Penn and American - Bloomington

Twin Cities Suburbs
Tcmetro
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Penn and American - Bloomington

Postby Tcmetro » July 20th, 2012, 11:38 am

Housing and Retail development under construction in Bloomington. 234 luxury apartments and 14,000 sq. ft. of restaurant and retail space as part of Phase 1. There is a 4-story townhome building, a 4-story apartment with ground floor retail, and an 8-story "tower". Phase 2 is under planning and could offer office, hotel, retail, and/or apartments.

City of Bloomington webpage: http://www.ci.bloomington.mn.us/cityhal ... nnamer.htm

Construction pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/1114273741 ... directlink

Genesee Apartments webpage: http://www.geneseeapts.com/

Penn and American webpage: http://www.pennandamerican.com/

Site plan: http://www.pennandamerican.com/Penn&Ame ... tePlan.pdf

twincitizen
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Re: Penn and American

Postby twincitizen » July 21st, 2012, 12:54 pm

So is that 8-story building all wood-frame construction?

I was looking through the pictures of it going up, and it seems only the first floor and elevator columns were made of concrete. I don't know much about building materials, etc. I thought there was a 6-story limit for "stick" construction, as you guys call it.

The suburbs are seemingly much more friendly to taller apartment buildings. There's a 10-story one going in St. Louis Park "36-Park" right now. I wonder if we'll ever see anything above 6-stories in the Uptown area. Hopefully one of the Bennett Lumber buildings can break down that barrier before we run out of developable land in Uptown.

min-chi-cbus
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Re: Penn and American

Postby min-chi-cbus » July 21st, 2012, 7:06 pm

twincitizen wrote:So is that 8-story building all wood-frame construction?

I was looking through the pictures of it going up, and it seems only the first floor and elevator columns were made of concrete. I don't know much about building materials, etc. I thought there was a 6-story limit for "stick" construction, as you guys call it.

The suburbs are seemingly much more friendly to taller apartment buildings. There's a 10-story one going in St. Louis Park "36-Park" right now. I wonder if we'll ever see anything above 6-stories in the Uptown area. Hopefully one of the Bennett Lumber buildings can break down that barrier before we run out of developable land in Uptown.
There is no danger of running out of developable land in Uptown -- there's always those highly underutilized blocks with things like Cheapo Records or Arby's on them that could be redeveloped. That may be part of the reason why you haven't seen much demand for towers in Uptown. Once those massive blocks get infilled with 4-6 floor mid-rises you'll see more proposals for taller structures (not that the neighborhood will go for it though!). That being said, any space that is anything close to the lake AND cheap to obtain could be the next possibility for something taller than 6-8 floors. I'm thinking one of the half blocks that are between Hennepin and the Lake between Lake St and Lagoon.

Lancestar2

Re: Penn and American

Postby Lancestar2 » July 22nd, 2012, 12:06 pm

http://www.pennandamerican.com/Penn&Ame ... tePlan.pdf

I think the design has to much parking. The street parking looks nice but Sonic & Wendy's really don't need additional parking nor does the strip mall across the street! Seems like a waste of space although for a suburb design rather nice they have a decent amount of sidewalks although they forgot to connect building B's west side to the sidewalk on American BLVD. (by removing 1 parking space adding curb free crossing) Oh and the Bus Shelter looks small and lacking space I think it would have looked a bit better if they planned for a bit of space like a mini plaza would have looked better in there online pictures when they try to promote the apartments and townhouses as being on the bus line. Nothing screams nice, safe and enjoyable than a nice looking bus stop!

