Nord Haus - 315 1st Ave NE (208' - 20 Stories)

Northeast, Near North, Camden, Old St. Anthony, University and surrounding neighborhoods
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Nord Haus - 315 1st Ave NE (208' - 20 Stories)

Postby mulad » July 8th, 2012, 12:54 pm

Just happened across this page on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's website about the Superior Plating building at University and 1st Ave NE.

http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/wa ... -site.html

It has been a Superfund site since the 1980s. I was surprised to learn that the chromium spill reported over the winter was probably not really a "spill", but rather seepage from chromium-contaminated soil underneath the building.

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby minntransplant » July 9th, 2012, 1:01 pm

Cannot wait for this site to get cleaned up and redeveloped. It is a tremendous location for something truly great.

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby PhilmerPhil » July 9th, 2012, 9:30 pm

The freewa--I mean First Ave NE was just resurfaced and restriped without any changes to its horrible auto centric design. No bike lanes, no two way conversion, no lane width changes, nothing. For this part NE to really establish itself as an urban neighborhood there NEEDS to be a radical restructuring of the roads here. There are plenty of opportunities to close of small stretches of little used roads and turn them into pedestrian plazas or developable land. There needs to be some sort of overhaul, and the recent resurfacing without attempt to improve the space for anyone other than people driving through was a huge lost opportunity. It makes me sad and disappointed. I called the local council member before the restriping occurred and am still awaiting a response.

(btw, I'm sure I've brought this point up before, and I'm sure I will keep bringing it up until there is real change.)

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby MNdible » July 9th, 2012, 10:58 pm

First Avenue could probably be throttled down a bit, and there are other roads around here that could certainly use a reworking with more attention to pedestrian circulation. But pedestrian plazas? Is this the answer to everything? Underused, unloved pedestrian plazas?

There are a lot of cars that move through this area. It's often congested even during non-rush hours. I'm not sure where you think these cars are going to disappear to.

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby mulad » July 10th, 2012, 12:16 am

University Avenue had a 3- to 2-lane conversion about a decade ago and did just fine. I think 1st Ave NE could probably drop a lane with relatively little ill effect, and a bike lane is a good idea. Hennepin Avenue going the other direction feels a bit more restricted, but I suspect a bike lane could still fit in there somehow. The layout of 1st Ave in particular seems to encourage speeding, and it's a pain to cross on foot. I really wish they'd put in some bump-outs at intersections.

Part of the difference between the two roads is that Hennepin remains fairly built-up, so you get the walled-in effect where drivers are generally more willing to slow down. 1st Ave, on the other hand, has many more empty lots along its edges, which makes people feel almost like they're on a freeway.

Perhaps my biggest problem with the layout (at least as it was -- I don't think I've been over there since the repaving) is that the right lane goes away (or at least appears to) just before the bridge, becoming a right-turn lane onto Main Street. The weird thing is, parking is removed on the left side of the road on that last block -- Really, there should be some dashed lane markings shifting everyone over to the left by a lane at the intersection of 1st Ave and 2nd Street. Right now, there's a lot of jockeying around that happens, which adds to the congestion.

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby woofner » July 10th, 2012, 8:08 pm

Each of the four lanes on 1st Ave NE south of University is probably 12' wide - that includes the parking lane(s). North of University they're still 12', although the right-most lane is a 20' parking-through lane. This is the kind of street that would be a no-brainer for bike lanes at resurfacing if the governmental bodies were clearly and consistently devoted to multimodal transportation instead of just steered by politicians that occasionally allude to it when pandering to certain political groups.

You just take a foot from each of the through lanes and two or three feet from the parking lane and you have a 5-6' bike lane. There are still 11' through lanes and 9' parking lanes - consistent with even the most generous standards. To not have done so is to have failed to consider any mode besides driving. Since city policy requires the addition of bike lanes to 1st Ave NE, if they didn't do so at a resurfacing they are just spitting in the faces of cyclists.

Hennepin has less consistent widths and is much narrower at places, so there is a legitimate reason for waiting for reconstruction. Not coincidentally, traffic there is much better behaved, even though volumes are much higher.

