Minneapolis Armory

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
MobJob
Block E
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby MobJob » October 21st, 2016, 3:28 pm

It really didn't sound like you were talking about historic, logical traffic/pedestrian movement, but, yah know, thanks!

SkyScraperKid

Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby SkyScraperKid » October 21st, 2016, 8:54 pm

MobJob wrote:It really didn't sound like you were talking about historic, logical traffic/pedestrian movement, but, yah know, thanks!

Really didn't sound like you are thanking him.

reeckman
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby reeckman » October 22nd, 2016, 8:59 am

I don't post here much but feel compelled to stand up for Mobjob's question. I love almost everything Grant posts but this response felt condescending to Mobjob, whose question in my opinion (as a nearby resident) is the critical question to be asking.

There is an almost hysteric rejection of the Armory plan on here, and I too expected that any plan would activate the whole 5th St side, with new glass doors under each of the large windows. If historic or structural reasons prohibit that, which is a big if, the 5th St side is to be disappointing at grade. But adding those new doors on 5th near the garages is a decent compromise for access if that were the case, assuming all those doors could be used during events.

The activation of the corner of 5th St and Portland is fantastic if that becomes something like a restaurant or tap room, with a rooftop overlooking the commons. The garages were added later anyway so modifying those doesn't seem like a problem to me esp when the use could be that nice. If they match the windows to the style of the rest, even better.

The elevator to the rooftop patio on the 6th St side looks silly because there is only one. If there was a second one bookending it on the west side of the patio I don't think there would be any issue with appearance given the right materials.

Next is the experience of being in the Armory. I've attended an event there and it's dank and fortresslike because of how closed off it is at grade. All the windows are up higher than you'd expect (even on 6th St) so it feels like you're in a basement. I would much rather be another floor up so that you could actually see out, and you could also be seen from the street/commons.

The parking capacity seems important for events so I don't understand eliminating half of it pragmatically. I'm already skeptical unfortunately that the Armory will be a competitive enough venue to survive financially on its event revenue, so I'd like to see it survive even if that means it maximizes the parking revenue it can get during the workweek. 5th Street isn't even busy during the evenings when I'm routinely out there walking or jogging, so I disagree that traffic will be an issue if cars exit the Armory onto it after an event. Event goers who choose to drive have to accept waiting in line, and this way people can continue to leave while there's a green light for 5th St.

Aside from a few tweaks and unknowns I think this proposal is mostly heading in the right direction.

Silophant
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby Silophant » October 22nd, 2016, 11:50 am

After thinking about it, my issue is that it's adding vehicle entrances to 5th St. The biggest impediment to the LRT moving efficiently through downtown is the need to allow for vehicle turning movements across the tracks. (For example, the way westbound trains frequently stop at Marquette to allow one car coming out of the CP Plaza garage to turn left) We obviously can't close it entirely and block existing garage entrances, but the slow pace of redevelopment should be decreasing the number of vehicle access points, not increasing it.

grrdanko
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby grrdanko » October 22nd, 2016, 12:23 pm

Why do trains have to stop for cars exiting CP Plaza? You don't cross the tracks from that garage.

intercomnut
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby intercomnut » October 22nd, 2016, 12:57 pm

grrdanko wrote:Why do trains have to stop for cars exiting CP Plaza? You don't cross the tracks from that garage.
I think Silophant meant turn right from 5th St to go north on Marquette.

Silophant
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby Silophant » October 22nd, 2016, 1:07 pm

Yep. Wasn't very clear there, sorry.

VikingFaninMaryland
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby VikingFaninMaryland » October 22nd, 2016, 2:34 pm

grant1simons2 wrote:No, I expected them to use the ground floor like, yah know, historically? Logically? This doesn't even seem smart.
It is important to remember that the Armory was built to be an armory for the local militia - U.S. Army and Naval reserves. Some of the design was to evoke the sense of a ship where the Commander sees sailors in formation from the bridge.

The large open area, that was large enough to hold an NBA court, was designed to serve as the parade ground on which military organizations can "fall-in" - in parade formation (i.e., bringing all units into formation at the battalion or command levels).

The lack of light and the closed off nature of the building at ground level reflects a design consideration that demanded that the building be able to be closed off and secured in true military fashion - there were times when classified activities ran out of that building. As an armory, it also held weapons - making easy ground level access an issue that the design was to take into account. As noted by Reeckman, elevating the main floor so its closer to the light would obviate the closed off nature of the building.

