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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby MNdible » December 15th, 2012, 12:37 pm

I guarantee you that Wells Fargo and Ryan are smart business people and aren't going to want to pay to build parking spots that they won't need. It's expensive, and they realize it. I'd guess that a big part of their calculus for choosing this particular location is that they'll need to provide less parking and be able to give their employees a better range of options than anywhere else in the metro area. Otherwise, they probably would have located out in Eden Prairie.

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby mattaudio » December 15th, 2012, 3:26 pm

Yet free parking is one of the main issues with the Honeywell campus.

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby mulad » December 15th, 2012, 4:30 pm

Yeah, I hope Wells Fargo or whoever decides to develop this block does their best to try and find a good balance. Spend the money on good office spaces rather than good parking spaces.

The simplest thing to do is to determine parking demand based on a level playing field for everyone -- in other words, don't give people free parking. If you give people free parking, then everyone in the company should be given the option to "cash out" on the cost of that parking to get money to pay for transit passes or equipment for biking/walking, though that probably gets to be a bit messy when considering things like carpools. It'd be even better if the drivers had to pay and non-auto users were the only ones getting incentives. I'm sure that some people would get pissed off if that happened, but there's a decent business case for it based on strict dollar amounts, and it looks even better if a few externalities get factored in (some of which could turn into actual dollars somewhere down the road like for a carbon tax or land tax).

My gut sense is that downtown could absorb the parking demand of a new corporate campus here pretty well with what exists now and what is planned with the Vikings stadium, though I'm not going to spend any time counting up parking spaces at the moment. While parking ramps are bad for the pedestrian realm, and attempting to splice a parking structure into the lower levels of a building can result in monstrosities like this, structured parking is waaay better than trying to accomplish everything with surface lots. If someone could come along and get rid of the existing surface lots and consolidate the same amount of parking into a structure or two (ideally wrapped with buildings like those near the Guthrie), I'd be much happier.

I think it's really important to coordinate parking at this site with whatever's going on for the Vikings stadium due to the proximity -- since football games will mostly happen on Sundays plus the occasional weekday evening, the parking demand for events there will mostly fit into times when there are very few downtown employees around. The majority of parking built or reshuffled in the area should be open to the public to take advantage of the two meshing demand curves.

Unfortunately, since Sundays are the worst day of the week for getting anywhere on transit, Vikings games will have lower non-auto mode share as compared to the office buildings nearby. But on the upside, I think fans tend to carpool when they go to games. People have been figuring out how to get to the Metrodome for Vikings games for decades, and that picture shouldn't very much with the new stadium.

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby MNdible » December 15th, 2012, 5:04 pm

mulad wrote:My gut sense is that downtown could absorb the parking demand of a new corporate campus here pretty well with what exists now and what is planned with the Vikings stadium, though I'm not going to spend any time counting up parking spaces at the moment.
Yes, at least one of the articles referenced above (I think the MinnPost one) dealt with this pretty directly, and I think it's suggested that the concept is that any parking built here would replace parking that would otherwise need to be built for the Stadium, per the agreement with the Vikings -- or put another way, the Viking's Stadium might in effect subsidize the development of this project by paying for its parking out of already identified public funds.

There was a quote regarding whether the Vikings would accept a 2 block long Skyway. I took this to mean that the Vikings are considering (but probably not yet convinced) that a parking ramp here could replace some of the league mandated VIP parking that had been indicated to be directly across 4th Street from the new stadium, in a location that would make the parking largely useless for non-game day uses, since it would be so far from the core of downtown.

Redisciple noted that he wasn't thrilled about a two block long skyway in this part of town, and I tend to agree, but if that's the cost to get better use out of the public's investment in structured parking and to spur a significant new development project, then I'd probably live with it.

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby mattaudio » December 15th, 2012, 5:21 pm

Speaking of skyways, I could actually imagine one more skyway link here...
ONCE the Armory is converted to a public marketplace, build a skyway connecting from the parking ramp to the armory, then another from the armory to the public health building. This would connect downtown to the HCMC network, without doing that much harm to the sidewalk potential in this area. Then, use the armory marketplace as a strategic connection between the street and the skyway (especially if the block to the north or the south ever became true park).

