Nicollet Mall

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
grant1simons2
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby grant1simons2 » August 4th, 2018, 11:09 am

The city did their part... now time for the DID and downtown council to do theirs. Build some planters, hang some flowers again, stop letting offices lease up ground floor space and block windows. So much of that creative edge people think is missing isn't because of the renovation was a mistake. It's because the renovation is in infancy, and now is the time to create, build, play and experiment with what we were given.

Squidward
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Squidward » August 4th, 2018, 11:23 am

Honestly a tourist will walk up and down the mall and think it’s nicely updated and modern but there’s not much to do here. It’s about as exciting as downtown Louisville

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby EOst » August 4th, 2018, 11:52 am

Is 16th really that much better, or is it just grass is greener? People in Denver don't seem to love it https://www.denverpost.com/2018/02/03/l ... reet-mall/:
Don’t look too closely at Denver’s renowned 16th Street Mall. You’re likely to see uneven and worn pavers, aging planters, vacant tree wells and unsafe bus lanes that have frightened pedestrians since the day the mall opened 35 years ago...

Right now, the groups are only considering the reconfiguration of the bus lanes, sidewalks and median. The next step will be far more difficult as the city and RTD grapple with what to do with the historic granite pavers that the world-famous architecture firm of I.M. Pei designed in 1982 as a pattern of black, gray and red squares.

From the very beginning, the structural engineering of the pavers failed, and RTD won a small settlement of a warranty claim to fund repairs. Today RTD spends $1 million a year repairing the granite pavers in its MallRide pathway, while the business improvement district — funded with a special tax on downtown property owners — pays $3.5 million a year maintaining the sidewalks, trees and other amenities on the mall.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby mplsjaromir » August 4th, 2018, 1:18 pm

The architecture on on the 16th St Mall is no match for Nicollet. For what that is worth.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Multimodal » August 5th, 2018, 7:41 am

That Denver mall looks like too big a pattern & too much color. In some ways the infrastructure should blend in, rather than stand out—but it should be high quality and warm/inviting, not cold & gray. More permanent outdoor seating, so there’s someplace to sit on a cold but sunny winter’s day (when the chairs are all put away).

No motorized vehicles of any kind. I’m not even sure a bike lane makes sense on a pedestrian mall. People should be free to mill about without fear of getting run over—by anything. “Don’t make me think.”

Some of the new art installations are nice. A big fountain (or couple smaller ones) would bring out people like nothing else—visual interest, cooling mist (in our world getting hotter), white noise, and a selfie/group photo object of interest are all wonderful. No, because of our weather, the city doesn’t need fountains on every corner, but surely the crown jewel of downtown can afford to do the maintenance for one fountain.

One hopes developers and owners will see the light, and continue having more and more pedestrian-friendly businesses on Nicollet. Food, coffee, bakeries, artisanal food, beer, & pubs are all huge right now, and draw in crowds.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Multimodal » August 5th, 2018, 7:50 am

Imagine if, instead of buses, Nicollet was filled with mobile food vendors and seating. If the food trucks had to plug in to electric outlets instead of using gas generators, they could move from 2nd Ave. to Nicollet.

Nicollet would be packed with people for lunch, and maybe even dinner/drinks after work. The adjacent streets would be optimized for buses, transit, & bikes.

*wakes up* Oh, is this a fantasy thread?

Silophant
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Silophant » August 5th, 2018, 7:58 am

Remember that there are five (5) fountains directly adjacent to Nicollet Mall (including Peavey Plaza, when it wraps up next year), and an additional reflecting pool across Washington from the north end. There weren't fountains included in the specific project boundaries, but as far as "public space along the street" goes, I feel like Nicollet's doing okay for water features.

amiller92
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby amiller92 » August 6th, 2018, 9:53 am

Denver's 16th Street Mall is a pedestrian scale shopping street, with small storefronts that are actually used for retail. We should be deeply jealous, because that's a great thing for a city to have.

Nicollet Mall is not that.

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Nathan
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Nathan » August 6th, 2018, 10:12 am

I constantly hear negative reviews about 16th street from former Denver locals and from people who travel around. I don't think it's anything worth being jealous about. Just because it exists ideologically does not mean it's good. Do I wish there was smaller scale retail nicollet? Maybe, but Washington Avenue/north loop is also developing that nicely and organically. I see nicollet more as a front porch of the economic powerhouse of downtown than a retail destination, so the restaurant scene that has developed is fine with me.

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VacantLuxuries
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby VacantLuxuries » August 6th, 2018, 10:43 am

I know it's not the same as actually being there, but a quick Google Maps trip down 16th Street (imagery from 2017-18) and it's almost indistinguishable from Nicollet. Some chain restaurants. A Panera. A few local upscale bars. Corporate buildings built with no regard for the mall. Some brutalism. An attempt at a downtown mall that looks a little more outwardly focused than Gaviidae, but still probably just as successful.