Once they finish the project I will have to park at Savers and walk and shop to get the full experience! :D Looks like a great community they are building

lorwest
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Re: Penn and American

Postby lorwest » August 4th, 2012, 11:26 pm

The townhomes building (south) and plaza building (north) are both open to residents. The official website indicates that the tower building should be open in September.

danie123182
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Re: Penn and American

Postby danie123182 » August 5th, 2012, 6:50 pm

Lancestar2 wrote:http://www.pennandamerican.com/Penn&Ame ... tePlan.pdf

I think the design has to much parking. The street parking looks nice but Sonic & Wendy's really don't need additional parking nor does the strip mall across the street! Seems like a waste of space although for a suburb design rather nice they have a decent amount of sidewalks although they forgot to connect building B's west side to the sidewalk on American BLVD. (by removing 1 parking space adding curb free crossing) Oh and the Bus Shelter looks small and lacking space I think it would have looked a bit better if they planned for a bit of space like a mini plaza would have looked better in there online pictures when they try to promote the apartments and townhouses as being on the bus line. Nothing screams nice, safe and enjoyable than a nice looking bus stop!

Once they finish the project I will have to park at Savers and walk and shop to get the full experience! :D Looks like a great community they are building

I don't believe it has too much parking. It's in a suburb. Like it or not but anything outside of the 494 ring is going to need a considerable amount of parking. I would expect nothing less.

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Re: Penn and American

Postby mulad » August 5th, 2012, 10:16 pm

Be careful with that thought -- just because a development is in a suburb doesn't mean that "suburban-style" development is appropriate. That's a phrase we should probably ban, actually. Minneapolis and Saint Paul themselves are suburban in style compared to many cities out on the East Coast, for instance.

In my opinion, most suburbs should be aiming for Minneapolis-level densities, and the core cities should be aiming for densities of cities along the coast or in Europe. At least in nodes here and there.

This complex does appear to have less parking per square foot of office/retail space compared to its neighbors, which is good. I can agree that reduced parking needs to be phased in a bit. The level of parking is high for my taste, but the layout should allow new buildings to go up along the edges of the blocks at some point down the line. It's also easier to divide those blocks into even smaller pieces over time, which helps make for a better pedestrian experience while also adding retail frontage.

That's certainly not impossible on the neighboring blocks, but pushing buildings to the edge of the lots helps free up room.

min-chi-cbus
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Re: Penn and American

Postby min-chi-cbus » August 6th, 2012, 8:52 am

You can't eliminate parking until you have an established mass transit option available first. I know there's a bus station near there, but I'm not sure it's going to be used by a large enough % of patrons to merit eliminating parking spaces. That should be everyone's goal though, ultimately.

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woofner
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Re: Penn and American

Postby woofner » August 7th, 2012, 11:26 am

I actually caught a bus from across the street on American Blvd last Friday. The bus stops there are placed in the little triangle formed at intersections by the right turn slip lanes - so you stand on a little barren concrete island literally five feet from hundreds of speeding cars. While there is a bus station in the Southtown, the 535 does not stop there even though it would be a minimal detour (same goes for moving the bus station down to American Blvd).

This is to illustrate some of the structural issues involved in creating the walkable environment that leads to smaller parking lots. So far Bloomington is attempting urbanism by exception - developing urban plans for a handful of districts such as Penn-American, but relying on the familiar suburban developer-initiated model to implement them. They have created a zoning district that would mandate urban development, but it is only applied to a few parcels near the MOA. Most of the land covered by the Penn-American plan (not quite done but visioned to be urban) is zoned for the strip malls and fast food joints that exist there. Hopefully once the plan is finished that will be updated to the mixed-use zoning district.

The transportation infrastructure is also a component. I have a hard time understanding why they opted for the fake brick stamped concrete along American Blvd when there is mostly enough room for boulevard trees. Adding more active uses to the streetscape would also make it less of a speedway - that's why I'd say the Southtown buses should be moved to American Blvd rather than vice versa. Eventually maybe some parallel parking bays could be added.

It is possible to retrofit suburban areas like this for sustainable urbanism, but it likely won't happen if we wait for developers and property owners to initiate it. There needs to be carrot and stick. Don't ghettoize the urbanism into this one intersection - apply it to the whole 7 mile strip.
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mattaudio
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Re: Penn and American

Postby mattaudio » August 7th, 2012, 12:44 pm

I know it seems like a broken record, but I think a multi-way boulevard setup would be ideal for many of these Bloomington 6-lane stroads along the strip and especially by MOA and Southtown. Of course the time to build this would have been when they invested in upgrading so many of these roads from 1960s-era undivided 4 lane to divided 6 lanes during the past 20 years.