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby min-chi-cbus » December 15th, 2012, 8:13 pm

MNdible wrote:I guarantee you that Wells Fargo and Ryan are smart business people and aren't going to want to pay to build parking spots that they won't need. It's expensive, and they realize it. I'd guess that a big part of their calculus for choosing this particular location is that they'll need to provide less parking and be able to give their employees a better range of options than anywhere else in the metro area. Otherwise, they probably would have located out in Eden Prairie.
There is likely some truth in that. While working at another company's real estate department, one of the big cost generators was having to provide and/or subsidize parking for its employees, and having locations in urbanized areas where public transit was more plentiful gave this company the leeway to limit the amount of parking it had to provide employees. Ironically, this company had a very suburban-centric focus (UHG).

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby helsinki » December 17th, 2012, 6:46 am

mulad wrote: My gut sense is that downtown could absorb the parking demand of a new corporate campus here pretty well with what exists now and what is planned with the Vikings stadium, though I'm not going to spend any time counting up parking spaces at the moment.
I agreed with this post in it's entirety. A quick count might help inform the discussion, though.

Immediately adjacent to the four block 'square' there are 5 multi-level parking ramps, the Armory, and no small amount of surface parking. These are:

1. The Government Center Ramp (1303 Spaces) http://www.minneapolismn.gov/parking/ra ... gov-center
2. The 4th Avenue Parking Ramp (476 Spaces) http://www.emporis.com/building/4th-ave ... lis-mn-usa
3. The Jerry Haaf Memorial Ramp (791 Spaces) http://www.minneapolismn.gov/parking/ramps/parking_haaf
4. The Downtown East Parking Garage (455 Spaces) http://www.parkingcarma.com/parking_lot ... 3723eb578/
5. The Gateway Parking Ramp (1386 Spaces) http://www.parkingcarma.com/parking_lot ... 3723eb578/

For a total of 4411 spaces in multi-level structures (not surface parking) immediately adjacent to these four blocks. Count the ramps that are just nearby, and you have an insane amount of parking.

Here are the 18 parking ramps downtown run by the city of Minneapolis (just the city! no private ramps listed): http://www.minneapolismn.gov/parking/ramps/index.htm

Somebody made the point (I believe that it was, again, at Strong Towns) that we are constantly building competing infrastructure: the LRT line next to the new highway, for example. It's the same thing here. Downtown is drowning in parking. It saps the life from the streets. It takes up enormous amounts of space. It is always empty (even when it's at full capacity, it's empty). We're making these huge investments in public transportation, centered on downtown, and then blithely assuming that every new development downtown needs it's own shiny new parking ramp, as if people couldn't walk accross the street to one of the 4411 spaces one block away.

And not only that, all these streets have on-street metered parking. Tragicomic?

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby mattaudio » December 17th, 2012, 9:28 am

I sort of agree, there's already plenty of parking. But unfortunately it sounds like that ship sailed with the Wilfare legislation, and now we're either stuck with a Wilf ramp north of the new-dome, or something a little more hidden and integrated such as this proposal.

In general, I think we need to ensure that new parking does not come at the expense of street life. I know, I'm the one who says we need much LESS city regulation. But our parking situation is more complicated, since the city has actually been a big player in messing up our downtown streetscape (well, especially decades ago). The gov't created wide car sewers that basically invited people to drive downtown and park as close as possible to their destination. The gov't is also a part of the parking game, especially giant hostile block-sized ramps all over downtown.

The reality is parking structures, in most cases, are hostile to the traditional development pattern. They are a part of the post-war suburban experiment, but brought into the CBD. They significantly reduce adjacent land values because they kill the sidewalk. The skyway has been the replacement to the sidewalk here (and I wouldn't say good or bad by itself) but it does destroy the sidewalk feel. Look how streets downtown without large ramps are just fine, and streets (like 5th Ave) with lots of parking have very little land value and it is tough for a developer to justify building a less-than-block parcel.

We need to make sure land use decisions (parking structures) don't create HUGE and undue harm to other people's land values. We all probably agree there's enough parking here, and we should just let the market dictate parking prices if there's more demand. But I think the stadium legislation brings us to a point in the discussion where we need to deal with what we have and build the least invasive parking possible. I digress.

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby PhilmerPhil » December 17th, 2012, 9:48 am

If parking ramps must be built, build them like the one on 11th & Harmon, where Dancing Ganesha and the Lunch Cube are located. It took me a few Groupon visits to Dancing Ganesha before I even noticed that it was a parking ramp.

