IDS Center

The IDS Center (80 S 8th St) is the tallest building in the state of Minnesota at 792 feet (241.4 m). Opened in 1974 as the IDS Centre, it stood 775 feet 6 inches (236.4 m), though a 16-foot (4.9 m) garage for window washing equipment was added at a later date. In 1992, the 776-foot (236.5 m) tall First Bank Place, now known as the Capella Tower, was completed nearby. However, it was advertised at the time as 774 feet (235.9 m) tall, one foot (0.3 m) shorter than the IDS "out of respect". A dispute eventually erupted in 2004–2005 and the rooftop garage is now included in the building's height, restoring it to first-place status in the city. Overall, 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 for the Target stores division of Dayton Hudson Corporation (now Target Corporation) from 1972 until Target moved to its own headquarters building in 2002. The IDS became the tallest skyscraper in Minneapolis when it surpassed the height of the 30-story Foshay Tower in 1972 while under construction, ending that building's 43-year reign over the city skyline. Assembly of the building was followed with great interest, and the topping-off ceremony was a major civic event in the city. Today, many high-rise buildings in Minneapolis echo design features of the IDS Center, particularly its sleek, modernistic glass facing.

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 the rest of downtown Minneapolis. On the Concourse level is Globe College and University. The building had an observation deck until it closed in 1983 and now rented by the law firm of Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben, P.A. A restaurant (Orion's Room) has been closed to the public since the beginning of 1994. Thousands of people came for one last visit on December 31, 1993. A public restaurant named Windows on Minnesota operated for several more years on the 50th floor. Windows on Minnesota now exists as a banquet space and is owned and operated by the Marquette Hotel, which is part of the IDS complex. Because of the IDS Center's peculiar and unique stepback design, termed "zogs" by its architect, Philip Johnson, each floor has a maximum of 32 corner offices. The area of Nicollet Mall just in front of the IDS Center is familiar to many television viewers: the character of Mary Richards on Mary Tyler Moore tossed her hat into the air on the site in the opening sequence used for several seasons. A statue of her was erected across the street from the building three decades later. She is also seen in the opening credits at Basil's Restaurant on the third floor in the Marquette Hotel, where diners can sit on the terrace at the table where the shot was filmed. Mechanical floors are present both 121 feet (37 m) above street level and at the very top of the building, these can be easily told from the inhabited floors by their darker facing. There are also three floors beneath the IDS named P1, P2, and P3, these floors are storage floors. There is also a parking ramp beneath the IDS. The Wells Fargo Center (formerly the Norwest Tower) is very close to the IDS Center; from certain angles, the reflection of the WFC can be seen in the glass facing of the IDS Center. The same is also true of the Foshay Tower. 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 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. 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.

Mechanical Floors
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 unaccessable 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.

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.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 broadcasters like Univision, and the Home Shopping Network. 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. The top of the IDS is also used for microwave transmission and reception by WCCO-TV, KSTP-TV, KMSP-TV, and KARE news trucks, in order to relay video to their stations.

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.
  • 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.

Deadly falls
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. In 1996, a 32-year-old man knocked out a window in the 30th floor of the IDS Center and jumped to his death.

IDS Center Begun: 1968 Opened: 1972 Height: 792 (241 m) Floors: 57 (52 occupied) ZIP Code: 55402 World Rank: 130th (as of August 2007) City Rank: 1st (as of early 2005) Location: 80 8th St. South Architect: Philip Johnson Johnson/Burgee Architects Developers: Investors Diversified Services (now known as Ameriprise Financial, Inc.)


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