Nicollet Mall

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
amiller92
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby amiller92 » June 9th, 2015, 11:20 am

Wedgeguy wrote:David the white folks that I was talking about was the planners and the city that seem to be oblivious to what really makes a city a live, and a thriving place. The graphics alone show that they think the mall should be a park and not a thriving destination for people of all walks of life. They are more worried about outdoor seating that they are the number of doors that would provide retail that will keep people coming to the mall and spending time and money in the area. Not just sitting on their asses on movable chairs, But spending time making the area a dynamic place and a true destination.
Being worried about outdoor seating is a step forward, or at least an improvement from the time when the goal was to have none so as not to attract the undesirables.

But, yeah, not as big as having other reasons for people to be there and places for them to do stuff. Although there are improvements on that front coming to City Center.

nate
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby nate » June 9th, 2015, 11:25 am

I have to say that this is a really, really interesting discussion.

1) I think the point that Nicollet Mall suffers more from bad urban design (too few doors, not enough retail, generally poor street/skyway connections) at the building scale, as much as lack of programming or seating, is a very strong one. The proposed remodel does not address these flaws directly.

2) Buses on the mall make it a space with an undeniably utilitarian function. A utilitarian function that it serves quite poorly - how long does it take a bus to go from one end of the mall to the other? The proposed remodel does nothing to enhance the utilitarian functions of the space.

3) There are many things that inserting people into a rendering does. The two most important are this: provide a sense of scale, so the viewer can understand the size of the space in relationship to their own body; and provide a sense that the space will be well used and vibrant. In my opinion, the latter of these is far too easy for architects/developers/designers to overuse - it's a kind of greenwashing that is divorced from the reality of how people will use the space. In my opinion, the Nicollet Mall renderings are particularly egregious examples of this. A simply vast number of people are inserted into the rendering doing things we'd all like to see in public spaces. A majority of those people are stylish white folks - that is undeniable.

4) Which begs the question: why are the renderings filled mostly with attractive white women fussing with their strollers, but not the huge diversity of classes and races that actually use the mall? What does this say about the motivations behind the redesign? How do we evaluate the success of the remodel, if its renderings imply a "higher class" of people will be attracted to the space?

My conclusion is this: the Mall, like any true public space, is a lot of things to a lot of people. If I am a millennial Target employee, it's a sunny place for lunch in the summer. If I'm a poor person that lives in Jordan, it's a transfer point between work and home that I use many times a day. If I'm a building owner, it's a front yard that makes my investment appreciate more rapidly.

Our city is home to all these types of people. The problem with the redesign is that, to me, it focuses almost exclusively on how to make the space more superficially attractive to wealthier, whiter people - while ingraining the Mall's easily diagnosable design flaws for another generation. That's a poor use of $50 Million, in my opinion.

kyl
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby kyl » June 9th, 2015, 11:27 am

amiller92 wrote:
kyl wrote:the quaint North Loop?
Quaint? Hm.
Scream-fests will remain.
You may think this is cleverly-veiled, but it isn't.
I have no problem if the city spends money in areas where residents go and enjoy their weekends.
What about places that people go and use both during the week and on week ends? Because a whole lot of people use the Mall. Probably a lot more, in aggregate, than use river-front parks, for example.
All I saw was misrepresentation of the demographics of Nicollet Mall during a weekend.
Those renderings were only of weekends? Huh.
Nicollet Mall will still be like most downtown streets where no white women would work on her laptop after dark.
Yeah, about that veil...
Then, let the businesses on and around Nicollet Mall pick up the tab. You're probably a renter, work for the city or live in Maple Grove or something. $50 millions??!! If the city can't afford it, it shouldn't force it on its people. $50 millions on outdoor seatings??? How much did you pay for your couch?

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Anondson
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Anondson » June 9th, 2015, 11:34 am

I am sympathetic to the thought that Nicollet's update is to put a nice look to attract people because the building owners themselves have such repellent building street level. In which case, the owners can make their own buildings less crappy would solve 90% of the "problem" of the space being attractive ... that this project might be lipstick on a pig and functionally another subsidy.

But I think also there is a role of the city in this and $50 mil is probably about right.

Silophant
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Silophant » June 9th, 2015, 11:39 am

Excitingly enough, there will be a chance to get some empirical data on the "people are only on Nicollet because of buses" assertion. Very soon, the buses will be removed from Nicollet for the duration of construction. Will the street be entirely deserted when that happens? We'll find out!