The Armory is simply not going to function as an armory moving forward. The Armory as an armory is now a historic usage that no-one envisions a return to. Since ceasing to be an armory, the main floor has already been repurposed to being a heated parking space. That is not an optimal use for a historic landmark.

While I think there is genuine room for debate, it must be kept in mind that for the Armory to succeed, it has to be fully re-imagined given the new realities of the space around it and how it has been transformed. In this context, it should not be forgotten that this historic landmark - the Armory itself - has been degrading for decades w/o large infusions of capital from any source - that was needed to keep it functional outside that of a heated parking space. So long as the current developers have a legitimate business plan moving the Armory forward (not just design plan but the business model that would make it work) that gives the re-purposed space a legitimate shot at success while retaining the historic identity (which does not always mean keeping it 100% the same), some latitude should be given.

Having said that, I think you (Grant) are right about the idea that the repurposed Armory should - logically - be Commons focused and it strikes me as somewhat strange that the new design proposal doesn't reflect that more. I would have thought they would find a way to be able to open the wall to the Commons for outdoor events tied into the open space and that the Armory's location seems to just scream at - is seems so obvious. But it is also logical, as also noted by Reeckman, that the business model might need the steady revenue stream from parking - and premium pricing for event parking - to make the project viable over the long haul (and during slack months).

It strikes me that while I might not agree with everything the developers put in the proposed plan, that it does seem well thought out in that it accounts for the realities of what the building would have to become to be able to succeed. A greater tie-in to the Commons would be nice.

reeckman
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby reeckman » October 23rd, 2016, 8:36 am

Silophant wrote:After thinking about it, my issue is that it's adding vehicle entrances to 5th St. The biggest impediment to the LRT moving efficiently through downtown is the need to allow for vehicle turning movements across the tracks. (For example, the way westbound trains frequently stop at Marquette to allow one car coming out of the CP Plaza garage to turn left) We obviously can't close it entirely and block existing garage entrances, but the slow pace of redevelopment should be decreasing the number of vehicle access points, not increasing it.
The two 5th St entrances aren't being added, they already coexist with the LRT. Cars exiting can't cross the tracks on 5th St, or even turn onto 5th Ave. You can street view that, and image search to see cars have been parking on this level. Now that 5th St ends at Park Ave, this traffic scenario should be even calmer. It looks like the larger curb cut for the garage on the corner of Portland and 5th will no longer be a vehicle access point--if so this proposal is decreasing them.

The plan shows about 160 parking spaces on this level, 50-60 of which are not usable because you would get double parked in against the wall. So 100ish parking spaces for an event using these two entrances on 5th. I don't see this as an issue.

intercomnut
Rice Park
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby intercomnut » October 23rd, 2016, 9:23 am

reeckman wrote:
Silophant wrote:After thinking about it, my issue is that it's adding vehicle entrances to 5th St. The biggest impediment to the LRT moving efficiently through downtown is the need to allow for vehicle turning movements across the tracks. (For example, the way westbound trains frequently stop at Marquette to allow one car coming out of the CP Plaza garage to turn left) We obviously can't close it entirely and block existing garage entrances, but the slow pace of redevelopment should be decreasing the number of vehicle access points, not increasing it.
The two 5th St entrances aren't being added, they already coexist with the LRT. Cars exiting can't cross the tracks on 5th St, or even turn onto 5th Ave. You can street view that, and image search to see cars have been parking on this level. Now that 5th St ends at Park Ave, this traffic scenario should be even calmer. It looks like the larger curb cut for the garage on the corner of Portland and 5th will no longer be a vehicle access point--if so this proposal is decreasing them.

The plan shows about 160 parking spaces on this level, 50-60 of which are not usable because you would get double parked in against the wall. So 100ish parking spaces for an event using these two entrances on 5th. I don't see this as an issue.
I'm pretty sure you can turn onto 5th Ave now. After they closed the lane on the other side of the tracks, they modified the signal at 5th Ave.

grant1simons2
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby grant1simons2 » October 23rd, 2016, 10:56 am

Which will lead people to cross the tracks illegally after an event is out. Traffic will be scary. At least when it was a parking lot, people left at a steady wave of times and not all at once. Just thought about those emissions sticking around inside. That'll be nice for our earth and people.

reeckman
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby reeckman » October 23rd, 2016, 11:25 am

I walked it again. It is currently illegal for cars exiting the Armory onto 5th St to cross the tracks to turn right on 5th Ave, and that's probably not going to change. Traffic cops can wave people through legal turns out of this ramp like anywhere else when needed, and cars line up in ventilated ramps every day. I don't see a unique bad situation here.

grant1simons2
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby grant1simons2 » October 23rd, 2016, 1:37 pm

Did you also take note of the tire marks of cars that have crossed the tracks? A lot?

