IDS Center at 50
By Madison Bloomquist
January 12, 2023
Mpls.St.Paul Magazine wasn’t the only local legend to reach the half-century mark this past year.
IDS Center, Minnesota’s tallest skyscraper (yes, it holds the title, despite the omnipresent argument that Capella Tower might actually be taller), has stood in our city’s center since 1972—and boy, does it have some stories to tell.
“It really did anchor all of downtown growth,” says IDS general manager Deb Kolar. Not only does the glass on the Investors Diversified Services (IDS) building exterior physically reflect the city that grew and changed around it, but its interior offices, restaurants, and shops have also grown and changed with the times. And let’s not forget IDS’s pop culture street cred with costarring roles in everything from Purple Rain to The Mighty Ducks to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. IDS has even been center stage for ESPN’s Super Bowl coverage (twice!), and it’s hosted political events like a 1994 speech by President Bill Clinton.
Here’s a by-the-numbers look at Minneapolis’s crystal marvel.
Cost of Crystal Court’s full renovation in 2021, which replaced its famous waterfall fixture with an infinity pool; swapped its white benches for modern black benches, plus bistro tables and chairs; and even changed out the trees.
Number of corner offices per floor, which are the result of architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s zigzag exterior design. Johnson famously called IDS “an architect’s dream” and played up angularity and the blue glass’s reflective qualities in the complex, which allowed natural light to flow through the building indoors while its exterior mirrored the city around it.
Stories IDS was originally slated to rise according to the proposal by Baker Properties and Minneapolis architect Edward Baker in the early 1960s. But plans changed: It’s actually 57.
Number of properties IDS touches via skyway—the first complex in town to connect multiple others.
Average number of pieces of exterior glass that need to be replaced annually.
Amount IDS leaders asked ESPN to donate to Second Harvest Heartland, in IDS’s name, in exchange for fee-free permission to host 11 days of Super Bowl coverage from Crystal Court.
Year The Mary Tyler Moore Show introduced IDS Center to the rest of the country in the show’s updated opener for the fourth season—including a ride up the escalator and dining in the restaurant overlooking the Crystal Court. And the hat toss? It happened just across the street by Dayton’s.