The New Northrop

After three years of renovations, what’s changed at the U of M’s grand performance hall? Lots.

Interior of the newly-renovated Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis.
Photo courtesy University of Minnesota
The $88.5 million renovation that commenced on the storied U of M venue in early 2011 comes to fruition at the grand opening on April 4. All told, the extensive redux will add up to a more intimate audience experience when the venue opens to a full slate of performances, films, and more. Although some things will remain visually unchanged, the overall impact of the changes are massive. Here's the skinny on exactly what will be different and why.


Number of seats 4,847 2,700
Number of stages 1 2
Average number of feet to stage 97 82
Number of seats within 100 feet of the stage 960 2,160
Number of balconies 1 3
Number of public restrooms 11 21
Number of ticket windows 2 6
Number of concession stands 4 8
Number of cafes 0 1

And if those numbers don't give you a proper grasp of just how massive this renovation was, maybe the sheer volume of stuff the project consumed will. The new Northrop required . . . 

>> 10,600 cubic yards of concrete
>> 865 tons of concrete reinforcing bar
>> 1,100 tons of structural steel
>> 152 miles (800,000 feet) of wire
>> 500,000 pounds of sheet metal duct work
>> 70,000 bricks
>> 50,000 concrete blocks
>> 2.8 miles (15,000 feet) of wood trim
>> 1,300 tradesmen

If all these numbers make you sad to see the old Northrop—venue where you saw everyone from Bob Dylan to Bon Iver to Flight of the Conchords go—take a second to share your memories of the original in the comments section and they just might make it into our June issue. But first, a few more nostalgic shots of the Northrop that was to wet your whistle.



BIll Clinton endorses this renovation . . . So you should totally go.