Motiv Apartments - 2320 Colfax Avenue S

Calhoun-Isles, Cedar-Riverside, Longfellow, Nokomis, Phillips, Powderhorn, and Southwest
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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby twincitizen » October 11th, 2012, 11:39 am

min-chi-cbus wrote:I know this is generalizing but I figured the area north of Lake Street was pretty much fair game for urban redevelopments like the one being proposed.


I would tend to agree. I think the entire swath of south Minneapolis, between Lake Street and downtown should be rezoned to allow roughly Greenleaf-esque developments (4-story at Lyndale & 28th) so that each project doesn't have to apply for variances and jump through extra hoops. This area of the city has the very best in transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure and it is truly possible to live here without a car.

People talk about new developments being "out of scale with the neighborhood" but what if single-family homes are out of scale of what the neighborhood could or should be in the future? I'm not saying every SFH within a mile of downtown should be razed, but it would be ok to mix in more developments like this without "ruining the character", etc.

I agree that the abundance of parking lots should be targeted first before tearing existing buildings down, but I'm not a developer so that's not my call.

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby John » October 11th, 2012, 12:14 pm

Nick wrote:Can/should we be zoning for charm?
I guess I would be wary about zoning codes for "charm". But the zoning for this parcel should have been changed a long time ago when the neighborhood voiced their concerns. This part of The Wedge has many older historically significant residential buildings, and new structures should have respect and deference for that architectural character. This project is clearly out of bounds with the community's values and vision for their neighborhood. This project should be nixed ASAP.

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby seanrichardryan » October 11th, 2012, 12:21 pm

Perhaps we shouldn't be looking to the historic homes for redevelopment but instead, the ugly mansard roofed 2.5 story walk-ups that are past their life expectancy.
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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby MNdible » October 11th, 2012, 12:48 pm

Take what I say with a grain of salt, because I got yelled at for suggesting that the seven-story Vue project was incompatible with and would be damaging to its immediate (and historically significant) neighbors.

But, that said, the northern of these two houses appears to be an easy throw-away. It appears to have very little original worth preserving (even its roofline appears to be non-original – weird). The one on the corner looks to be more significant, but still nothing I’d lie down in front of a bulldozer for.

There are some wonderful, intact, and lovingly cared for blocks in the Wedge, and I’d take to the barricades to protect those blocks. This isn’t one of them. If there are locations to add density in the Wedge north of 28th and not on Hennepin or Lyndale, this has got to be one of them.

5 stories might be too much – 4 would probably be better in a perfect world.

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby John » October 11th, 2012, 1:23 pm

seanrichardryan wrote:Perhaps we shouldn't be looking to the historic homes for redevelopment but instead, the ugly mansard roofed 2.5 story walk-ups that are past their life expectancy.
I suppose the Colfax proposal (scaled down) might be more amenable if it replaced some of those 2.5 story walk-ups you are referring to. But I think single family or duplex homes would be better as replacements. Infill homes built in the very desirable Wedge neighborhood would be extremely popular with homebuyers. As was said earlier by Fotoapparatic, there are plenty of vacant parcels left in Uptown for these apartment projects to happen. This is really another example of this current apartment building boom negatively encroaching on an existing well established neighbohood ( i.e. like the Lake and James proposal earlier this year).

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby PhilmerPhil » October 11th, 2012, 1:36 pm

John, what are your thoughts on the scale of this proposed development?

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby John » October 11th, 2012, 2:26 pm

PhilmerPhil wrote:John, what are your thoughts on the scale of this proposed development?
Not good! But I'm glad you chose me to ask that question too. It really encourages me to speak out even more! Thanks ;)
Last edited by John on October 11th, 2012, 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby MNdible » October 11th, 2012, 2:29 pm

PhilmerPhil wrote:John, what are your thoughts on the scale of this proposed development?
What's the old saying about the pot and the kettle?