MNdible
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby MNdible » June 9th, 2015, 11:54 am

People are aware that the businesses in question are directly footing half of the cost of this, right? Of the remaining $25 million, I recollect that $21.5 million is being funded by state bonding. So, the direct city contribution to this project is a staggering $3.5 million. Of that, as noted above, downtown properties (not to mention other industrial and commercial properties) will pay a major chunk of the property taxes, so the 150,000 households in Minneapolis will be responsible for, say, $1.8 million, which equals $12 per household. Payable over the 30 year capital life of the project, that's $.40 a year per household.

I think we're worth the splurge.

Viktor Vaughn
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Viktor Vaughn » June 9th, 2015, 11:58 am

kyl wrote: $50 millions on outdoor seatings??? How much did you pay for your couch?
Yep, but $50 millions to seat about 200 people is only $250 thousands per chair. You'd know that's a pretty good price if you've ever bought outdoor commercial furniture.
nate wrote:Our city is home to all these types of people. The problem with the redesign is that, to me, it focuses almost exclusively on how to make the space more superficially attractive to wealthier, whiter people - while ingraining the Mall's easily diagnosable design flaws for another generation. That's a poor use of $50 Million, in my opinion.
This is my apprehension as well. I also can't shake the feeling this money could go a lot further on other downtown streets.
David Greene wrote:Ok, I'm probably one of the first people on here to shout, "racism," but you're over the top, beige_box.
Of course I'll let David be the final arbiter of all things racist, but I thought beige_box was right on. Kyl's subsequent response confirmed as much. But, I have the opposite concern. While some see this Nicollet Mall redo as further accommodating downtown undesirables, I see an attempt to sterilize and mallify the street. The key feature of moveable furniture is, after all, it can be moved. Which I have no doubt will be done at the first pretense or sign of trouble.

Chava
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Chava » June 9th, 2015, 12:04 pm

In the grand scheme of city budgets $3.5 isn't a large proportion, but does that matter? Tax dollars are being used for yet another remake, but is there any reason to believe the results will actually be different this time? Designer talking points aside, what can I look forward to as a taxpayer and urbanist when this is done? The ink is dry, so now I look toward the results.

As far as the intent, people are missing from this equation. Place making is about attracting people,and keeping people around, right?

I fail to see what might bring people down there in droves. Aside from the lipstick on the pig, what else is fundamentally changing? Are there new retail anchor tenants coming in? An Apple, H&M, or some local shops? Cool art that will cause sidewalk traffic jams? A museum that will attract people from all walks of life? Is there a new blues venue coming in? I've been to Nicollet a handful of times to eat or hit up Target since moving here 1.5 years ago, and nothing really draws me back. I struggled to explain its' significance to a friend who just moved here from Chicago. The closest equivalent we could find was State Street in Chicago, but not quite.

Wedgeguy
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Wedgeguy » June 9th, 2015, 12:13 pm

Silophant wrote:Excitingly enough, there will be a chance to get some empirical data on the "people are only on Nicollet because of buses" assertion. Very soon, the buses will be removed from Nicollet for the duration of construction. Will the street be entirely deserted when that happens? We'll find out!
You are partially correct. We will still have people transferring off busses on the east/west streets, but I'm sure many will move their stop closer to their new transfer point. But you make a great "We'll See" question over the next few years. The curious thing is where will most people go now when the mall is torn up? Can't say there is a lot of hangin out space on Hennepin.

Grant, you can use this as a study for a college paper in the future when you are in college. It should make for a great subject study. Even I will be keeping a closer eye on who, what, and where the mall people move to. Will see how well that the restaurants along the mall fair while it is dug up and how many will be able to make ends meet during the duration of the renovation. When I say mall people I'm talking about those that eat at restaurants along the mall. Those that regularly shop along the mall, Target, Macy's, Marshalls, etc, and the homeless that spend their day hangin on the mall. This renovation will be spread out over a few layer of the socio-economic layers that call DT home, work, or a crossroad during their day.

grant1simons2
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby grant1simons2 » June 9th, 2015, 12:15 pm

I've got nothing. I'm just really really tired of this argument.. Everytime they've redone Nicollet it turns into something better. But we have a rough winter that causes things to age poorly. Chava..go look up Nicollet mall and you'll find its significance.

