White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Northeast, Near North, Camden, Old St. Anthony, University and surrounding neighborhoods
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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby Silophant » July 27th, 2016, 12:11 pm

0.15 FAR in a booming downtown-adjacent commercial district. Disgusting.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby amiller92 » July 27th, 2016, 1:03 pm

sdho wrote: There is not a single modern gas station in Richfield (good-sized convenience area + car wash + at least tolerable urban design).
I'm confused, as the things I take you to mean as characterizing a modern station - basically, massively larger footprint - are things that I think of as bad urban design.
The closest in Minneapolis is the Holiday at 36th/Cedar, but I usually go to Bloomington for gas.
I have a very difficult time fathoming driving any farther than absolutely necessary for gas, which I say even though for years the SA at LaSalle and Grant was the closest to my home (small, easlity congested). Besides, you should go to the BP at 76th and Lyndale because the proprietor is nice to my MIL.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby lordmoke » July 27th, 2016, 1:30 pm

All recommended for approval. Gross.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby Mdcastle » July 27th, 2016, 2:29 pm

Holiday was the original "Hyvee" in the area with mammoth grocery stores with clothing, sporting good departments, even pet stores and travel agencies. Eventually their big box grocery operation got merged into Cub Foods and they morphed into convenience stores.

It simply won't work to get "good" urban design in a functional, modern gas station with the need for gasoline pumps, a car wash, retail space, and parking. So I think Sean's point was people in the city and nearby suburbs need to buy gasoline, get snacks and cigarettes, and wash their cars too so let's do it in the "least bad" way possible since it's not possible to do it in a "good" way. Is this particular development OK or not? I don't know, it's not my neighborhood, but they need to go somewhere if we don't want city residents to have to drive out to Roseville every time they need gasoline.

I do expect the format to survive the transition to electric cars since the gasoline sales really only exist to drive sales of food and car washes. Not everyone will have a charger in their home to use every time they need it, so I suspect today's gasoline stations will offer charging (and if it takes 10 minutes to charge you're likely to come in and buy a hot dog), as well as car washing and neighborhood grocery store functions.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby mnmike » July 27th, 2016, 2:44 pm

This doesn't concern me too much...are the new buildings not more oriented toward the street? And they aren't significant buildings...so easily redeveloped once someone who sees more value in the land comes along.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby mattaudio » July 27th, 2016, 2:49 pm

Yeah if we don't have giant Holiday stations at Hennepin and Central in the heart of an otherwise-booming neighborhood, people will have to drive miles and miles away to find anther gas station. There are no other stations in Minneapolis.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby Silophant » July 27th, 2016, 3:00 pm

So, what's going on with the expansion of the Ped Overlay zoning that was talked about in the wake of the Roat Osha proposal? I haven't heard much about it in a while, and, meanwhile, auto-oriented crap keeps getting proposed and approved, for lack of grounds to deny, in our booming walkable districts.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby sdho » July 27th, 2016, 3:56 pm

amiller92 wrote:
sdho wrote: There is not a single modern gas station in Richfield (good-sized convenience area + car wash + at least tolerable urban design).
I'm confused, as the things I take you to mean as characterizing a modern station - basically, massively larger footprint - are things that I think of as bad urban design.
I guess I mean to distinguish "urban design" from planning and land use. When I say urban design, I mean the experience, accessibility, and appearance. Many things have great urban design but crappy land use. See: Main Street Maple Grove.

So although Holiday may be a poor land use, the design still deserves some credit. They have high-quality exterior materials, direct entrances facing the sidewalk, landscaping and lighting that is tasteful and minimizes the impact on neighbors. The only design grievance I have is their incessant blue neon signs.

