What will it take to develop DTE?

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
PhilmerPhil
Moderator
Posts: 1205
Joined: May 31st, 2012, 11:38 am
Location: SOUP: SOuth UPtown

What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby PhilmerPhil » July 29th, 2012, 9:30 pm

I'm hoping to start a lively discussion about what it will take to get some legitimate development in Downtown East. With the new stadium coming, there will hopefully be some positive changes to the area, but one thing that I am concerned won't be addressed is what, in my opinion, is the biggest roadblock to residential, family friendly development: the streets.

We all love to blame the parking lots and the nasty Metrodome for making the area such a hostile place, but if the city wants to see some changes here, it needs to take some initiative. Wide 3+ lane one ways with minimal bike and pedestrian amenities will not draw people to the area. This might be evidenced by looking at some other areas of downtown that have seen development: the North Loop and Mill District. These areas are defined by two lane two way streets, semi-comfortable bike lanes, and street trees. Every single street in DTE caters to the very commuters that patronize the parking lots. What DTE really needs are neighborhood streets. Keep a few arterials, but tame the rest to streets where people actually want to live.

We need to start designing our streets not on how many cars will utilize them, but what we want for their outcomes.

Below are some screen grabs that support my thoughts:
North Loop:
Image
Mill District:
Image
DTE:
Image
Image

The streets in the North Loop and Mill District are much more pleasant for residential use. (Even though I feel that they could probably also use some narrowing and separated cycle facilities...)

This post was influenced in part by an old post on redisciple's blog Getting Around MPLS. (See point 2: Green Downtown)

What does everyone else think? Any other ideas as to what needs to happen before we see significant growth here?

(PS: This post also could apply to places like the Northeast/Old St. Anthony area, Hiawatha Ave., parts of Broadway Ave., and any other neighborhoods that are struggling to attract pedestrian/urban friendly development, yet seem to ignore that they are dominated by heavily auto-oriented roads.)

Tcmetro
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1331
Joined: May 31st, 2012, 8:02 pm
Location: Chicago (ex-Minneapolitan)

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Tcmetro » July 30th, 2012, 7:45 am

I guess it depends on what the city and the people want. Do we want skyscraper offices or a neighborhood of 6 story condos? It will be difficult to draw residents in because of the proximity of the stadium and HCMC. The city needs to prioritize what they want for the area, then perhaps it will actually materialize.

mattaudio
Stone Arch Bridge
Posts: 7772
Joined: June 19th, 2012, 2:04 pm
Location: NORI: NOrth of RIchfield

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby mattaudio » July 30th, 2012, 8:10 am

Agreed, the streets need to change, just as they changed in the past when they were designed to funnel high volumes of cars during peak hours.

Most one-ways in the downtown core could really be two lanes instead of three, and bumpouts would go a long way to improve the pedestrian realm. Look at how much more comfortable it is to walk near Mears or Rice Park in St. Paul.

In general, I'd like to see two way streets, but that may be challenging for streets which still see high peak volumes such as 6th Street.... How about "half-multiway boulevards?" Two through-lanes, then a side slip lane with parking. Might be an option.

Jez
Block E
Posts: 22
Joined: June 5th, 2012, 2:21 pm

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Jez » July 30th, 2012, 9:37 am

I sometimes take a detour to drive through this neighbourhood, there are so many gorgeous town homes that remind me of parts of Boston or Glasgow. I would love to see more of these built and lots of renovation to the one's that are poorly managed. I don't think this area is suitable for skyscrapers but a few mid rises would add to the density. Minneapolis lacks city town home-esq properties coming from someone still farely new to the area, this area is so perfect to townhome in-fill, w/some retail thrown in, there's so much potential, especially by the stadium and close to the light rail. DTE could be filled w/homes, sidewalk restuarants, tree lined streets..... would be the ideal place from which to walk to work if you work DT, grab a coffee or a newspaper and stroll.

min-chi-cbus
Capella Tower
Posts: 3131
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 9:19 am

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby min-chi-cbus » July 30th, 2012, 11:03 am

Disrupt the flow of the fastest thru-streets (mainly 6th and 8th) and/or add large sidewalks/buffers separating pedestrians from the traffic. You can't always eliminate traffic and high speeds, but you can at least protect against it. Michigan Ave in Chicago is a major street AND very pedestrian-friendly. I personally prefer the smaller, narrower, slower street too, but where it's not an effective option the former may work well.