Step back a moment and realize what you're boasting. It's okay to keep a base of an amazing historical building as parking? While, it's surrounded by existing parking lots and ramps? How does that make sense?

reeckman
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby reeckman » October 23rd, 2016, 2:57 pm

grant1simons2 wrote:Did you also take note of the tire marks of cars that have crossed the tracks? A lot?

Step back a moment and realize what you're boasting. It's okay to keep a base of an amazing historical building as parking? While, it's surrounded by existing parking lots and ramps? How does that make sense?
Where I started in on this topic was in support of the importance of the question Mobjob raised about activating the 5th St side vs. raising the exhibition floor one level. Is one historically worse to do than the other? Again I wished/expected any proposal would bring all the main windows on 5th St down to street level, because the wall that it is now is disappointing if (big if) that's the way it has to remain historically and/or structurally. If it has to be like that, then I think activating the second level is better than activating none, from both the experience of the inside and outside. I want the Armory to be alive and connected to my neighborhood and to the park, and that the business that goes in to the Armory to be sustainable. The question is how to do that best.

reeckman
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby reeckman » October 24th, 2016, 7:43 am

grant1simons2 wrote:Did you also take note of the tire marks of cars that have crossed the tracks? A lot?
Grant, I see them now--someone has been turning into and out of both of the 5th St entrances from the outside lane and crossing the tracks. So much so that the tires have stained the light rail concrete dark gray. But this could only be from construction vehicles working on the Armory. There is no sign of this heavy staining in 2014's street view or satellite view, so this is a new thing not from average drivers.

amiller92
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby amiller92 » October 24th, 2016, 10:33 am

reeckman wrote:The parking capacity seems important for events
I really don't have strong opinions on these proposals one way or the other, but why? Are these events going to be during the work day? If not, how is there not ample available parking nearby (like in the ramp across the street)?
I'm already skeptical unfortunately that the Armory will be a competitive enough venue to survive financially on its event revenue, so I'd like to see it survive even if that means it maximizes the parking revenue it can get during the workweek.
Ah. I guess that's an argument. Although I've always thought using it as a parking garage was an outrage.

Archiapolis
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby Archiapolis » October 24th, 2016, 11:35 am

grant1simons2 wrote:For one, it helps mitigate traffic on 5th St. Can you imagine the back up this is going to cause? The exits/entrances are historically on Portland and Fifth Ave, because it made sense. Now, keeping an entrance on 5th St makes even LESS sense. To add to this, almost everything we have heard up until now has talked about having an Armory that's active on the Common's side. People who may be at the Common's will have to walk an extra block around to a single entrance point (massive lines) crossing over another entrance/exit. Should I keep going?
NAILED IT!

reeckman
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby reeckman » October 26th, 2016, 2:22 pm

This still doesn’t say anything specific about what an activated solution should actually look like. If the car entrances on 5th St. become pedestrian entrances, events are at grade, is that even enough? Any opinion on windows or doors being cut into the wall along 5th St.?

mattaudio
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby mattaudio » October 26th, 2016, 2:27 pm

I always thought it would be great to activate the two northern corners, and put glass doors on those garage doors. Epic outside patio space, brewery tenant facing the park, etc.

If there was no vehicular access on 5th St, the southern lane of 5th St could be closed to traffic. Then you could have a ped space covering the entire distance from the building wall to the light rail. You could ramp up the sidewalk on each side to the middle of the block, with a big plaza entrance right on the current upper level, and a retaining wall from the sidewalk down to the light rail right at the middle of the block.

grrdanko
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Re: Minneapolis Armory

Postby grrdanko » January 2nd, 2017, 1:59 pm

They are working on the elavator penthouse on the Armory. Does anyone know what's been approved?

I know some people are disappointed with this project, but I'm excited to see this building get some use again. If they have to have parking in the basement to make it financially viable I'm good with that.


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