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Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 18th, 2015, 4:53 pm
by Didier
I had a few extra minutes today and got a good look around this area. A few notes and observations:

• It's really incredible how much activity is going on here, and more should start up soon, right? A few smaller projects on the Mill City side, then the Stanton condos a bit south of here.

• The base level of the parking ramp is starting to take shape. Meh.

• The Wells Fargo buildings will look really cool on the northern end of the Commons, and the park should have a dramatic effect looking in on the stadium. However, with so many big parking ramps in the area, it's going to be really important to get more small-scale buildings here that can better activate the street. One of the issues is that the blocks just west of the Commons have huge parking lots that kind of cut off activity.

• The Radisson Red space on the north side of the Wells Fargo buildings is quite a bit bigger than I thought. It'll be interesting to see what else goes in there.

• I wish there was a better solution for the west end of the Commons than the apartment complex. For example, putting the apartment on the jail block instead. I think a permanent amphitheater on the west end of the Commons would be a good fit and also help block the view of the jail.

• Ironically, I saw an ambulance with its light drive up Portland (but I am still in favor of closing it).

• The stadium is huge. You can really get the sense now of how big it will be.

• I'm not in the group that thinks the parking ramp air rights building needs to be a supertall, but it should be a pretty visible building. I think something glass and with a little eccentricity would be nice here.

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 20th, 2015, 3:40 pm
by lordmoke
Nice Lileks piece on the Star Tribune Building:
http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/297050891.html

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 21st, 2015, 6:26 pm
by twincitizen
Why I think closing Park Ave is stupid:
Image
IMAG1321 by twincitizen, on Flickr

Let's for sure close Portland Ave though. Permanently.

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 21st, 2015, 7:04 pm
by nBode
I think I agree with twincitizen here. Although I really think Park ought to be narrowed to two 9'-10' thru-lanes and one bike lane and one parking lane—tops. Also pavement variation would be really good. Any way, I am mostly confident that Hargreaves can come up will a pleasant design here.

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 21st, 2015, 10:27 pm
by Aville_37
I honestly forget about this underground parking. I wonder how many other people do as well.

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 22nd, 2015, 10:04 am
by PhilmerPhil
This seriously needs to happen: https://streets.mn/2015/02/27/free-idea- ... plays-out/

I've already planted the seed and started the conversation by emailing Jacob Frey, Peter McLaughlin, and Marion Greene and talking about it with Lacy Shelby (Minneapolis' Principal Urban Designer) and Mackenzie Turner (Pedestrian Planner at the city). I encourage everyone else to get staff and elected officials engaged in this as well!

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 23rd, 2015, 10:21 am
by tab
Obviously the underground parking isn't going away, but could the entrance/exit be re-oriented to face 4th Street at a reasonable cost? This shift would improve the view facing the stadium, and make it easier to close Park, if only on special occasions when the crowds are huge and having the larger contiguous space for crowds is helpful.

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 23rd, 2015, 11:26 am
by Wedgeguy
You answer your question when you said reasonable cost. You would be talking about reengineering a very sturdy building which has an established traffic flow.

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 23rd, 2015, 12:41 pm
by twincitizen
Back when the City sold this underground ramp to Alatus in 2007, they were required to develop something on top of it, as that was always the plan (and reason for its surface ugliness).

Since MSFA bought the ramp, they have been released from the development obligation:
The new agreement will reaffirm the original development commitment for the ramp site with a
modified construction timeframe. Minneapolis Venture will agree to develop one or more
housing, commercial, service, retail and/or hotel projects on the Downtown East Ramp site
having a total development cost of at least $13 million and obtain LEED Certification for the
project from the US Green Building Council.
Minneapolis Venture will be obligated to provide construction plans for the proposed
development to the City no later than January 31, 2019, and complete the development no later
than June 30, 2020.
To secure performance of the Development Commitment, Minneapolis Venture will provide a
letter of credit to the City in the amount of $826,227 or a development guaranty of Lux and Jaffe
for the same amount.
If the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (“Sports Authority”) acquires all or any portion of the
Downtown East Ramp, whether by the power of eminent domain or otherwise, Minneapolis
Venture will be released from its development obligation, and neither the Sports Authority nor
Minneapolis Venture will have any further development obligations for the site.
So while MSFA isn't required to build anything on top of that ramp, might they eventually do so? I'm guessing they will take steps to "cap" it in the short term and at least provide some kind of plaza. I just can't see it remaining in its present condition very long. Now that I've indulged and caused this whole sidetrack, I'll simply point out that the MSFA block is not technically part of "The Commons" park. It is separately owned and until they make a major investment in covering up what's there now, it will remain wholly separate from the park.

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 23rd, 2015, 1:18 pm
by mattaudio
Above-the-ramp seems like a natural spot for any sort of built structure in the Yard, if only it wasn't separated from the rest of the park by Park Ave. Most neighborhood parks have rec centers. I realize this is a completely different beast, but it seems like the analogy would hold true for a big downtown park - a building to have community events in the winter, restrooms, kitchen for an outdoor restaurant, etc.