User avatar
spectre000
Union Depot
Posts: 301
Joined: May 31st, 2012, 9:05 pm
Location: Downtown St. Paul

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby spectre000 » July 30th, 2012, 11:28 am

The area must become more pedestrian friendly if it's to see development. We're not going to see major office buildings out this way. I think the core business area will remain around Nicollet Mall for the foreseeable future. The best development here should be mixed use. Housing and boutique office/retail space. Some expansion by HCMC would be welcome as well.

A way should be found to interconnect all the various out lying parks in downtown (Gold Medal, Elliot, Loring, and the future Gateway Park). Downtown St. Paul has been slowly trying to connect its parks (Rice, Mears, Wacouta, and the future Pedro Park) in a circlular route over the years. I think something like that could be done for Minneapolis. More trees planted and new lantern style lighting along streets could really improve the aestetic of the land.

A full or half block park somewhere in the area wouldn't be bad either. Parks can bring lots of new housing and development.

ECtransplant
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 751
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 9:56 am

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby ECtransplant » July 30th, 2012, 11:30 am

Some tall office buildings could go on the surface lots just southeast of the government center. Probably one of the easiest places to get the next major addition to the skyline given you're working with empty lots and it will be a continuation of the CBD. These projects could also be used to, or spurred by, a restoration of the armory into something useful. Other than those few lots, I would love to see a more middle-to-lower end grocery store go in (I'm thinking Rainbow or Trader Joes). This could be great on one of the lots right next to HCMC as those lots are least likely to get residential development. For the rest of the development, the priority should be getting a critical mass of infill quickly, not slowly attracting larger projects lot by lot.

min-chi-cbus
Capella Tower
Posts: 3131
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 9:19 am

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby min-chi-cbus » July 30th, 2012, 11:38 am

Any lots HCMC owns are going to be for Medical use only, and the rumor I heard (from a doctor who is part of the development committee or something) is that this expansion is planned to start sometime in the near future (within 5 years).

User avatar
woofner
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1329
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 10:04 am

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby woofner » July 30th, 2012, 11:45 am

There is a 10 year old plan for East Downtown that's pretty detailed and I think reflects the vision that a lot of people have for the area:

http://www.minneapolismn.gov/cped/plann ... loop_index

It envisions an expansion of the Core to Portland with mostly mid-rise development beyond that, except for low-rise along 9th to match the existing environment. I would have favored a more linear expansion of the Core along LRT to the Metrodome, but of course there is time for that to be revised.

Most of the items in the surprisingly detailed implementation section have not been accomplished or even proposed in the 10 years since the plan was passed. I think the only proven strategy for public investment that will drive private development is improving public infrastructure - typically developing a signature park. I don't think there's room for that here, so I agree that improving streetscapes would be crucial.

A possible development-catalyzing replacement for a signature park would be a linear park a la the Loring Greenway snaking its way through the middle of blocks from Elliot Park to the river. Ideally this would be designed so that it could be functional for bike & ped commuters - that means doubling back kept at a minimum. The DTENL plan linked above suggests a greenway along Portland from Washington to 7th but that's not really connective enough for it to be useful for transportation and attaching it to the ROW is neither aesthetically preferable nor maximal for development.
"Who rescued whom!"