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby John » October 11th, 2012, 2:41 pm

MNdible wrote:
PhilmerPhil wrote:John, what are your thoughts on the scale of this proposed development?
What's the old saying about the pot and the kettle?
And don't forget the more contemporary saying: "mean people suck"

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby PhilmerPhil » October 11th, 2012, 2:56 pm

Hey John, I actually agree with 90% of your posts and think they are well written. Sometimes your posts can become a little bit on the repetitive side though. No disrespect intended. Occasional snark is a key ingredient to vibrant internet forums.

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby woofner » October 11th, 2012, 4:34 pm

Anyone care to explain why the 4.5 story buildings 200 yards away from this site are appropriate but a 5 story building would not be? I would guess that the house next to this site is 35-40 feet, so if the fifth story was stepped back the building would appear only slightly taller. There are about a dozen apartment buildings within a block of this site, so to say that a detached home would be the only acceptable form is simply ludicrous. And that particular battle was lost at least a hundred years ago, as the apartment buildings across the alley from this site date to 1910.

I can't believe we're still having this debate in Minneapolis, let alone in Uptown. Blah blah blah most progressive green city in America where everyone lives in 100 year old houses and the transit system accesses only a quarter of the jobs blarg blarg.
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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby mnmike » October 11th, 2012, 9:31 pm

Who said detached homes would be the only thing appropriate for this site? I don't think anyone did...I think the consensus was leaning more towards town houses.

But yeah, you are right...build anything anywhere. That is the only way we will be a real city, is if a developer can but a 5 story box anywhere without opposition.

You are missing the point that I think a lot of people have made here.

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby woofner » October 12th, 2012, 8:19 am

mnmike wrote:I'd be against that one. It knocks down a few decent solid 100 year old houses...and that block already has 1960s crap apartments on the other side of the street.
I guess I interpreted this and a few other similar statements as being in favor of keeping the existing houses. Pretty sure someone even said that "single family home is a better form for this street" or something to that effect. If you changed your mind to think that rowhouses or townhouses are better, that's fine, but what exactly makes them more appropriate here than apartments? If you're saying that the existing houses should be restored, I have some sympathy for that, but the owner of the property doesn't seem to think that's financially feasible and I'm not sure these houses are really worth fighting for, historically or architecturally.

It's kind of ironic that you disputed my characterization of your position, and then you completely mischaracterized my position. I do not think "anything" should be able to be built "anywhere," I think it's appropriate to build a five-story apartment building on a 55' right-of-way in a neighborhood where apartments are ubiquitous. The low-rise apartment building is a conservative form found in cities all over the world and I don't think it's radical to propose that they be accepted in a city of 2.5m, especially one with as wide of streets as here.
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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby go4guy » October 12th, 2012, 9:14 am

One thing I do wish MPLS had more of, are old brownstones near the core, such as this area. I think they bring so much character to the area. One of the things I love about places like Chicago, and most east coast cities.

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby Nathan » October 12th, 2012, 9:31 am

I'd rather it become an urban neighborhood first (i.e. have no surface lots and blighted spaces) before we take down our reasonably nice residential areas. We have plenty of places to be like major urban cities in DTE and Northloop before we have to jeopardize neighborhoods that are lauded for being peaceful and beautiful areas.

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby Tcmetro » October 12th, 2012, 9:36 am

A lot were demolished for construction of the freeway, the convention center, as well as downtown core expansion and urban renewal. Where I-94 is now, the neighborhoods once meshed into downtown. Of course there were a lot of apartment buildings too, but a few remnants of brownstones can be seen on 9th St.

When you look at Chicago you can see a lot of brownstones on the north side where no freeways were built, but the disconnect is obvious on the west and south sides where freeways, urban renewal, and public housing construction took place. One of the most stark examples of this is a ride on the Green Line to the south side of the city.

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby Chef » October 12th, 2012, 9:39 am

If a proposal like this is controversial even on a generally pro development website like this one then it doesn't have a chance in hell with the general public. I would bet a million imaginary dollars that they don't get their variances. I live in the neighborhood and I think this would be a bad idea. Five stories is fine for the arterial streets but I think it is too big for a block that is mostly houses and small apartment buildings, three stories would be ok.