And I think mnmike's point is a good one. Although this is nicer than what's there, this isn't an investment worth tens of millions of dollars. It can be redeveloped in the future if demand is adequate.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby talindsay » July 27th, 2016, 4:11 pm

Mdcastle wrote:It simply won't work to get "good" urban design in a functional, modern gas station
Paris is a pretty urban city, I think: Image
I do expect the format to survive the transition to electric cars since the gasoline sales really only exist to drive sales of food and car washes.
This of course is the core of your point, but I post the Paris picture above not just to be snarky, but to point out that the function of selling petrol is a core function that has to be present everywhere, even in the center of the densest city in the western world. By contrast, car washing is not - it really doesn't need to be present at all, or really any, central-city gas stations. Want to wash your car? Go drive somewhere that has the land to waste on a car wash. The convenient store function, of course, is completely disconnected from the gas station form, and as the Paris picture above demonstrates, the gas function doesn't really require the typical gas station form either.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby Mdcastle » July 27th, 2016, 5:47 pm

This is Paris. Is two gasoline pumps and a very small convenience store and no car wash economically feasible in a US city? The existing Holiday is much larger and Holiday apparently thinks that their store is not or they wouldn't be spending money to rebuild it.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby talindsay » July 27th, 2016, 6:21 pm

Sure, of course I don't expect to see a station just like that here. But (1) the fact that these exist is proof that it *does* work to build gas stations that integrate well with the urban form; (2) it's not like they proved that this was the only thing that would be feasible. They asked, the city gave. There *would be* a middle ground between my Paris picture above, and a suburban land-has-no-value station on this site; nobody pushed to make them come up with a better design.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby BruiserB » July 27th, 2016, 8:06 pm

I live in a condo in this area and am completely in favor of an expanded gas station and a car wash. With the number of housing units scheduled to be built in the area, there is a need for this. Expecting all of the residents of this area to drive elsewhere to get gas and wash their cars is not good urban design.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby MattW » July 27th, 2016, 9:42 pm

BruiserB wrote:I live in a condo in this area and am completely in favor of an expanded gas station and a car wash. With the number of housing units scheduled to be built in the area, there is a need for this. Expecting all of the residents of this area to drive elsewhere to get gas and wash their cars is not good urban design.
I suppose they should have unlimited free parking on every city block, too. #snarkattack

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby Silophant » July 27th, 2016, 10:53 pm

There are three gas stations with car washes within a mile and a half of here.

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Mdcastle
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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby Mdcastle » July 28th, 2016, 6:10 am

So we have one yes vote from the neighborhood here. How many no votes from people in the neighborhood?

I assume you're talking about the Holiday on Broadway and I-35W, and the SuperAmerica on Broadway. These look large enough to be viable so they're not likely to close, but can they handle the additional business if the Holiday in question closes?

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 28th, 2016, 9:44 am

talindsay wrote:They asked, the city gave. There *would be* a middle ground between my Paris picture above, and a suburban land-has-no-value station on this site; nobody pushed to make them come up with a better design.
I think this is the major point, here. I don't think anyone doubts there are a large number of neighborhood residents who like having a gas station at this exact corner - and would even like it to function better than the one that's there. I don't doubt that a car wash is lucrative for gas station owners, or that more pumps makes them more competitive with the SA up the road.

The issue is context. Regular Readers know I'm pretty skeptical of the "doesn't fit with the neighborhood's character/scale/context/etc" arguments for opposing development. But in this case, you've got one of the most in-demand neighborhoods in the city, seeing literal towers of apartments going up a stone's throw away. You've got a parcel that could create a real architectural gem, with a triangular chunk of land to its south that could be a great public space. You've got a streetcar planned to go right out front of this thing. Maybe it's okay to admit that while all those things outlined in my first paragraph may be true, they just can't be had on every square foot of city in Minneapolis. That maybe Minneapolis would be better off with four of these scattered throughout the downtown NE area (including this site), and you could even build another 20 stories above the market part of that building. And that however lucrative a car wash may be for that land owner, they've got other options like selling at a huge profit to a developer willing to build something bigger and leasing out space in it and just foregoing the car wash (heck, maybe open one up a few miles up the road with all that cash).