Chava
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Chava » June 9th, 2015, 12:18 pm

grant1simons2 wrote:I've got nothing. I'm just really really tired of this argument.. Everytime they've redone Nicollet it turns into something better. But we have a rough winter that causes things to age poorly. Chava..go look up Nicollet mall and you'll find its significance.
Grant, its' modern significance. I'm well aware of the history, and that's important. But when my out of town visitor asks about it and wants to know what they can lay hands on, it's not always an easy sell, even if they are staying at a hotel near it.

For the record, I'm not pessimistic about the redo. I'm sure it will be fine. Not much we can do now but watch the construction, and enjoy.

grant1simons2
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby grant1simons2 » June 9th, 2015, 12:26 pm

My main counterpoint is this. Why would businesses and organizations push so hard for this if they are not trying to impress an outside interest. Could it be for them to enjoy for themselves? Of course. But I think they'd also enjoy more shops and restaurants. Which is why they want it done. Sports authority opens in the fall. Saks on fifth is just getting started as we're seeing from restaurant closures and moves. Walgreens is well on its way. 360 Nicollet is opening more retail space on the mall. Nic on fifth is pursuing a restaurant for its Nicollet space. Meet Minneapolis is opening a tourism space on the mall. Etc. Etc. Things are looking up and getting better. It's a process. But I think by the time I graduate college, Nicollet could finally be back to a destination status. It kind of is now too. I was in downtown east yesterday and a man with a very thick Italian accent asked me where Nicollet mall was.

Wedgeguy
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Wedgeguy » June 9th, 2015, 12:33 pm

I'll use three example of strong and vibrant urban areas. The first is more of an honorable mention as a area that is improving over the course of the last few years and with some of the future development that are proposed. But Uptown is an area that has, I'll repeat this 2 more time, has doors, stores, and restaurants lining the streets. The defined area of Uptown is increasing because of the presence of customers going to these establishments in ever growing numbers.

50th and France, while maybe not everybody's price point. The area survives even with the Galleria less that 5 miles away. Again, It is door, stores, and restaurants that make this an area that consumers will even walk outside to get to their favorite store.

Grand Avenue in St. Paul. This is a very long, but prosperous street with several major retail nodes along it. Why is Grand so important and prosperous, Door, and stores, and restaurants. This is what keeps getting missed here in the city. The City planners, the developers, and apparently the highly educated planners who propose these lame ideas don't seem to get and understand it. With all of the past failures, Conservatory for one, of not doing a project correctly, we seem to continue making the same mistakes over and over again. Failure to energize the street level only makes for a pretty wrapping on an empty box syndrome. You only need to open an empty box once to know you don't need to return and check it out again.

Make me wonder why we, those that do not have a degree in urban studies and architecture, seem to have a better and clearer understanding of what makes a city functional in the long run. Might be because we have out eyes and minds open to look outside the box?
Last edited by Wedgeguy on June 9th, 2015, 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

amiller92
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby amiller92 » June 9th, 2015, 12:38 pm

kyl wrote: You're probably a renter, work for the city or live in Maple Grove or something.
Yes, I'm probably those things. Or both my home and my office are within the special assessment district.

I think the price tag is too high too. I think the design fails to address the structural issues that others have raised. I think it should be entirely free of motorized vehicles.

But unfortunately I am not in charge, so I'll take the step forward we're getting and just wish it was better and/or cheaper.

Chava
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Chava » June 9th, 2015, 12:43 pm

Wedgeguy wrote:I'll use three example of strong and vibrant urban areas. The first is more of an honorable mention as a area that is improving over the course of the last few years and with some of the future development that are proposed. But Uptown is an area that has, I'll repeat this 2 more time, has doors, stores, and restaurants lining the streets. The defined area of Uptown is increasing because of the presence of customers going to these establishments in ever growing numbers.

50th and France, while maybe not everybody's price point. The area survives even with the Galleria less that 5 miles away. Again, It is door, stores, and restaurants that make this an area that consumers will even walk outside to get to their favorite store.

Grand Avenue in St. Paul. This is a very long, but prosperous street with several major retail nodes along it. Why is Grand so important and prosperous, Door, and stores, and restaurants. This is what keeps getting missed here in the city. The City planners, the developers and apparently the highly educated planners who propose these lame ideas don't seem to get and understand it. With all of the failures of not doing a project correctly, when have the same mistakes done over and over again.

Make me wonder why we, those that do not have a degree in urban studies and architecture, seem to have a better and clearer understanding of what makes a city functional in the long run. Might be because we have out eyes and minds open to look outside the box?
Doors, stores, and pours(bars and restaurants). It's simple concept, but I completely agree.