I don't think there is any reason to think that a plaza in Old St Anthony would be underused. Chute Square usually has people in it, and the spaces along the river are always full. I agree with PhilmerPhil that some of the cross streets in the area have no practical function for motor vehicles and would be better used as park or bike/ped spaces.
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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby min-chi-cbus » July 10th, 2012, 9:33 pm

That's a bit dramatic! It's not an attack against cyclists, it's just poor planning. Cyclists, although helpful to overall traffic, can be such crybabies!!

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby PhilmerPhil » July 11th, 2012, 7:10 am

redisciple wrote:I don't think there is any reason to think that a plaza in Old St Anthony would be underused. Chute Square usually has people in it, and the spaces along the river are always full. I agree with PhilmerPhil that some of the cross streets in the area have no practical function for motor vehicles and would be better used as park or bike/ped spaces.
It would be the easiest to implement at 6th St NE where it meanders between Hennepin and 1st near the Holiday. Closing this off to traffic would allow for a unique triangular building (replacing the Holiday and White Castle) and reduce the harsh auto oriented feel of this area. Even without redevelopment in the foreseeable future, closing some of these impractical streets would be a small step towards improving this part of NE.

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby trkaiser » July 11th, 2012, 9:19 am

But I love that little shortcut between Holiday and that miniature insurance building. It makes it very easy to scoot through from SE to NE.

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby woofner » July 11th, 2012, 12:18 pm

min-chi-cbus wrote:That's a bit dramatic! It's not an attack against cyclists, it's just poor planning. Cyclists, although helpful to overall traffic, can be such crybabies!!
How would you characterize it if the city did a sewer replacement project and connected every house on your block except for your's? Maybe you could consider it a mistake if it happened once, but what if it happened for 9 out of 10 infrastructure projects?
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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby min-chi-cbus » July 11th, 2012, 12:23 pm

redisciple wrote:
min-chi-cbus wrote:That's a bit dramatic! It's not an attack against cyclists, it's just poor planning. Cyclists, although helpful to overall traffic, can be such crybabies!!
How would you characterize it if the city did a sewer replacement project and connected every house on your block except for your's? Maybe you could consider it a mistake if it happened once, but what if it happened for 9 out of 10 infrastructure projects?
Incredibly dramatic analogy there! Not every street in the city has a designated bike pathway, and neither did the one in front of my home. And the comparison between shit literally hitting the fan and bicyclists having to ride in undesignated lanes is so lopsided that you inadvertantly proved my point!

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby PhilmerPhil » July 11th, 2012, 3:08 pm

I e-mailed Shaun Murphy, the city's bike/ped coordinator about 1st Ave NE and got this response:

"We have some plans developed for Hennepin & 1st, but they are County roads and a couple of key decision makers at the City and the County want to wait to implement them until the City’s streetcar planning is done."

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby trkaiser » July 11th, 2012, 3:13 pm

Now THAT is a response everybody on this forum should appreciate. I think Minneapolis is doing a remarkable job of adding bike routes in very short order. 1st Avenue shouldn't remain the way it is now for long, and I can live avoiding most of that stretch by bike until then...

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby MNdible » July 11th, 2012, 3:42 pm

PhilmerPhil wrote:It would be the easiest to implement at 6th St NE where it meanders between Hennepin and 1st near the Holiday. Closing this off to traffic would allow for a unique triangular building (replacing the Holiday and White Castle) and reduce the harsh auto oriented feel of this area. Even without redevelopment in the foreseeable future, closing some of these impractical streets would be a small step towards improving this part of NE.
Yes, I'll give you 6th St SE, especially if you're willing to turn it over for redevelopment and not make it into a pedestrian plaza...

The others (6th St NE and 5th St) are an important part of the historic street fabric. I'm happy expanding the medians and giving better bumpouts where appropriate, but I can't get behind abandoning them.

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby mulad » July 11th, 2012, 4:03 pm

PhilmerPhil wrote:I e-mailed Shaun Murphy, the city's bike/ped coordinator about 1st Ave NE and got this response:

"We have some plans developed for Hennepin & 1st, but they are County roads and a couple of key decision makers at the City and the County want to wait to implement them until the City’s streetcar planning is done."
Yeah, I figured that the county must be the ones in control of those roads. But there's still the paint argument -- it would have been almost zero cost to re-stripe with a bike lane vs. without. Also, bumpouts can be achieved with temporary traffic-calming devices, ranging from strategic placement of those bump-stop things we're all familiar with from parking lots to nicer planters and things like that. You don't need to change the embedded asphalt or concrete at all, and there's no need to worry about screwing things up for future transportation projects. Also, things can be removed in the winter if there's concern about plowing (though I think that's an overblown worry).