These type of developments confirm my belief that as much as people try not to, you end up supporting regulations when its something you like, and ignoring them when it's not (e.g. zoning-supporter Monte pushing for a business to do whatever they want with this site because hey the free market and cars are great). Good things are good, bad things are bad.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby Mdcastle » July 28th, 2016, 10:34 am

I support zoning, but I also support reasonable variances to be granted.

Would I support variances to build 40 story apartment towers on all four sides of my property? No.

This isn't my neighborhood so I don't care one way or another, but it doesn't seem like they're asking too much. Rebuild uses that provide services to the neighborhood and have been their for decades on the same site and an adjacent site that had small buildings of no particular merit, and stuff like an extra sign.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 28th, 2016, 11:20 am

I don't want to get into a whole pissing match, but... You've actively stated you wouldn't support a 4-story building next to your house, so you don't need to go to extremes to sound centrist when it comes to land use regulations.

You use the word "reasonable," which is super subjective. I know it's used all the time in contracts, but it's a very difficult word to throw into planning documents, comprehensive plans, etc. It's even less helpful to say it on a forum and act like your opinion becomes correct just because you find it "reasonable."

I don't know, in the end, I think this development is really sh!tty but also agree that it's such low value that it could be easily redeveloped in 10-15 years. But even then, one could make the case that the it's not a reasonable ask. Just because there are existing sh!tty land uses on the site doesn't mean it's a-ok to approve the new plan. Here are reasons the proposal could be described as "unreasonable":

- Doubling the number of pumps, creating more conflict points with pedestrians (if you care about cars, more people turning in/out of this location on these busy streets may be a traffic hazard)
- Reducing the number of businesses on the parcels
- Potentially doubling the amount of car idling in a neighborhood where people frequently walk/bike
- The awful street frontage of the car wash
- Opportunity cost of the site (hosing for people, more commercial spaces, etc)

None of this is to say "my opinion is right and yours is wrong," but that there are tradeoffs involved in approving a site design/use like this (even if right now the city may have no legal mechanism to say no). I will say that the things I care about in terms of regulating private land uses typically have real, quantifiable costs to other people (health impacts, safety, housing affordability, etc) compared to perceived impacts (how awful would it be for someone to peer out their 4th story window at me while I garden or the kids play in a Target swimming pool).

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby sdho » July 28th, 2016, 12:05 pm

I really don't see how the new development is worse in terms of vehicular-pedestrian conflict. The existing Holiday has basically no manuevering space. The total number of curb cuts is reduced on every street it touches, including replacing two large driveways with inadequate spacing on 6th with no driveway cuts. Hennepin Ave remains the same, but one becomes an exit-only "escape" from the car wash queue, that is likely to be used very, very rarely.

I agree car wash frontage is poor, but there is some design sensitivity to the character of the different streets. As it is today, Hennepin has a well-set-back sidewalk with a large green space. This continues the green space as buffer for the car wash queue. I think this is probably more lively than the empty lawn that sits there today.

I agree that there's opportunity cost that the site could definitely be something higher/better. But this is an improvement on every aspect except the loss of a couple small spaces at Central and 7th. And could definitely be demolished and replaced with something better in a decade or two. FWIW, there's a newly built Holiday in a similar format in an even more high-demand, rapidly developing area at N 6th St and N 6th Ave/Olson Hwy.

I'd still like to see ways that a modern gas station could exist with high-quality, mixed-use developments. The best ideas I can think of is something in a well-ventilated underground garage, or an open covered area like the loading docks of 222 Hennepin. I do not think the antiquated, tiny examples you provide are feasible -- or even particularly good for pedestrians.

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Re: White Castle and Holiday at Central & Hennepin

Postby sdho » July 28th, 2016, 12:07 pm

And -- it's a little bullshitty, but I think they could have improved the situation slightly by making the canopy over the bumps more "building-like" with a brick wall/windows/etc on the 7th St frontage. And given the ample internal circulation, they probably could have removed one of the 7th St curb cuts


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