Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Northeast, Near North, Camden, Old St. Anthony, University and surrounding neighborhoods
twincitizen
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Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby twincitizen » March 20th, 2013, 11:34 am

http://goo.gl/maps/4lBK6

Block bound by Hennepin, 4th St, 1st Av, and University Av NE. The eastern half of the block is entirely US Bank, while the western half is split between popular liquor store Surdyk's and West Photo. The entire block is just a terribly inefficient use of prime land.

Have there ever been any rumors about the potential redevelopment of this block? As the "East Bank" neighborhood develops around it, this block is going to look very out of place. Surdyk's is quite successful and I doubt they'd be willing to give up much parking. Surdyk's building could actually stay in place in many redevelopment scenarios, and they could move the building entrance to the Hennepin Avenue side. In Surdyk's parking lot, you could essentially build a reflection of the newer building across University. Actually that entire block on the west side of University is a decent model of what this block could become: a small parking ramp in the center of the block surrounded by buildings.

The US Bank half of the block is the biggest offender, with its enormous supply of parking and numerous drive through lanes, which go unused after the hours of 6pm on weekdays and 1pm on Saturdays. I think USBank should definitely be a part of the redeveloped block (and finance it too;)). They just need to be in a building that is sensitive to the urban form and limit the impact of the drive-up lane (yep, they should only have one). Obviously they would be hesistant to do that with an equally enormous/suburban Wells Fargo just a block away.

Greystar is now the owner of the Superior Plating site across 1st Ave to the north, and we have a topic for that. I'm not sure what's going on with the entirely vacant block to the east of that site.

Needless to say, the redevelopment of this block and the two blocks across 1st Ave NE could have a huge impact on East Bank (no one calls it that) or "Downtown Northeast" as I find myself calling it. This area would also be the terminus of the "initial segment" of the Nicollet Streetcar (Lake Street to roughly this neighborhood). It will most likely be built as a loop, using Hennepin and 1st Ave NE. As announced today, the city wants to pay for streetcars with TIF and all of these blocks will need to be redeveloped quite intensely if that is to be a fruitful endeavor. Lord knows the neighborhoods on the southern end of that line are not going to embrace dense development the way this area will.

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woofner
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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby woofner » March 20th, 2013, 11:59 am

Does anyone remember if it was the US Bank or the Wells Fargo that was proposed for an affordable housing project around 5-7 years ago? It was shouted down vehemently by the neighborhood group.
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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby seanrichardryan » March 20th, 2013, 12:11 pm

It was the US Bank parcel.
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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby RailBaronYarr » March 20th, 2013, 2:01 pm

Could there ever be more of a cruel way to say 'no' to helping low-income people than by refusing to allow housing for them in your own neighborhood? Heaven forbid... is housing worse than vacant, ugly parking lots?

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby seanrichardryan » March 20th, 2013, 2:10 pm

Q. What, what? A. In da butt.

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby twincitizen » March 20th, 2013, 2:41 pm

I don't know guys, I probably would have sided with the neighborhood. It just doesn't make sense to build a 100% affordable project on a prime block that can probably support above average rents. I'd go so far as to say it doesn't make sense to build new affordable housing at all, with building costs what they are. It makes way more sense to let the private market build new, freeing up older units for middle/lower income renters and have the government partially subsidize rent for folks that need it in existing housing stock. I'm glad the Sherman Proposal didn't go through. Have we not learned our lesson that 100% affordable projects are bad news? That said, I'm not opposed to requiring developers to designate 20% of the units as affordable, when they receive subsidies or tax credits.

With regard to those links, I get really frustrated when I read quotes like the one from the guy who thought the area should be retail/commercial ONLY, because it's a business district. I definitely saw similar quotes with regards to the Opus/House of Hanson site in Dinkytown. Have these people not heard of mixed use? What is their aversion to having people live in a business district, assuming there is retail at the street level?

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby mplser » March 21st, 2013, 12:14 pm

As an urbanist I really hope this underused block gets redeveloped, but as a photographer, I really hope that West Photo can find another location close to downtown if that does happen. It is the last camera/equipment store in town now that National Camera is gone!

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby MNdible » March 21st, 2013, 12:51 pm

I thought everybody just took pictures with their phone now...

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby lordmoke » March 21st, 2013, 12:57 pm

mplser wrote:As an urbanist I really hope this underused block gets redeveloped, but as a photographer, I really hope that West Photo can find another location close to downtown if that does happen. It is the last camera/equipment store in town now that National Camera is gone!
Yeah. West Photo is probably sitting pretty nice financially now because of that too. They own their building as well, so that's a plus. Even though it has a parking lot out front, it's the least offensive structure on the block, given that it's actually more than one story tall.

EDIT: I would probably cry a little if West closed without opening a new location in Minneapolis.