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby nordeast homer » July 12th, 2012, 2:49 pm

Enough of the friggin' bikes, there are other places on the site that I'd be glad to ignore, take it there.

The Superior Plating site has been sold to a real estate partnership, City Center Realty and WHI. City Center is out of San Francisco, while WHI is based in Chicago. Both entities have said there are no immediate plans for the site, but redevelopment is on their radar. No specification on what kind of development.

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby woofner » July 12th, 2012, 5:32 pm

min-chi-cbus wrote: And the comparison between shit literally hitting the fan and bicyclists having to ride in undesignated lanes is so lopsided that you inadvertantly proved my point!
If you're unable to consider my question without giggling, just read 'drinking water' instead of 'sewer.' It works for any urban infrastructure. You're right though, it's much more serious to require cyclists to drive on freeway-scaled streets like 1st Ave NE than for a house to be unconnected to sewer - anyone who has done urban cycling for more than a few years has had something thrown at them by people who don't think that bikes should be on the street. That's how people get killed.

Hennepin County has a history of not considering any transportation modes besides cars on routine projects like these - 26th Ave S and 46th St E are examples from just the past couple years. That's part of the reason Minneapolis hired a bike/ped coordinator. I know from personal experience that there are people who want bikes off the road, and I don't think it's impossible that some of them work for the County - they certainly wouldn't be deterred by the commute to Edina. They spent all that money to be a PE thinking they were going to design roads for cars and that the parks dept would have to deal with the bikes. I'm not saying that's what's going on, but it's possible. Maybe it's just bad planning on the part of every governmental body in the Twin Cities except for Minneapolis, but even if that's the case, there's usually a reason that planning is bad.

And as Mulad mentioned, a possible future streetcar is certainly not the reason that they're not striping bike lanes here. As some of you may be aware, a bike lane is nothing but a line of paint. It could easily be simply moved to the other side of the street if a streetcar were built, or even to a parallel route.
trkaiser wrote:I think Minneapolis is doing a remarkable job of adding bike routes in very short order. 1st Avenue shouldn't remain the way it is now for long, and I can live avoiding most of that stretch by bike until then...
Speaking of parallel routes, what exactly are you going to take instead of this to cross the river? Central is almost as bad, and Plymouth and the Stone Arch Bridge are both more than a mile out of the way. That makes a difference on bike trips, which tend to be shorter. Where would they ask motorists to make an indefinite detour that adds 25% to the length of their trip?

Minneapolis is doing a pretty good job of adding bike facilities - I think their most meaningful move was hiring that bike/ped coordinator. But even with an infusion of federal funds they still added fewer lane miles of bike facilities in the last decade than the lane miles of freeway added within city limits in the 60s. But all they had to do to build those freeways was acquire and demolish thousands of houses and excavate hundreds of city blocks, it wasn't anything hard like slightly adjusting paint striping patterns.
nordeast homer wrote:Enough of the friggin' bikes, there are other places on the site that I'd be glad to ignore, take it there.
You don't work for the county, do you?
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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby trkaiser » October 30th, 2012, 7:53 am

Good news today as there's finally some movement to redevelop this site!

From http://www.thedolancompany.com/view.cfm?recID=793916:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- Greystar, a large national player in apartment investment, development and management circles, is negotiating to invest in the former Superior Plating site in northeast Minneapolis. Previous conceptual plans floated for the site at 315 First Ave. NE in Minneapolis have outlined 600 apartments for the site.

A city of Minneapolis report detailing requested environmental cleanup funds for the site describes Greystar as part of a joint venture looking to redevelop the site. The city’s report puts the estimated project budget at $120 million.

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby nordeast homer » October 30th, 2012, 10:52 am

Holy smokes, 600 units!! How big is this thing going to be? You could have two 30 story towers for that number of units.

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Re: Superior Plating site

Postby lordmoke » October 30th, 2012, 11:40 am

nordeast homer wrote:Holy smokes, 600 units!! How big is this thing going to be? You could have two 30 story towers for that number of units.
For perspective, I think that the Magellan tower has a budget of roughly $100M, and they're talking $120M here. SO this may very well be a massive project.


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