Northpond Partners, the Chicago real estate firm that bought Uptown's Calhoun Square last fall, is considering a significant renovation that would slice the high-profile property in half and create an open-air pedestrian walkway through its midsection.

Southwest Journal reports on the idea, which was pitched by Northpond to a neighborhood association earlier this month. The plan — which is still preliminary and could change — would create a path between Hennepin Avenue and the Girard Avenue parking garage on the other side of Calhoun Square. The thoroughfare would be lined with retail spaces, essentially turning the mall inside out.

Retail development and design firm Graffito SP, which was hired by Northpond to work on a Calhoun Square redesign, is also considering adding more entrances to the shopping center and improving the 31st Street side of the building. Specific improvements include a drop-off station for ride-hailing services and more bicycle parking.

Northpond is also considering shifting its leasing strategy, pursuing smaller, local tenants instead of national chains.

Calhoun Square could use some sort of change. The 172,000-square-foot center has seen vacancies climb above 20 percent — and that was before Famous Dave’s, Libertine and Arc’teryx closed. The previous owners, JPMorgan Chase and Minneapolis-based Ackerberg, paid $69.5 million for the property in 2014 but never executed a renovation and re-tenanting plan; they wound up selling it to Northpond for half what they paid.

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