ECtransplant
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 751
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 9:56 am

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby ECtransplant » July 30th, 2012, 11:48 am

Which undeveloped lots does HCMC own?

seanrichardryan
Capella Tower
Posts: 3900
Joined: June 3rd, 2012, 9:33 pm
Location: Merriam Park, St. Paul
Contact:

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby seanrichardryan » July 30th, 2012, 12:16 pm

Aren't all the undeveloped lots going to become 'game-day plazas'.
Q. What, what? A. In da butt.

min-chi-cbus
Capella Tower
Posts: 3131
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 9:19 am

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby min-chi-cbus » July 30th, 2012, 8:24 pm

ECtransplant wrote:Which undeveloped lots does HCMC own?
Quite a few, I think. I know the completely open surface lot just West of HCMC is theirs, and the rumor I heard was that was going to be the location of a large new medical office building that would house the entire existing HCMC staff and/or patients (somehow!) while the old HCMC on its existing parcels would be completely redeveloped into a modern, state-of-the-art medical center. I have no idea what time frame this would occur in and I heard this from a Psychologist (who was recommended by the Chief of Psychiatry -- in case somebody is worried I'm talking to a quack!) I saw there who, again, was either on this development board, part of the planning team, or just good friends with somebody who was. I have no reason to believe a doctor would tell me stories that weren't true, so at the very least I assume that the rumor was true but it's very difficult to tell with the economy and timing what or when things could be redeveloped there.

By the way, I heard this about 1.5 years ago (i.e. after the Recession).

mattaudio
Stone Arch Bridge
Posts: 7772
Joined: June 19th, 2012, 2:04 pm
Location: NORI: NOrth of RIchfield

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby mattaudio » July 31st, 2012, 11:25 am

I also seem to recall hearing about transactions with the block Lehmans and that wonderful Finance and Commerce building are on... that some sort of new medical development was planned for that block, too.

mattaudio
Stone Arch Bridge
Posts: 7772
Joined: June 19th, 2012, 2:04 pm
Location: NORI: NOrth of RIchfield

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby mattaudio » July 31st, 2012, 11:28 am

I know I had posted this a year ago on Minnescraper.. http://goo.gl/maps/wbpAS

Wish there's a way the Thrivent surface lot could become a park fronted by mid-rise mixed use, similar to Mears Park in Lowertown.

User avatar
Nathan
Capella Tower
Posts: 3989
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 10:42 am

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Nathan » July 31st, 2012, 12:17 pm

The diagonal greenway is great. As well as the square park. A lot of people disagree that those sorts of parks are valuable, but our DT is severely lacking in greenspace. We can't just rely on the river and Loring park to cover the needs of all of the potential people that would occupy what used to be a concrete wasteland. It also gives people who are walking across DT a reason to keep going, and a visual rest from urban fabric.

Didier
Capella Tower
Posts: 2397
Joined: June 3rd, 2012, 10:11 am
Location: MSP

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Didier » July 31st, 2012, 12:25 pm

It's kind of ironic that people in this threat are advocating new parks and open space yet in the nearby Vikings thread the affiliated stadium plaza is being derided as a waste of taxable land.

mplser
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 728
Joined: May 31st, 2012, 11:43 pm
Location: Elliot Park

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby mplser » July 31st, 2012, 12:49 pm

a stadium plaza is a little different from parks that will be used more than 10 times a year

Didier
Capella Tower
Posts: 2397
Joined: June 3rd, 2012, 10:11 am
Location: MSP

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Didier » July 31st, 2012, 2:34 pm

Just like Rice Park is only used during Wild games, right?

mplser
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 728
Joined: May 31st, 2012, 11:43 pm
Location: Elliot Park

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby mplser » July 31st, 2012, 5:05 pm

I'm assuming rice park is different. I have heard this future plaza be called a "game day plaza" over and over.

Didier
Capella Tower
Posts: 2397
Joined: June 3rd, 2012, 10:11 am
Location: MSP

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Didier » July 31st, 2012, 6:38 pm

I'd really hope they can design a game-day plaza to accommodate 365 days of use. Given the amount of space it could make a much better park, in my opinion, than the smaller ones being described so far.


Return to “Minneapolis - Downtown”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 3 guests