What will it take to develop DTE?

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
PhilmerPhil
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby PhilmerPhil » August 5th, 2012, 9:39 pm

Not sure if this study has been mentioned here:
From the Journal:
Surface parking 
lot study

Downtown East will also be the subject of a surface parking lot study.

“It’s an area of downtown that is mostly dominated by surface parking lots,” said Paul Mogush, principle city planner with the city of Minneapolis.

Mogush works in the department overseeing the project, but is not directly involved with it.

“The purpose of this study is to drill down a little bit deeper into the reasons why development is not happening over there,” Mogush said.

He said the project aims to identify tools available to the city that would encourage building development in the area. It may, for example, look at alternative property taxing structures.

The study had not yet started, but is set to begin by the end of the year.
This really seems to ignore the point I made when opening this topic up for discussion. I understand the parking lots are a part of the problem, but I feel that the city really should take a look in the mirror when it comes to this area not being developed. Fix the roads. Make them friendly for families/pedestrians/cyclists/developers. If there is still no movement in the area, it might be time to do some studying.

ECtransplant
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby ECtransplant » August 5th, 2012, 9:47 pm

I agree making the roads more human-scaled would be good, but I do like the talk of them considering alternative tax structures. The land should bet taxed at a higher rate than the buildings on it.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby seanrichardryan » August 6th, 2012, 12:23 am

I think dividing parcels back up would be a wise move. Smaller piecemeal development could be easier and it will certainly be more interesting.
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TroyGBiv
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby TroyGBiv » August 6th, 2012, 12:33 am

Realistically this whole neighborhood has never gone anywhere - I remember the Metrodome was expected to turn that area into a bar / nightclub / hotel / sports zone and the only bar there was Huberts... for way over 20 years... I think that now that this area is anchored on the south by the medical technical corridor on the east by the new stadium and a major LRT departure point and then a Washington avenue residential, entertainment and office corridor on the north - that we should be looking at substantial residential zone and key office space migrating eastward... The downtown really does need to expand its's density core eastward... there is no substantial space now on the west side. The only adjacent space is DTE for skyline expansion. There is always infill opportunities... Just my two cents.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby mattaudio » August 6th, 2012, 8:59 am

Agreed. I hope the new stadium doesn't set back the organic neighborhood growth we've seen. If anything, I think they should design the stadium so it doesn't have much of an impact beyond its footprint... These game-day plazas, tailgating lots, etc are a blight 98% of the time when there's not a football game. There's already plenty of surface lots... ease restrictions on tailgating at these lots on gamedays (but also charge more for land owners who decide they want to blight the city with these lots) and it will be fine.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Didier » August 10th, 2012, 1:19 pm

Is there really any "organic growth" by the Metrodome right now, though? I think it's kind of a stretch to count the Mill District, as nothing has really happened south of Washington to this point.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby gahwi003 » August 29th, 2012, 7:15 pm

I dont foresee much development in DTE anytime soon. People want to live in areas that offer a "neighborhood" feel. DTE simply does not cater to those demands. People want walkable neighborhoods, which require a variety of residential, office, retail, and restaurant buildings, ect. But developers wont build in DTE since there is no demand for apartments/condos in an area surrounded by vacant parking lots. (I had a meeting with an OPUS employee, I wont name names, and he reiterated exactly what i am saying). No one wants to be the first to invest, and possibly lose money. This circular cycle, IMO, is what is keeping things the way they have been for a long time. I dont expect DTE to be what we aspire it to be for another 10-15 yrs.

The sad truth.

I was re-reading some of the posts, and wondered how the change in streets will help the area? Can someone elaborate on the relevance of one-way vs. two-way/wide vs. narrow roads, and how they affect(effect?) development?

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby MNdible » August 29th, 2012, 7:59 pm

The thing is, we're really not talking about very many blocks in play. The Stadium is going to take probably three blocks out of play. HCMC is probably going to take another couple blocks. That really doesn't leave us with that much of an area, and I think we're already starting to see some more movement of the Mill Quarter zone across Washington Avenue. Once those blocks along Washington go, we're looking at maybe four blocks.