Also, I don't think it would be as expensive as others think to orient ramp access/egress to 4th St. It would require excavation in the public right of way (Park Ave) but it would basically just elbow out of the existing structure and up the Park ROW to 4th St. The only existing work that would need to get altered is the ramp up to grade, which could get slightly lowered as to not intrude in the park and the viewshed.

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 24th, 2015, 7:50 am
by Archiapolis
mattaudio wrote:Above-the-ramp seems like a natural spot for any sort of built structure in the Yard, if only it wasn't separated from the rest of the park by Park Ave. Most neighborhood parks have rec centers. I realize this is a completely different beast, but it seems like the analogy would hold true for a big downtown park - a building to have community events in the winter, restrooms, kitchen for an outdoor restaurant, etc.

Also, I don't think it would be as expensive as others think to orient ramp access/egress to 4th St. It would require excavation in the public right of way (Park Ave) but it would basically just elbow out of the existing structure and up the Park ROW to 4th St. The only existing work that would need to get altered is the ramp up to grade, which could get slightly lowered as to not intrude in the park and the viewshed.
I really like this idea.

But, I have to say that redesigning/constructing ramps can be tricky/expensive. If it is precast plank floor, it is easier to rebuild but if it is post-tension concrete it is more difficult.

I also have to confess that I worked on a project for this building that was similar to what you describe EXCEPT it's uses were designed/intended for the Vikings/stadium not the general public. The project was described as a "Wintergarden" that would contain the rail station, circulation to the rail station, the *gulp* art wall and be a tempered (not heated) enclosed space in addition to a commercial office building. This was before Ryan got control of this area and built the Wells Fargo towers, and before the existence of "The Commons."

I also know that the structure is built for *something* on top but it is constructed to be amenable for office/commercial NOT housing for whatever that is worth.

I think the kind of concept that you are describing is a good one and worth fighting for rather than just MORE Vikings/stadium geared functionality. It seems like a building could be designed for "Commons" programming and still be useful for the stadium when appropriate. We (as a city) can't keep ceding everything in this area to the Vikings...

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 31st, 2015, 8:41 am
by seanrichardryan

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 31st, 2015, 3:30 pm
by bapster2006
For those who haven't seen the lobby of the StarTribune before it's demolition, I snapped a photo today.

ImageStarTribune lobby 3-31-15 by bapster2006, on Flickr

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 31st, 2015, 4:31 pm
by seanrichardryan
I miss the globe.

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: March 31st, 2015, 8:57 pm
by web
cue the wrecking ball.......preferably without miley

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: April 1st, 2015, 7:42 am
by twincitizen
http://finance-commerce.com/2015/03/min ... t-commons/

RFP for "Owner's Representative Services", whatever that means.

The last page of the RFP is a project schedule. I also pulled this paragraph from that document:
The Commons is expected be built in two phases. The following definitions are relevant to
understanding the Commons design and construction schedule:
• Basic Park – The Basic Park is what Ryan Companies is contractually obligated to provide by
July 1, 2016 when it transfers the ownership of the Commons land over to the City of
Minneapolis. It includes the demolition of the office building on the easterly block of the
Commons, site preparation and grading, provision of plantable soil, seeding, irrigation, and basic
utility work.
• Interim Commons – The Interim Commons is the Basic Park plus additional enhancements. The
Interim Commons would be constructed on the same schedule as the Basic Park, its features
being inclusive of and additive to the Basic Park, and achieving the interim Commons condition
without adding an additional construction cycle. It is the objective of the City that these
enhancements be completed at the same time as the Basic Park, in July 2016.
• Ultimate Commons – The Ultimate Commons will include enhancements above and beyond
those incorporated into the Interim Commons that will lead to the complete realization of the
vision for the Commons, including the features, facilities, materials, and systems that will
support all programs, functions, and uses. The early stages of the design process, i.e. through
schematic design, for the Interim and Ultimate Commons will occur at the same time. The final
budget and the timing of completion of the design and construction of the Ultimate Commons
will depend on a successful fundraising effort. The City’s goal is to complete construction of the
Ultimate Commons in time for the 2018 Superbowl, which will be played at the new MultiPurpose
Stadium.

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: April 1st, 2015, 6:03 pm
by grant1simons2
New land deal would boost public access to the commons

http://m.startribune.com/local/minneapo ... 87551.html

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: April 3rd, 2015, 1:32 pm
by MNdible
Grant, I'm getting a 404 with this link, and searching the Strib site turns up nothing for me.

Do you recollect what this was about?

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: April 3rd, 2015, 1:36 pm
by Tyler

Re: The Commons - Downtown East Park

Posted: April 3rd, 2015, 1:51 pm
by acs
Hopefully that doesn't preserve that parking lot in stone just for the sake of tailgating.