton Company signed on a tenants in 1967.

By this time, renowned New York City architect Philip Johnson had been hired, He would design IDS CENTER with assistance from New York City's John Burgee and Ed Baker of the Twin Cities. The original plan for a modest office tower had been expanded to one for a mammoth city-block structure of 57 stories, which would include a luxury hotel. Construction commenced in 1969.

The lower floors of the IDS CENTER tower would connect with a fully-enclosed atrium area known as CRYSTAL COURT; this modeled on Venice, Italy's Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square). The 3-level atrium and public space would also link into the 19-story Marquette Inn.

Office tenants began moving into the new IDS CENTER in February 1972. A 50-dollar-per-person Symphony Ball was held in CRYSTAL COURT on June 17, 1972, with the complex opening to the general public in October. Among thirty stores and services was a 2-level (80,000 square foot) F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10. A single-screen cinema was dedicated, on the Concourse Level, on November 7, 1972. This venue would be in operation until 1976.

The American Institute of Architects presented CRYSTAL COURT with their prestigious Honor Award for Design in 1975. The complex soon became established as the epicenter of the city's fully-enclosed and climate-controlled Skyway network, which encompassed eleven city blocks by 1976 (the Skyway would eventually cover sixty-nine blocks and extend for over 8 miles).

CRYSTAL COURT was followed by other inner city shopping facilities, such as MINNEAPOLIS CITY CENTER (1982), THE CONSERVATORY (1987-1998), GAVIIDAE ["Gav-uh-day"] COMMON (1989) and GAVIIDAE COMMON II (1991).

Although CRYSTAL COURT initially received a great deal of national attention, by the mid-1990s, its glitz had faded. This was primarily due to poorly-conceived alterations, which had removed seating areas and landscaping, leaving the atrium area bland and uninviting. A 2 million dollar refurbishment was dedicated September 28, 1998. Seating areas and foliage were brought back and a stunning, 105-foot-high fountain installed.

Woolworth's shuttered their CRYSTAL COURT location in July 1993. A large portion of the store's Mall Level space was tenanted by a (14,200 square foot) The Gap and Gap Kids. An (8,000 square foot) Banana Republic opened on the Skyway Level. Moreover, T.J. Maxx occupied a (40,000 square foot) section on the Concourse Level of the complex in September 1994.

T.J. Maxx was in operation at CRYSTAL COURT until 2004. The two Gap stores were shuttered on July 26, 2015. Nordstrom Rack, utilizing over 40,000 square feet of the old Gap and T.J. Maxx operations, opened for business on September 7, 2017.

Ownership of IDS CENTER and CRYSTAL COURT has changed several times over the years. Pittsburgh-based Oxford Development closed on a purchasing arrangement in 1981. The complex became a holding of Chicago's John Buck Company in 2004, who sold it to Oak Brook, Illinois' Inland American Real Estate Investment Trust in 2006. In 2013, the structures were acquired by Hallandale, Florida's Beacon Investment Properties, which is now known as Accesso Partners.

Sources:

http://ids-center.com
The Minneapolis Star Tribune
http://www.placeography.org
Comment post by Blaine
"IDS Center" article on Wikipedia
Comment post by Frank
www.lileks.com / James Lilek
www.secretsofthecity.com / Katherine Glover
www.emporis.com
http://accessopartners.com