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Re: Penn and American

Postby mattaudio » August 7th, 2012, 12:48 pm

So, Southtown... did the Herbergers/Toys R Us used to be a Sears before MOA? The big pier of what looks to be former auto bays seems to give it away. Also the high voltage lines actually go over the strip mall portion between Bed Bath and Beyond and Herbergers. Can anyone think of another example where high voltage transmission lines actually go over a building?

nordeast homer
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Re: Penn and American

Postby nordeast homer » August 7th, 2012, 1:36 pm

Yes, that used to be a Sears. They closed it up about the time that Sears was caught cheating customers out of tons of money for unnecessary repairs. Their business dropped to nothing and they pulled out. It took quite a while to fill that space. I'm still surprised that they haven't taken the automotive bays out, unless they use them for on-site equipment for the mall.

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woofner
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Re: Penn and American

Postby woofner » August 7th, 2012, 2:06 pm

It was a Montgomery Wards when I was a kid. Also, the big box section didn't used to be attached to the strip mall section, I believe. Not sure exactly where the gap was, but maybe where those power lines are.

BTW, I agree that a multi-way boulevard would be appropriate for this part of American Blvd - maybe someone should submit that as a comment on the Penn-American plan.
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woofner
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Re: Penn and American

Postby woofner » August 7th, 2012, 3:58 pm

I knew I'd been reminiscing about this mall not too long ago, triggered as usual by Nokohaha:

http://nokohaha.com/2012/05/07/southtown-then-and-now/

This mall has gone through a bit of a resurgence since its nadir in the 90s - not sure if that is thanks to Best Buy or what.
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Wedgeguy
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Re: Penn and American

Postby Wedgeguy » August 8th, 2012, 6:03 am

redisciple wrote:It was a Montgomery Wards when I was a kid. Also, the big box section didn't used to be attached to the strip mall section, I believe. Not sure exactly where the gap was, but maybe where those power lines are.

BTW, I agree that a multi-way boulevard would be appropriate for this part of American Blvd - maybe someone should submit that as a comment on the Penn-American plan.
It was originally a ward,s store, I don't remember it ever being a Sears, but when Wards went out of business, Sear may have moved in there. When they added their MOA store they probably decided the Southtown would be hurt when they opened it. This gave Herbergers a chance to get their foot into the market and from there they have added stores over the metro.

nordeast homer
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Re: Penn and American

Postby nordeast homer » August 8th, 2012, 2:09 pm

That's right, I must have gotten my stores mixed up. The two stores always seemed to be the same type of store with the exception of the Craftsman tools in Sears.
I still miss the Southtown Theater over there. The screens were huge! The seating was a little lumpy toward the end, but still a great theater.

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Neptune
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Re: Penn and American

Postby Neptune » August 29th, 2012, 10:40 pm


John21
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Re: Penn and American

Postby John21 » August 31st, 2012, 10:06 am


twincitizen
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Re: Penn and American - Bloomington

Postby twincitizen » July 16th, 2013, 7:46 am

Phase 2 heating up: http://finance-commerce.com/2013/07/cou ... -district/

I may have noted earlier in the thread that I thought the retail spaces here had kinda poor visibility from the busy roads, but they seem to be leasing up quickly. Phase 2 would actually have a presence at the corner of Penn & American and along American Boulevard.

The most exciting piece of that article is that Southtown itself may be redeveloped. Apparently it is owned by Kraus-Anderson.

mattaudio
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Re: Penn and American - Bloomington

Postby mattaudio » July 16th, 2013, 8:06 am

I can't imagine an orange line station that's offline as mentioned in here. Wouldn't it be quite the stroadwalk from 35W/American Blvd to Penn/American Blvd? Hopefully that corridor can be tamed. Maybe if Southtown was redeveloped, this stretch of American Blvd could become American Multiway Boulevard with businesses and mixed use fronting the right of way.


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