Alia Tower - 200 Central - 483' / 40 Stories

Northeast, Near North, Camden, Old St. Anthony, University and surrounding neighborhoods
amiller92
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby amiller92 » May 4th, 2016, 9:23 am

EOst wrote:
Nathan wrote:Yeah I'm totally glad the hpc denied it, I totally hope the city approves it. Then everyone does their job correctly.
Agreed... but only because this is an edge case, right on the edge of the district. I know a lot of people here don't believe in historic preservation generally, but if we're going to have them, we should do them right.
This was a vote to preserve literally nothing. Literally. They are fine with tearing down the building(s). It's the nothing that's left afterward that must be preserved. That's insane.

But yes, the people who lived there a few decades ago got something written down on paper about how tall buildings in the area can be, so *shrug* It's been decided for all time.

ETA: For some reason I thought these guidelines were older than they are, but it seems I was wrong and they currently-applicable design guidelines are from 2012.

Meanwhile, this particular site is right next to parking structure, across the street from a condo tower, and across another street from some 2000s-ish townhomes, with a 2010s apartment tower, parking structure and grocery store a half block and diagonally across an intersection away. Yet the Strib writes that the area is "dominated by turn-of-the-century houses and storefronts."

Are there any turn of the century homes in the area? The Ard Godrey House is from 1847, so that doesn't count.
Sorry, but that's BS. We are a wealthy enough and healthy enough to say "no" to developers sometimes when there are other compelling reasons.
There are none here.
Last edited by amiller92 on May 4th, 2016, 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

amiller92
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby amiller92 » May 4th, 2016, 9:27 am

EOst wrote:But it's a fundamentally different kind of neighborhood than the ones historic districts are meant to create.
I'm not sure I agree with that even in principle, but regardless, it's a moot point here. This is already a neighborhood that's a mix of historic buildings and high rise towers.

EOst
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby EOst » May 4th, 2016, 9:45 am

amiller92 wrote:I'm not sure I agree with that even in principle, but regardless, it's a moot point here. This is already a neighborhood that's a mix of historic buildings and high rise towers.
The neighborhood != the district. You can look at the map here. I recommend it! The district has two towers. Those towers are the reason the district was created.
amiller92 wrote:This was a vote to preserve literally nothing. Literally. They are fine with tearing down the building(s). It's the nothing that's left afterward that must be preserved. That's insane.
Look, this is a strawman and you're smart enough to know it. The HPC's decisions aren't linked legally, but everyone knows that they are practically linked. It's a signal that they would accept "something else" here, but not this. That's exactly how the process should work.
amiller92 wrote:But yes, the people who lived there a few decades ago got something written down on paper about how tall buildings in the area can be, so *shrug* It's been decided for all time.
Yes, that's what "historic district" means. If you disagree that this area should be one, you're welcome to press the city council to change it! But I doubt you'll get a single vote, and I (and many others) will vocally oppose you.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby RailBaronYarr » May 4th, 2016, 9:51 am

EOst wrote:A neighborhood of mixed historic buildings and high-rises can be a great neighborhood, no one disputes that. But it's a fundamentally different kind of neighborhood than the ones historic districts are meant to create. An obvious example of this is the Stevens Square district; individually the contributing buildings there are just old brick boxes with cornices, like hundreds of others in the city, but together they're a visually and tonally coherent neighborhood. Building a 40-story tower on the Volunteers of America site, for example, would irrevocably change that.
Your comment came off much more generally speaking in light of Silophant's comment, not so much re: historic districts. I was just doing my typical "zoning is mostly serving the extremely first world concerns we have, we should upzone more places" thing.

Of course, we disagree on whether we have actually detailed a value associated with historic districts like you describe. I agree that a district without tall buildings has different tone and coherence from one with them mixed in alongside old structures, and that both can be nice. What I do disagree with is that the latter actually provides any measurable value to society at-large, as opposed to a much smaller share of the population who specifically enjoys a neighborhood limited to that size of building, with fairly strict architectural requirements on any new buildings. I do think you and I should do a pro/con historic preservation streets.mn thing for fun to flesh out these ideas (and I promise I won't even invoke housing affordability or anything like that, as it distracts from the central issue).

Silophant's follow-up comment is obviously a great compromise, that we could have stronger coherent districts (even if they are often in more desirable locations) but should balance that with stronger upzoning in other places, both very close to said districts with *very* loose restrictions but also further away that maybe doesn't allow full-on towers. But literally no one but a few on this board and maybe some folks in CPED behind closed doors with their closest friends are even having that discussion. And maybe that's my biggest problem all along. There's been no tradeoff associated with creating these districts. We didn't upzone the areas outside the new Wedge Historic District in exchange for de-facto-downzoning everything inside it. Same for the areas just outside the Dinkytown core (much of which is R5 - pretty good! but doesn't allow commercial expansion).
Last edited by RailBaronYarr on May 4th, 2016, 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

amiller92
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby amiller92 » May 4th, 2016, 9:55 am

EOst wrote: That's exactly how the process should work.
Nope. It's how these processes do work and exactly why they do not.