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby Tyler » December 17th, 2012, 9:58 am

Am I wrong in thinking that extra parking is a positive for developing this area? In that it decreases demand for surface parking and potentially lowers building costs for the "next" development. I get that when all the blocks are developed we do not want a bunch of excess parking. But when there are so many nearby surface parking lots, my guess is that extra parking in a project like this is pro-development for the immediate area.
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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby PhilmerPhil » December 17th, 2012, 10:31 am

I am cautious to the idea of providing more parking spaces, not because of it's effect on street life, but more because of it's effect on traffic and public infrastructure. As displayed in my previous link of 1100 Harmon, parking ramps can easily be hidden from a pedestrian's view. The real issue is that parking caters to people that are driving solo into and out of downtown, and because of that, there is increased demand to maintain our current system of 3+ lane one way streets. If we keep adding parking to DTE, how will we ever be able to update the streets to 2-3 lane two-way streets with stellar bike infrastructure, and a well designed pedestrian realm? I'm not saying we need to make it impossible to drive in downtown, I just think that there is a clear choice between catering to single occupant vehicles or having a high quality city with streetscapes and a transit system that invite people to live in, hang out in, work in, etc. You can't have both.

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby helsinki » December 17th, 2012, 10:49 am

PhilmerPhil wrote:parking caters to people that are driving solo into and out of downtown, and because of that, there is increased demand to maintain our current system of 3+ lane one way streets. If we keep adding parking to DTE, how will we ever be able to update the streets to 2-3 lane two-way streets with stellar bike infrastructure, and a well designed pedestrian realm? I'm not saying we need to make it impossible to drive in downtown, I just think that there is a clear choice between catering to single occupant vehicles or having a high quality city with streetscapes and a transit system that invite people to live in, hang out in, work in, etc. You can't have both.
Spot on.

Adding more parking at this already parking-saturated location will thwart attempts to remake the streetscape so that it accomodates a mix of transportation modes. It will induce demand - the price of parking is already dirt cheap; adding another ramp (400 - 1300 spaces?) not only incentivizes driving, it also reduces the amount of space that can be dedicated to residential, offices, retail, entertainment/restaurants/bars, etc. It's inefficient, not to mention really boring.

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby MNdible » December 17th, 2012, 11:46 am

I know it's hard to resist the urge to proselytize about the ills of parking, but it's really not adding much to this conversation, besides demonstrating that you all are True Believers in Urbanism. The facts on the ground, as I understand them:

1. The Vikings Stadium legislation required that a large amount of VIP parking be required. I don’t agree with this, but those are the NFL’s rules and the state decided it wanted to play ball. The time for this particular debate was about a year ago.
2. A major new office development in this area will generate some parking demand. Clearly less than if it were to be built anywhere else in the state of Minnesota, but real demand nonetheless.

Given that, does it make sense to coordinate these two projects such that the Vikings parking has a use the other 355 days a year?

Is it better to have the new development use the existing surface parking, thereby driving up the longterm viability of that parking?

Let’s dig into this thing. Don’t just tell me that parking is bad.

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby min-chi-cbus » December 17th, 2012, 12:24 pm

mattaudio wrote: The reality is parking structures, in most cases, are hostile to the traditional development pattern. They are a part of the post-war suburban experiment, but brought into the CBD. They significantly reduce adjacent land values because they kill the sidewalk. The skyway has been the replacement to the sidewalk here (and I wouldn't say good or bad by itself) but it does destroy the sidewalk feel. Look how streets downtown without large ramps are just fine, and streets (like 5th Ave) with lots of parking have very little land value and it is tough for a developer to justify building a less-than-block parcel.
Yet somehow cities like Houston and Dallas have 1000' towers adjacent to surface parking lots.....which I've NEVER understood how the economics work in those situations (the land values on one block are so valuable that it warrants building a very expensive skyscraper, but yet just one block over the land values can only justify a surface lot???)!

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby min-chi-cbus » December 17th, 2012, 12:34 pm

MNdible wrote:I know it's hard to resist the urge to proselytize about the ills of parking, but it's really not adding much to this conversation, besides demonstrating that you all are True Believers in Urbanism. The facts on the ground, as I understand them:

1. The Vikings Stadium legislation required that a large amount of VIP parking be required. I don’t agree with this, but those are the NFL’s rules and the state decided it wanted to play ball. The time for this particular debate was about a year ago.
2. A major new office development in this area will generate some parking demand. Clearly less than if it were to be built anywhere else in the state of Minnesota, but real demand nonetheless.