Wedgeguy
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Wedgeguy » June 9th, 2015, 12:46 pm

Chava that makes a great line there. Did not think about that last one, but I like that very much. Maybe that should be a new tagline for the city to keep in mind!!

acs
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby acs » June 9th, 2015, 12:48 pm

Before we go much farther, I feel like a few people have an, ahem, black and white view of the people who occupy Nicollet throughout the day. It's much more nuanced and varies throughout the day. It's not just white office workers during the day and scary black people at night, on a typical summer weekday it's more like:

8am to 9:30: 50/50 mix of local bus people and rich downtowners walking to work
9:30 to Noon: Mostly just people waiting for local buses. A few homeless start setting up camp.
Lunch Hour: majority office workers out and about for lunch (during the summer), still only a few homeless
1:00 to 4:00pm: Again, mostly local bus people, some wannabe hoodrat kids start hanging out along the north end (and *gasp* skateboard), more homeless claim seating and set up shop
4:00 to 9pm: Everyone at once. A good amount of downtown workers going to their cars, downtowners walking home and other office workers going out to dinner or an event on the south end of the mall. The bottom of the barrel come out in droves to beg, do drugs, and other unwanted activities. Lots of local bus people waiting well into the evening for transfers and such.
9pm on: The shelters close and most of the bums go there or at least off Nicollet. Offices and skyways close. The only ones left on the mall are those who live or hotel downtown and a few lonely people waiting for bus transfers. Pretty quiet actually, maybe the best time to use a laptop outside if you live downtown.

EOst
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby EOst » June 9th, 2015, 12:55 pm

Aside from smelling some faint weed smoke, I've never seen anyone doing drugs on the Mall. Certainly not "in droves."

beige_box
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby beige_box » June 9th, 2015, 12:58 pm

David Greene wrote:Ok, I'm probably one of the first people on here to shout, "racism," but you're over the top, beige_box.

I think kyl probably reflects what a lot of people think, particularly those in the suburbs. So let's unpack that.

White people aren't comfortable around people of color. Why is that? Behavior? Why?

White people won't visit the Mall because people of color. I'm not sure that's true for most but it is certainly true for some. What would be compelling enough in the Mall to draw those people? Because the only way to overcome bigotry is to obliterate ignorance and the only way to do that is through experience and relationships. Holidazzle drew a lot of people of all colors to the Mall so we know it can be done.

Is the homeless population keeping people away? Again, I am skeptical. Other cities have much more visible homelessness. A lot of the panhandlers I see are in fact young white people.

Are buses really the problem? I'm skeptical but what is it about buses that turns people off? Noise? Pollution? Does a streetcar help, with or without buses remaining on the Mall?

I completely agree with kyl and Wedgeguy and others that retail and restaurants is what will make or break the Mall. Other than keeping this message alive in the public conversation, what can we do?
What am I supposed to say, David Greene? Kyl's measure for the success or failure for Nicollet Mall is whether or not it can bring in White people and get rid of (or at least render invisible) non-White people. That's racism! I can't believe we're even having this conversation, as if there's somehow a "both sides have some OK points" compromise to be found. Personally I think it's a pretty safe metric to say that the type of White person who doesn't visit Nicollet Mall (or any other place, for that matter) because they are off-put by visible people of color being around, is someone I am very happy to not having spending money in my city. Blaine can have them.

Kyl pointed out that the mostly White people who live in the various new luxury apartment towers are also these types of problem White people. And this is exactly why a lot of city residents (dare I say most) hate seeing these sorts of luxury developments: they import really vile people into the city who otherwise would probably have stayed in the 'burbs and kept their racist sensibilities away. I don't care how much wealth they bring -- I don't want racist investment hurting the social dynamic of the city.

There should be no conversation about the Nicollet Mall redesign, or anything really, until after we've completely rejected racism and expelled it from being a somehow reasonable perspective to bring up.

Minneapolitan

Re: Downtown Minneapolis Retail News

Postby Minneapolitan » December 12th, 2015, 12:33 pm

They better bring their A game with this Nicollet Mall renovation. That area is in an attraction limbo. Its supposed to be the nicollet mall but honestly why tf would you go there? Like the shopping is horrible. If target and marshalls are competing with macys (which is invisible from street level) then something is horribly off balance.

They want to renovate but they need to reinvent. It has to be an attraction. If it draws tourists then we are on the right path.

All i know is come superbowl. It needs to be fully functional as a major shopping/dining destination [that the MOA doesnt compare]


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