The best block for small retail is between Stout and Champa, but even that is only about a half block until a Walgreens and Ross Dress For Less dominate both sides of the street. And the small scale on one of those sides is a food hall, something we're already bringing here.

Grass is greener and all...

martykoessel
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby martykoessel » August 6th, 2018, 11:21 am

I, too, am disappointed in the monochromatic look of the new Mall. Somehow, not the lanterns nor the chairs nor the light walk nor even the trees are sufficient to overcome the overwhelming grayness. However, I'd like to imagine this is fixable. Rather than throw up our hands and give into regret, some creative people, working with the City, should be able to come up with cost-effective ways of livening things up. A while ago I suggested using stencils to add color to the engraved designs in the pavement, perhaps as part of a summer youth employment program. Any other and better ideas out there?

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby mamundsen » August 6th, 2018, 12:12 pm

The light walk is terrible. The mirrors do not work and reflect like they were advertised. Two blocks of it and it's basically a giant overly expensive pergola.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby HiawathaGuy » August 6th, 2018, 12:15 pm

VacantLuxuries wrote:
August 6th, 2018, 10:43 am
I know it's not the same as actually being there, but a quick Google Maps trip down 16th Street (imagery from 2017-18) and it's almost indistinguishable from Nicollet. Some chain restaurants. A Panera. A few local upscale bars. Corporate buildings built with no regard for the mall. Some brutalism. An attempt at a downtown mall that looks a little more outwardly focused than Gaviidae, but still probably just as successful.

The best block for small retail is between Stout and Champa, but even that is only about a half block until a Walgreens and Ross Dress For Less dominate both sides of the street. And the small scale on one of those sides is a food hall, something we're already bringing here.

Grass is greener and all...
I was just in Denver last weekend, and I spent a few hours on 16th Street Saturday afternoon. I have been there before, but after seeing people on here complaining, bellyaching, bitching, commenting, etc. I made it a point to pay closer attention.

I like what Denver has done with their downtown, and I enjoy the city. But I really don't think Nicollet and 16th Street can really be compared in an apples to apples sort of way. Sure, in a vacuum, it would be easy to compare the two - but we don't live in one, and there are so many factors that make the two spaces unique. First, Denver doesn't have two major downtown cores, so when I think of what Minneapolis could be like if there was no St. Paul, where all that office space and the State Capital was all here - I imagine it to be a lot like Denver. Although, I think Minneapolis would be better.

With that said though, I like how our tallest buildings with unique architecture & lighting are all close to Nicollet. Denver's tallest buildings are all sort of scattered and do not abut 16th Street. To me, that makes it a strange place - almost meant more for tourists than anything, as it connects Union Depot with the Capital. There were a lot of people on 16th Street Saturday afternoon, but as I mentioned, Denver has a lot more tourism than Minneapolis does, so again, hard to compare apples to apples. They also don't have MOA that reshaped their downtown shopping, like we've had here. For better or worse, that's a huge factor into Nicollet Mall evolving over the last 25 years. I also drove through a lot of neighborhoods around the city while there too, and for the most part, I really didn't feel like they had the sense of neighborhoods like we do as a city.

I love the investments they've made in their public transit - but again, most of the rail lines follow the freeways, leaving the roads to be very congested, as it's hard to use them to get most places. There are pockets of downtown Denver that I really liked, and then there were areas I thought were pretty tragic, even just a block or two off of 16th Street. I think our downtown has done a much better job of developing in a meaningful way, which I feel makes Minneapolis a lot more cohesive and connected. If it doesn't have the shopping that Denver has on 16th Street, I'm okay with that. Nicollet will continue to evolve as more and more people live along it, and I think the upgrades were a needed improvement that did the best with the funding they had. I completely agree with the "grass is greener and all..."

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VacantLuxuries
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby VacantLuxuries » August 6th, 2018, 12:57 pm

The Macy's project and the rumored City Center redo are going to create pockets where the street will really work, which will add to the stretch between 9th-12th where the street is already working as imagined. I think expecting the entire street to come completely alive as long as the skyways still exist might be pushing it. But hey, if Downtown 2025 population goals are met and exceeded, there's going to be a lot more demand for services.