Given that, does it make sense to coordinate these two projects such that the Vikings parking has a use the other 355 days a year?

Is it better to have the new development use the existing surface parking, thereby driving up the longterm viability of that parking?

Let’s dig into this thing. Don’t just tell me that parking is bad.
I think it's just going to be a "hard sell" for Wells Fargo to limit the amount of space it can have built for its employees. The sad fact remains that 95%+ of its employees do not commute to downtown via mass transit, so they WILL need a place to park their cars. Having a campus HQ along LRT is certainly a step in the right direction to give its employees the option to live near mass transit routes, but that will mainly benefit new employees or employees who are relocating. Given this, I think it's most reasonable to work within these constraints -- parking WILL be a part of this project and will be required in similar ratios as they would in suburban locales.

However, since it is a major cost to the company to provide parking, especially in ramp settings that cost multiple times more than simple surface lots, it could be within Wells' best interests to consider purchasing some of those surface lots and/or leasing the spaces to its employees (in lieu of building a ramp or ramps to accomodate all of the employees in this new campus). This could benefit Wells in multiple ways: the obvious flexibility in the number of spaces it owns and operates, but also owning adjacent land that may be prime for expansion in the future. I'm sure purchasing those surface lots won't be cheap, but how much does it cost to build a ramp -- I'm guessing it'd be more on a /SF basis.

I see both happening: there will be some new parking for the campus as well as any future residential or park guests, but I don't see Wells spending more than it absolutely has to for pricey ramp-style parking downtown and may opt to utilize some of the surrounding surface lots as well (even if it means providing shuttles for employees if the walk is more than .25 or .50 miles). I just don't know whether Wells campus is close enough to the new Vikings stadium for the two to combine efforts to supply parking.

nasa35

Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby nasa35 » December 17th, 2012, 12:41 pm

min-chi-cbus wrote:
mattaudio wrote: The reality is parking structures, in most cases, are hostile to the traditional development pattern. They are a part of the post-war suburban experiment, but brought into the CBD. They significantly reduce adjacent land values because they kill the sidewalk. The skyway has been the replacement to the sidewalk here (and I wouldn't say good or bad by itself) but it does destroy the sidewalk feel. Look how streets downtown without large ramps are just fine, and streets (like 5th Ave) with lots of parking have very little land value and it is tough for a developer to justify building a less-than-block parcel.
Yet somehow cities like Houston and Dallas have 1000' towers adjacent to surface parking lots.....which I've NEVER understood how the economics work in those situations (the land values on one block are so valuable that it warrants building a very expensive skyscraper, but yet just one block over the land values can only justify a surface lot???)!
Dallas has no 1000 foot buildings.

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby Nick » December 17th, 2012, 12:44 pm

min-chi-cbus wrote:The sad fact remains that 95%+ of its employees do not commute to downtown via mass transit, so they WILL need a place to park their cars.
The non-automobile mode share for downtown commuters is much higher than 5%. I can't find a link right now in the bathroom but don't like a third of downtown commuters already take transit? Plus some bikers and some walkers?

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby Tyler » December 17th, 2012, 12:50 pm

Transit's share is currently 40% according to the 2025 plan.
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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby helsinki » December 17th, 2012, 12:53 pm

min-chi-cbus wrote:parking WILL be a part of this project and will be required in similar ratios as they would in suburban locales.
Why is this your assumption?

Before jumping to conclusions, I would think the right way to approach the issue is to ask (1) How many new employees will commute to this location by automobile? and (2) does the existing infrastructure possess the capacity to absorb the increased demand for parking (before necessitating the construction of new facilities)?

I'm not just blathering on about how parking is bad. There seemed to be a rather nonchalant attitude towards new parking on this thread. It struck me as odd, since these monstrous structures are the antithesis of good urbanism.

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Re: Star Tribune Blocks

Postby MNdible » December 17th, 2012, 12:53 pm

Nick wrote:The non-automobile mode share for downtown commuters is much higher than 5%. I can't find a link right now in the bathroom but don't like a third of downtown commuters already take transit? Plus some bikers and some walkers?
Yes, I was going to note the same thing. I bet that you'd be blown away by the actual percentages of these employees who are already using transit. And remember, these are mostly back-office employees in the proposed facility. We're not talking about the high paid banker driving his BMW in from Wayzata.


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