I think the real issue has been that people have been sitting on the blocks assuming that the downtown core would expand in that direction, and they'd be able to sell the blocks for tower money, not for residential money.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby ECtransplant » August 29th, 2012, 8:40 pm

MNdible wrote:I think the real issue has been that people have been sitting on the blocks assuming that the downtown core would expand in that direction, and they'd be able to sell the blocks for tower money, not for residential money.
Well, the residential could still be a tower

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby dumberGuy » August 29th, 2012, 8:52 pm

what will it take to develop DTE?

one good coffeehouse, one good taco truck, and low-ish rents

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Rich » August 29th, 2012, 9:05 pm

We know that the stadium will have an impressive and inviting west entry. It'll have a Vikings Hall of Fame to draw tourists (not an earth-shattering addition but still a plus). There will be a plaza designed to function independently of Vikings events. There will be an upgraded transit station serving two lines instead of one. None of those things currently exist. And they should all be positive contributions to development.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby MNdible » August 29th, 2012, 9:25 pm

ECtransplant wrote:
MNdible wrote:I think the real issue has been that people have been sitting on the blocks assuming that the downtown core would expand in that direction, and they'd be able to sell the blocks for tower money, not for residential money.
Well, the residential could still be a tower
Even so, it would demand only a fraction of the price.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Wedgeguy » August 29th, 2012, 9:42 pm

The DTE, will be alot like the North Loop that was a no man's land for years until small catalysts came in and slowly made the area great. The old Train yards north of Washington was the same way. We have a few mills that were renovated over time, and at teh time they were a boondoogle. You had to give the space away because you could not get people in there. Now 20 years later you pay through the nose for every saure foot north of Wahington. The old, "Build it and they will come," will not happen in DTE. IT will be a quarter, half blocks at a time and from areas where there is some development near by. You can't create in 4 years what will take 20 to really become a neighborhood. The north loop has been evolving now for 20 years or more. It is now moving in larger steps because of all the small baby steps of the past. DTE, Has really nothing to build on. There are no old building to rehab. No quirky places that would work for a cool bar or restraunt. Those places are now already filling up in the outside of the doughnut hole. Blocks of empty asphalt will need special care to make into truely liveable and unique places. Can't have the 6 story rule where everything look the same and there is not green space and storefronts and cafe's. There will need to be a very strong vision to get past this bleak area.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Nathan » August 30th, 2012, 1:14 am

I think that Elliot park does have a great neighborhood plan. I really think Development will push from Elliot Park north and from Mill City South. Elliot park has some great quirky places. The Band Box, and all of the beautiful old apartments. And has been getting some conveniences, cvs... plus is steps away from DT and HCMC, there are sooo many potential tenants. Fill the gaps there and it will push it's northern boundary for sure.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Aville_37 » August 30th, 2012, 6:38 am

I am curious as to whether there is still any lurking interest in redeveloping the Hinkle-Murphy house and surrounding area. I remember during the building boom, there was a plan to incorporate the the house into a mixed-use development including retail and several residential high-rises.

I believe that the Elliot Park area does still include several interesting/underutilized buildings for rehab/redevelopment. One issue is the college that is located in neighborhood that owns many of the older buildings for use as offices/classrooms and student housing. Any development also needs to include the cooperation/input of the college.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby PhilmerPhil » August 30th, 2012, 7:31 am

In my opinion, the 4 lane one way roads are not suitable for living situations, especially family friendly ones. As DTE currently stands, it is a place for cars--both moving them and storing them. Leave the development of the lots to private developers, but it's on the city to rethink the streets in the area to make them more attractive for living on. Below are examples of streets that are at a more human scale vs. the present state in DTE:

North Loop
Mill District
DTE
DTE

It seems that every street in this area is an arterial. Where are the neighborhood side streets? Where are the calm, tree lined streets with boulevards? There needs to be a major adjustment in the way automobile movement is handled in this area for any real tides to turn. The only greenery that does currently exist is within the parking lots. These trees and grass buffers will be removed with any development on these lots and will leave the streets with nothing but bleakness.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby PhilmerPhil » August 30th, 2012, 7:38 am

