The actions of our board are guided by neighborhood feedback and engagement as well as the Small Area Plan that was put in place in 2014.  A small area plan contains a set of specific strategies that aim to preserve or improve a specific area of the city. 

Our Small Area Plan describes the Nicollet Island-East Bank neighborhood, its past, its present, and its future. The intended audiences for this Plan are city officials, city staff, other governmental agencies, neighborhood volunteers, developers, and residents. The Plan mandates key changes that will increase the neighborhood’s population and expand its economy by varying and enlivening land uses and the economic base and by intensifying development of currently underutilized properties. The Plan spells out steps to achieve the neighborhood’s vision by implementing its goals.

Download the Small Area Plan (PDF)


The Nicollet Island-East Bank neighborhood will achieve significant growth in both residential and business population and tax base during the next 20 years. When fully developed, the neighborhood will be a culturally diverse home to at least hundreds more people and scores of thriving new businesses. A vital urban neighborhood in its own right, Nicollet Island-East Bank also functions as a major crossroads for the City and as a destination for the region.

With new housing built to universal design standards along easy-to-navigate sidewalks and streets, the neighborhood will serve as an urban laboratory where innovations take place within the public realm. The eclectic neighborhood will be known for its public art, walkability and bikability, access to great public transportation, welcoming plazas and innovative parklets, environmental sensitivity, and careful blending of the new with the old.

Visitors from across the region will have numerous reasons to seek out Nicollet Island-East Bank as a place to shop, dine, or simply enjoy access to the riverfront. Buildings both small and tall will anchor and enliven busy, bustling streets. The sustainable and environmentally-sound neighborhood will offer such a wide variety of housing, commercial, and cultural choices that residents will never have to leave the neighborhood.


  1. Strengthen the neighborhood’s role in the regional economy, with emphasis on businesses that are unique, in part by restoring East Hennepin to its historic commercial roots.
  2. Guide infill development while increasing density, cultivating mixed-use corridors, and increasing communal green space.
  3. Attract a rich mix of residents, cultural experiences, businesses and other institutions, building types and styles, and employment opportunities.
  4. Adapt to contemporary use the historical character, unique architecture, and regional and neighborhood parks – in cooperation with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and in compliance with the historic district guidelines of the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Zone and the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan.
  5. Expand and improve pedestrian, bicycling, and transit infrastructure throughout the neighborhood.
  6. Provide an exceptional urban pedestrian experience for people of all ages.
  7. Act as stewards of the environment, valuing sustainability, energy conservation, minimal surface water run-off, and re-use/reduce/recycle economies.
  8. Enhance public safety through maximum use of “eyes-on-the-street” building designs.


  1. Restore one-way streets to two-way operations.
  2. Expand the Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District to include the entire neighborhood.
  3. Attract high quality development to underutilized areas.
  4. Increase emphasis on the pedestrian with amenities such as artwork, wider sidewalks, trees, parklets, enhanced lighting, street “furniture” (benches, tables, etc.), and transparent building facades.
  5. Eliminate overhead utilities.
  6. Support improved transit services and infrastructure including the Nicollet-Central Streetcar implementation, real time transit information signage and otherwise.
  7. Improve connections to the riverfront parkland and to bicycle and pedestrian trails.