I don't really have too much of an opinion as far as the renovation goes, I think they did fine considering I didn't ever believe a facelift would immediately solve all of Nicollet's problems. Though I think the most iconic part of Nicollet Mall is its status as something people complain about, and if they made it too good, we'd lose that part of Minneapolis culture.

minntransplant
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby minntransplant » August 6th, 2018, 1:01 pm

martykoessel wrote:
August 6th, 2018, 11:21 am
I, too, am disappointed in the monochromatic look of the new Mall. Somehow, not the lanterns nor the chairs nor the light walk nor even the trees are sufficient to overcome the overwhelming grayness. However, I'd like to imagine this is fixable. Rather than throw up our hands and give into regret, some creative people, working with the City, should be able to come up with cost-effective ways of livening things up. A while ago I suggested using stencils to add color to the engraved designs in the pavement, perhaps as part of a summer youth employment program. Any other and better ideas out there?
Agreed, there are a lot of small scale things that they could do at low cost to make a big impact. Painting some of the engraved designs sounds fun to me. I would love to see some colorful flower beds/planters scattered around. And more furniture/seating areas.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Silophant » August 6th, 2018, 1:13 pm

VacantLuxuries wrote:
August 6th, 2018, 12:57 pm
The Macy's project and the rumored City Center redo are going to create pockets where the street will really work, which will add to the stretch between 9th-12th where the street is already working as imagined.
Additionally, the RSM Plaza renovation (originally scheduled to complete late 2017, lol) should wrap up at some point, which will create a quasi public space in the area that was the fenced-off Panera patio.

mnmike
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby mnmike » August 6th, 2018, 3:18 pm

VacantLuxuries wrote:
August 6th, 2018, 10:43 am
I know it's not the same as actually being there, but a quick Google Maps trip down 16th Street (imagery from 2017-18) and it's almost indistinguishable from Nicollet. Some chain restaurants. A Panera. A few local upscale bars. Corporate buildings built with no regard for the mall. Some brutalism. An attempt at a downtown mall that looks a little more outwardly focused than Gaviidae, but still probably just as successful.

The best block for small retail is between Stout and Champa, but even that is only about a half block until a Walgreens and Ross Dress For Less dominate both sides of the street. And the small scale on one of those sides is a food hall, something we're already bringing here.

Grass is greener and all...

Oh...that mall is MUCH more successful than Gaviidae (which really isn't a mall anymore). They landed a downtown Uniqlo in it not long ago...and it has always remained pretty fully occupied. It's a fairly well down downtown mall/entertainment complex. That said...Denver does have something we don't that helps to make things like this successful...A fairly large tourist base. They also have a bigger/busier convention center.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby twincitizen » August 10th, 2018, 1:50 pm

I sometimes wonder if allowing the newer office buildings on the west side of Nicollet between 8th-11th was a big mistake. I'm talking about US Bancorp Center, 900-950 Nicollet (former Retek on the Mall), and Target Plaza South.

The towers themselves and the influx of workers are great. I just wonder if they belong on the west side of Nicollet or if Nicollet should have been more carefully guarded against office tower development. I dunno. On one hand, Nicollet might still have more smaller retail spaces and cheaper buildings where a bigger variety of tenants could thrive (not just large expensive restaurants). On the other hand, Nicollet might be even more dead without the thousands of office workers right there (for the purposes of this argument, I'm assuming those newer buildings just got built on Marquette/2nd/3rd instead of Nicollet)

There's also the simpler answer that these three newish buildings are fine where they are, but should have been designed with more/smaller retail spaces on the street. The US Bancorp Center is just the worst in this regard. The soaring 2-story lobby for office workers takes up most of the block with one retail space on each corner (Men's Warehouse and McCormick & Schmick's). No less than 6 fast food/retail places in the skyway. The ultimate irony is that Men's Warehouse is exactly the type of business that belongs in the skyway, while DQ, Which Wich, Caribou and Verizon belong on the street. What really gets me is that the City (planners, Planning Commissioners, City Council) probably already knew all of these lessons in the late 90s when these buildings were being designed. I'm pretty sure people knew about good urbanism and storefronts before the 2010s, but these 3 buildings still got it so wrong. It's really frustrating.

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kellonathan
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby kellonathan » August 10th, 2018, 2:28 pm

I completely agree.

Not just Nicollet, but I think the impact of us not being able to effectively activate street-level retail storefronts goes far beyond just that one corridor.

I know we're only doing a so-so job at revitalizing Nicollet Mall, but walking on any East-West streets in downtown (e.g. 7th thru 11th) just amplifies that impression that "downtown feels dead." And even LaSalle! It's only a block west from Nicollet, but LaSalle always looks dead.
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby MNdible » August 10th, 2018, 2:35 pm

twincitizen wrote: The US Bancorp Center is just the worst in this regard.
I'm not sure that the building itself is that bad -- there's nothing to say, for example, that the McCormick's and Schmick's space couldn't be subdivided into six distinct retail spaces, if that's what the landlord was interested in doing. And while the lobby perhaps takes up more street frontage than it needs to, it's very transparent to the street and represents probably the best street to skyway connection outside of the IDS.
Last edited by MNdible on August 10th, 2018, 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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