Crowne Plaza Northstar Hotel
to downtown Minneapolis' twilight zone. The Northstar Block is
easily the most confusing place around. As far as shopping goes,
it is also the most diverse. Here, you can buy anything from a
small order of fries to a new car.
Navigating the block is a nightmare. It is full of twists and turns, drops and rises. The decor changes several times. Including the parking ramp between the east building and the Firststar, there are five different structures here, all built at different times and cobbled together in a seemingly haphazard fashion over the years. Eventually, all of the buildings (with the possible exception of the Firststar) came together under a single management company, and a major remodeling was done to tie the block together. It feels like a shopping mall food court on acid.
Underneath it all sit three basements that are like Egyptian catacombs; dank hallways that wind around themselves, creaky old freight elevators, randomly placed stairwells. It is also home to the worst loading dock imaginable. Structural pillars make it difficult to park a regular size van, let alone a dock truck. As with most buildings, all of the block's garbage collects down there, too. The management seems to put forth very little effort at cleaning up the scraps and liquids that get out of the dumpsters. the stench is overpowering in the summer.