Zoning is, among other things, a tool to push development where the community wants it. In this case I think Minneapolis needs to focus on densifying the arterial streets first. Once that is done we can think about the interiors of the the neighborhoods. It is important to remember that demand is finite, eventually the apartment market will return to equalibrium, it would be a shame to waste the the current demand on an area that already has good fabric.

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby mnmike » October 12th, 2012, 9:47 am

redisciple wrote:
mnmike wrote:I'd be against that one. It knocks down a few decent solid 100 year old houses...and that block already has 1960s crap apartments on the other side of the street.
I guess I interpreted this and a few other similar statements as being in favor of keeping the existing houses. Pretty sure someone even said that "single family home is a better form for this street" or something to that effect. If you changed your mind to think that rowhouses or townhouses are better, that's fine, but what exactly makes them more appropriate here than apartments? If you're saying that the existing houses should be restored, I have some sympathy for that, but the owner of the property doesn't seem to think that's financially feasible and I'm not sure these houses are really worth fighting for, historically or architecturally.

It's kind of ironic that you disputed my characterization of your position, and then you completely mischaracterized my position. I do not think "anything" should be able to be built "anywhere," I think it's appropriate to build a five-story apartment building on a 55' right-of-way in a neighborhood where apartments are ubiquitous. The low-rise apartment building is a conservative form found in cities all over the world and I don't think it's radical to propose that they be accepted in a city of 2.5m, especially one with as wide of streets as here.

Read my second post, a couple down from that one:

"Ok, I typed a reply, but it didn't go through. Weird. The houses there are nothing special really, but suit the street much better than a 5 story apartment block IMO. This is a quite side street...rowhouses would be okay(chicago type infill that we never seem to see). I am far from a nimby, but I just don't think this is the place for a new 1/2 block apartment building. Sorry, just because someone wants to build a new 5 story apartment building, it doesn't mean they should be able to do it on just any street in the city! I am sure if it is real nice, I will be okay with it, but I still say this is a weird place for it. I'd rather see the new huge 5 story buildings stick to the main arteries."


My stance is pretty much completely in agreement with Chef's last post. Sorry if I wasn't clear. I am fine with the houses going away for something appropriate, which in my opinion is something more row-housey. A few stories is fine. Even in Chicago, you don't really find them building 5 story boxes on the quiet residential side streets of the north side(which is what I would say this area compares to most, roughly), why do we need to?

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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby woofner » October 12th, 2012, 9:56 am

Chef wrote: I think Minneapolis needs to focus on densifying the arterial streets first. Once that is done we can think about the interiors of the the neighborhoods.
I think that would be a good compromise, but if that were that bargain we were going for there would need to actually be a focus on densifying the arterial streets first. As it stands the vast majority of arterial streets do not allow dense development as of right, and those that do tend to face battles over it anyway. Since this compromise does not exist, it seems reasonable to allow dense development to be built on a bus line on a block that already has several apartment buildings on it.
Chef wrote:it would be a shame to waste the the current demand on an area that already has good fabric.
Nearly half this block is apartment buildings already. There is a 4.5 story building 200 yards away. Why doesn't a 5-story apartment building fit in this fabric?

@MnMike, why would a rowhouse be appropriate - is it just height or something else?
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Re: 2316-2320 Colfax Apartments

Postby Nathan » October 12th, 2012, 10:35 am

redisciple wrote:Nearly half this block is apartment buildings already. There is a 4.5 story building 200 yards away. Why doesn't a 5-story apartment building fit in this fabric?
Because there is nothing in this area over 3.5 stories that is more than a block from Hen, Lyn, Franklin.

I totally get what you are saying about this being prime for real estate, but fact of the matter is Uptown (the wedge) is heavily disconnected from DT with the 94/Hen/Lyn interchange, and we should focus our high density res where it's a much easier connection to DT, or to the core of uptown. The reason for keeping things nice and in scale to maintain the charm of a neighborhood is the inverse of the reason it sucks to be walking downtown, block after block of nice office buildings and then come up to an interstate or a bunch of surface parking lots, or krauss anderson and wells fargo taking up their whole own block. It's just makes it feel like a cohesive area.


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