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby mamundsen » March 21st, 2013, 1:19 pm

I just looked... National Camera still has 5 Metro locations. http://www.natcam.com/camera-store-mn.html

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woofner
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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby woofner » March 21st, 2013, 1:43 pm

twincitizen wrote: I'd go so far as to say it doesn't make sense to build new affordable housing at all, with building costs what they are. It makes way more sense to let the private market build new, freeing up older units for middle/lower income renters and have the government partially subsidize rent for folks that need it in existing housing stock.
Except that the impact of new development on the miniscule top end of the market takes years to impact the very bottom of the market, and families are paying more than half their income in rent right now. Besides, the housing that theoretically becomes available to low-income renters under this scenario is the stuff that middle-income renters won't touch, i.e. garbage. On top that, this theory only works if demand isn't growing faster than supply, and I think there's some evidence that it is.
twincitizen wrote:Have we not learned our lesson that 100% affordable projects are bad news?
Ideally projects would be mixed income. Most of the stuff going up today that houses very low-income renters (as it seems the Sherman project would have) is mixed, at least within the affordable milieu (we all had a good laugh about how high the rents are at "affordable" projects like Buzza. But in 2006 it was probably a lot harder to get financing for market-rate apartments, or anyway it would seem that way based on the scarcity of units from that timeframe. So 100% affordable was probably the best he could do. Anyway, there are dozens of 100% affordable projects that work great. Lameroux, Clare, the various Blaisdell Housing buildings... the list goes on. It's more important that the buildings aren't ghettoized, and sharing a block with expensive specialty shops is a reasonable way to do so.

But as long as we're fantasizing, I always wanted to take advantage of the abundance of surface parking on this lot and some adjacent to do a mini-greenway project from Hennepin & University to the 5th St bike blvd as close to 3rd Ave NE as possible. Include a little square (a fifth of an acre or so) at or near the corner of Hennepin & University and use it to draw private developers to do some repeats of the Cobalt. Maybe the public amenities wouldn't be necessary to get the development in, but they would still be nice for the people who end up actually using the space. Anyway we need a mayor who is actually interested in leading large-scale projects, not being led by New Jersey real estate developers on them.
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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby martykoessel » March 21st, 2013, 3:14 pm

mamundsen wrote:I just looked... National Camera still has 5 Metro locations. http://www.natcam.com/camera-store-mn.html
Speaking of National Camera, their former store at Hennepin an 10th would make a sweet restaurant IF the south side could serve as patio dining. However, looking at that setup, it seems that the open space between the building and 10th is needed to maneuver semis to the Orpheum loading docks.

Has anyone else thought this or noticed the problem? If there's anything more solid than just this stray thought, should this go under the Speculations thread?

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby robotlollipop » March 21st, 2013, 7:42 pm

I didn't know it closed. How long ago was that?

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby mplser » March 21st, 2013, 10:18 pm

mamundsen wrote:I just looked... National Camera still has 5 Metro locations. http://www.natcam.com/camera-store-mn.html
not really sure I want to make a trip out to any of those places, but i guess i would have to if west closed... My definition might be different from most, but i don't consider those to be nearby at all

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby mamundsen » March 22nd, 2013, 12:33 am

To downtown Minneapolis? You have a very small "nearby" then, because I would consider bothe the Golden Valley and Roseville to be nearby.

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby FISHMANPET » March 22nd, 2013, 12:46 am

They're close, but the only real way to get to any of them is to drive (well, the Roseville and Edina stores, I haven't been to any others). From what I've seen, National Camera is a pretty impressive local company. Both my mom and I got our DSLRs there.

Now if I would just get off my ass and take it around like Nick does, I could put his poor little iPhone to shame.

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby mplser » March 22nd, 2013, 8:14 am

mamundsen wrote:To downtown Minneapolis? You have a very small "nearby" then, because I would consider bothe the Golden Valley and Roseville to be nearby.
It takes a 50 minute bus ride to get to either of those places, so yes, that is far.

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby mamundsen » March 22nd, 2013, 8:47 am

As you said, people have different definitions of nearby. I live in the North Loop and consider anything inside the 494/694 loop to be "nearby."

From my place to GV National Camera is 7.9 miles, 13 min by car. To the Roseville location is 8.0 miles, 17 min by car. That is nearby to me.

Just goes to show the differences that people have.

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby twincitizen » March 22nd, 2013, 9:02 am

Anything is artificially "nearby" at 60MPH on the freeway. Actually nearby is a different thing entirely.

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Re: Surdyk's/US Bank/West Photo Block

Postby mamundsen » March 22nd, 2013, 9:23 am

twincitizen wrote:Anything is artificially "nearby" at 60MPH on the freeway. Actually nearby is a different thing entirely.
Isn't that the beauty of terms like "nearby"? I've read articles about "Nearby Galaxies" and I am pretty sure that they are further away than National Camera.


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