Riverside Plaza Infrastructure Upgrades

Originally built in the early 1970s, as part of a HUD pilot program called “New Town, In Town,” Riverside Plaza was desperately in need of upgrades to improve energy efficiency.


Minneapolis, MN


1,740,000 sq ft


Corporate & Community Facilities



Constructed in 1973 and designed by the late Modernist Architect, Ralph Rapson, Riverside Plaza includes 5 towers, 11 buildings and 1,303 rental units – housing over 4,000 people. In 2010, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That same year marked a $90 million renovation of the existing M&E infrastructure to upgrade its systems.

A major design challenge was developing a phasing plan that maintained building operations with minimal disruption to the building occupants. This posed a significant challenge because renovation required replacement of all 1,303 rental unit fan coil systems, replacement of deteriorating hydronic piping serving these fan coil units, and major modifications and replacements to the residential domestic and waste piping systems.


The following mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems were upgraded or replaced:

  • Boiler plant
  • Chiller and cooling tower
  • Piping distribution
  • Apartment fan coil units
  • Heating and cooling piping
  • Apartment drain, waste, vent piping
  • Domestic water piping re-insulation, and domestic hot water heating distribution
  • Power distribution equipment
  • Fire alarm and security system
  • Lighting
  • Emergency generator system
  • Energy management system

As a final step, commissioning of controls automation systems as well as third-party verification of test and balance work, ensured that installation was handled properly.


System upgrades were designed and implemented with the goal of extending the building’s lifespan another 40 years, while improving energy and operating efficiencies.

Key Contacts:
Randy Christenson, PE
Vice President, Commercial
Robert Linder, PE, NEBB CP, LEED AP
Vice President, Performance Group
Maria Pfeffer, PE
Director, Commercial
David Jansa
Director, Marketing and Business Development
Services Provided:
  • Commissioning
  • Controls Design
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Fire Protection
  • Mechanical Engineering

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