TroyGBiv
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby TroyGBiv » May 4th, 2016, 10:24 am

Nathan wrote:Yeah I'm totally glad the hpc denied it, I totally hope the city approves it. Then everyone does their job correctly.
Yup!

twincitizen
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby twincitizen » May 4th, 2016, 10:35 am

DanB wrote:Does the hpc get appealed to zoning and planning committee or straight to city council? Not that an appeal would have much trouble either way. Also I don't see how they could revise the design and get it past the hpc without a massive height reduction/changing it to a mid-rise like the Nye's project there weren't really any suggestions by committee members on how to make it better so much as they said it "didn't belong there".
The appeal goes to the Zoning and Planning Committee. Next meeting is Thursday May 19. Full Council on Friday May 27.

Sure, it's another ~month of delay (following the previous delay for the EAW request and denial). But does it matter at all to Alatus? Probably not. This project has been around for 2+ years, and Alatus didn't actually submit their applications to the city until late February. It is very likely that Alatus knew full well that this process could drag out until ~June or beyond. If that was a major problem for them, they could've submitted applications sooner.

schmitzm03
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby schmitzm03 » May 4th, 2016, 10:45 am

EOst wrote:The neighborhood != the district. You can look at the map here. I recommend it! The district has two towers. Those towers are the reason the district was created.
Wait a second...what am I missing? According to the map, the Carlyle (~2006) is in the district and the district was created in 1971. Aren't there a few other towers in the district too (as opposed to the neighborhood)? Am I misreading the map?

exiled_antipodean
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby exiled_antipodean » May 4th, 2016, 11:48 am

That was my thought too -- there's already a 41 story tower right by this bridge and in this historic district. If anything another one on the other side would enhance the skyline.

EOst
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby EOst » May 4th, 2016, 12:53 pm

schmitzm03 wrote:Wait a second...what am I missing? According to the map, the Carlyle (~2006) is in the district and the district was created in 1971. Aren't there a few other towers in the district too (as opposed to the neighborhood)? Am I misreading the map?
I didn't mention the Carlyle because it's a different side of the river, but the St. Anthony Falls district has several different "character areas" with different guidelines (see starting page 121 here). The Carlyle is in Area B, which has a height maximum of 30 stories because there isn't anything historic left to fit in with, besides the Post Office which the Carlyle worked hard to match.

grant1simons2
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby grant1simons2 » May 4th, 2016, 12:59 pm

There was an option presented to the neighborhood to decide whether the tower should have characteristics like Carlyle or be modern. We picked the modern design.

EOst
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby EOst » May 4th, 2016, 1:06 pm

I don't really have any problem with that, though I'm sure a tower designed to match the Pillsbury Library next door would've been something to see. Just pointing out why the Carlyle is what it is.

twincitizen
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby twincitizen » May 5th, 2016, 7:22 am

Good post up on the main site today: https://streets.mn/2016/05/05/preserving-nothing/

MNdible
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby MNdible » May 5th, 2016, 9:51 am

It's a well written article (thanks, Adam!), but in my mind it sort of dances around the two critical questions:

1. Does the concept of a historic district have value? That is, is it enough to just preserve the important historic buildings, or do we also need to control the new construction around them in order to give them a sympathetic setting?

2. Should this site be in the historic district? This seems to be the stronger argument, and the article lays out a pretty convincing case that it shouldn't be, but never actually says that the problem is that the historic district boundaries were drawn incorrectly.

EOst
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby EOst » May 5th, 2016, 10:38 am

MNdible wrote:Should this site be in the historic district? This seems to be the stronger argument, and the article lays out a pretty convincing case that it shouldn't be, but never actually says that the problem is that the historic district boundaries were drawn incorrectly.
I think this is much more the issue. I assume this parcel is in the district mostly to contiguously protect the Pillsbury Library and Chute Square. But those are individually protected, and not in danger anyway. If it were up to me, I'd happily trade this (and probably a number of other blocks in the district) for protection of some gems like the Aveda (Masonic) building and some coverage north of University, where there is actually some historic fabric left.

(Similarly, if I were king, I'd trade a lot of upzoning in the Wedge for a larger historic district in the interior. I'd even do it one-to-one. I'd also be willing to abandon areas like the north Wedge if we could demolish some of the 70s mansard walkups and move the more important houses in their place.)

grant1simons2
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby grant1simons2 » May 5th, 2016, 10:44 am

ImageDSC_0532 by grant.simons, on Flickr

Historical preservation inside a sea of high rises

twinkess
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby twinkess » May 5th, 2016, 10:52 am

I actually just walked past that building a month or so ago. Still looks good in the setting. There is another historical building on the opposite corner:
https://goo.gl/maps/pdvGAcRFcgG2

grant1simons2
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby grant1simons2 » May 5th, 2016, 11:05 am

An even better example

https://goo.gl/wYKe4Z

Extra for the lolz

https://goo.gl/qG0Myb

EOst
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby EOst » May 5th, 2016, 11:17 am

EOst wrote:If all we wanted to do was to preserve historic buildings, they could be designated individually. But we have historic districts because we recognize that the value of an area derives not just from individual buildings, but from the collective effect of a district.

A neighborhood of mixed historic buildings and high-rises can be a great neighborhood, no one disputes that. But it's a fundamentally different kind of neighborhood than the ones historic districts are meant to create.

grant1simons2
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Re: Alatus St. Anthony Tower (Washburn-McReavy Site)

Postby grant1simons2 » May 5th, 2016, 11:18 am

I wasn't arguing with you directly, I just wanted to add these examples of how it can be done well.


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