And again, this is just my belief, but when it comes to DTE, subsidies, incentives, "studies," and other spending on the city's (and county's) behalf are inappropriate uses of public dollars when the public spaces (streets, sidewalks, parks, etc.) are in such horrid condition.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby min-chi-cbus » August 30th, 2012, 8:03 am

Wedgeguy wrote:The DTE, will be alot like the North Loop that was a no man's land for years until small catalysts came in and slowly made the area great. The old Train yards north of Washington was the same way. We have a few mills that were renovated over time, and at teh time they were a boondoogle. You had to give the space away because you could not get people in there. Now 20 years later you pay through the nose for every saure foot north of Wahington. The old, "Build it and they will come," will not happen in DTE. IT will be a quarter, half blocks at a time and from areas where there is some development near by. You can't create in 4 years what will take 20 to really become a neighborhood. The north loop has been evolving now for 20 years or more. It is now moving in larger steps because of all the small baby steps of the past. DTE, Has really nothing to build on. There are no old building to rehab. No quirky places that would work for a cool bar or restraunt. Those places are now already filling up in the outside of the doughnut hole. Blocks of empty asphalt will need special care to make into truely liveable and unique places. Can't have the 6 story rule where everything look the same and there is not green space and storefronts and cafe's. There will need to be a very strong vision to get past this bleak area.
I think this is an excellent perspective and really exemplifies what I personally believe to be the best way to develop: slowly, and with a SOUND foundation that starts from the ground up (grass roots).

Like another poster mentioned, start with a coffee shop. Then a small 50-100 unit/quarter-block development will pop up in the best corner of the "best" block. Then a couple others of similar size may join if that development scored well. Then come the major investors -- probably local at first -- who are willing to try something more substantial at a site and in a location that they themselves may have always envisioned to be great and have the capital to at least try to make a difference and take that chance (e.g. Shamrock). Finally, the Magellans or the Hines' of the world step in if and when there is nearly 0 chance for failure and almost every other possible entity has come in and made a success out of DTE already, and with much less.

To me, this process is so much better than the boom/bust cycles that Sunbelt and West Coast cities experience. Sustained and organic growth is the key to a healthy city, IMO.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Aville_37 » August 30th, 2012, 8:05 am

I agree w/ PhilmerPhil - I get tired of all the money that is spent on studies, planning, etc. By this time the city should know what is good urban development. Instead of spending money on additional studies - it needs to put that money towards implementing what is suggested. I don't think that we can only rely on private development - the city needs to invest in its infrastructure, public realm etc. which will lure private development.

I think many of the streets should be converted to 2-lane two way, with center planted medians to calm traffic and make the streets more pedestrian friendly. The streets should also incorporate pedestrian street lights. Where trees cannot be planted, raised planters should be placed along sidewalks for trees, flowers, etc. like along Marquette and 2nd Avenue (although the trees that were planted are pretty pathetic in my opinion. Still, steps in the right direction.

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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby MNdible » August 30th, 2012, 8:53 am

PhilmerPhil wrote:It seems that every street in this area is an arterial. Where are the neighborhood side streets? Where are the calm, tree lined streets with boulevards? There needs to be a major adjustment in the way automobile movement is handled in this area for any real tides to turn.
I don't mean to be snarky about this, but are we really surprised that arterial roads concentrate themselves downtown? Isn't that the very nature of an arterial -- that they collect traffic from a broad area and bring it to the metaphorical heart (technically, I guess that would be the role of veins, not arteries)? Most of these streets serve an important function in the broader system, and to suggest that that role should be put aside so that they can become leafy, residential side streets seems to me a very curious plan.

Obviously, the streetscape is horrendous in DTE, and many of the roads could be more nuanced, shedding a lane where it makes sense. To the extent that the streetscape is better elsewhere, that's because residents and business owners in those locations demanded that it be better (and often agreed to special assessments to make it so). Right now, there's nobody in DTE that loves or cares about the streets, and hence they look bad. This will change.


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