Dinkytown Hotel - (1300 block of 4th Ave SE)

Northeast, Near North, Camden, Old St. Anthony, University and surrounding neighborhoods
twincitizen
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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby twincitizen » August 23rd, 2013, 10:18 am

I'm not going to fight in favor of this development like I did for the Opus project. Perhaps that's a little hypocriticalof me, but I don't care. I wouldn't bat an eye if this one got rejected or moratorium'd. It's not that I don't like it, but come on Kelly Doran, it's just in poor taste to be proposing this so soon after the bruising battle of "Save Dinkytown". I am not in favor of a moratorium on development, but I would like to see the Mesa/Camdi building preserved. This is the perfect site for a Moziac-like building that leaves the existing streetscape intact and fills in the surface parking lot behind. (I don't mean Moziac-like in use, like a giant parking ramp, but purely in form that it didn't touch the streetscape)

Curb cuts on 4th Street for residential parking are a non-starter. Period. If you need to have one for deliveries/trash/etc ONLY, fine. I'd rather see them tuck a residential building back there without any parking at all, rather than a building with very little residential parking. Why not send a clear message "If you want to live here, do not bring a car"? I honestly see that as a better option than providing very limited parking. There are enough students without cars to fill a 70-unit building. Obviously there would be guest parking or short-term.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby FISHMANPET » August 23rd, 2013, 10:21 am

The rendering has three distinct street fronts, I think the plans just lump all the retail space together because who cares how it's divided up yet.

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby seanrichardryan » August 23rd, 2013, 10:30 am

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

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby FISHMANPET » August 23rd, 2013, 10:41 am

I just keep waiting for the Dinkytown not Megatown Facebook group to lumber back to life over this...

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby FISHMANPET » August 23rd, 2013, 10:45 am

And someone posted the Staff Report to the group, so it begins...

And because everybody is waiting for bated breath for my opinion on this, I have to say that I'm not sure yet.

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby RailBaronYarr » August 23rd, 2013, 11:15 am

I'm not sure what's 'warehouse'y about this design. The cornice atop the street-facing brick is pretty detailed for a warehouse. The banding of darker colored brick ties the whole front together. The aluminum overhead doors don't seem to be a warehouse design - there's one in the Punch Pizza (formerly Manhattan Loft) space - and it works great to open up in spring/summer/fall nice days to engage the street better with whatever is inside.

If people have a concern with the small setback giving this a bit too much massing for the area, then allow a greater variance on parking req's (aka no need to build the underground space) in return for losing the row of units along the front.

Upon closer inspection of the eastern curb cut, it's only 5', so I would imagine vehicles would never be cutting across pedestrian space, just deliveries with possibly 2-wheel carts. Perhaps the deal struck on reducing units in exchange for larger variance on parking req's could also include an easement move ground-level parking access to come from the alley just south of Burrito Loco?

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby Silophant » August 23rd, 2013, 11:17 am

I'm with twincitizen here. I like the proposal just fine, and I'll have no major problem with it being built (except the potential loss of Mesa), but I'm not going to fight for it. Opus was filling in a hole in the streetscape and replacing those two houses that were in bad shape, and that was worth fighting for. Redeveloping a healthy, active part of the streetscape? Meh.

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby RailBaronYarr » August 23rd, 2013, 11:55 am

What is the issue with redeveloping a healthy, active part of the streetscape with a new, healthy/active streetscape (assuming curb-cut issues resolved)?

Pros: 120 new bedrooms on site, updated spaces for commercial tenants, covered parking for commercial tenant employees (presumably?)..?
Cons: Loss of potentially historic brick facade, potential that rents would be too high for certain tenants to return, ..?

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby mulad » August 23rd, 2013, 12:10 pm

I like the small setback and think the overall design is pretty good. I'm going to take issue with the (presumably) fake windows in the mezzanine area -- I think I'd rather see the 2nd-floor apartments pushed out flush with the ground floor, with the cornice moved between the 2nd and 3rd floor, but I get the sense that would require a lot of redesign to the ground-level facade area to fix the proportions again.

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby Didier » August 23rd, 2013, 1:15 pm

Like twincitizen, I think the timing of this one is in bad taste and the justification isn't nearly "home run" as the Opus development, so I'm not a strong proponent of this one at all.

That said, I was just reading the City Pages "story" about this one.
Opponents of the Opus project worried that it would open the floodgates for more density in Dinkytown, thereby destroying the character of the historic campus neighborhood. (Supporters of the project essentially argued more density is the price of progress.) For better or worse, it appears the floodgates are now open indeed, as this week Doran Companies unveiled plans for another six-story, mixed-use development that would neighbor the Opus project.
That parenthetical in there is just ridiculous. The proponents didn't argue that "density is the price of progress." They argued that a surface parking lot and cheap one-story buildings aren't "character" that needs to be saved. The truly historic buildings in Dinkytown aren't going anywhere.

And characterizing density as a "price," as if it is some negative characteristic for one of the most urban areas of our city, is ridiculous.

I want to sympathize with the "Save Dinkytown" crowd more, but the arguments made against these developments are so off base that it's hard. They should be working to ensure that any new (inevitable) development is of high quality, not throwing up opposition to anything and characterizing density in Dinkytown as being a "price" for progress. Dinkydown by definition is supposed to be dense. It is supposed to be its own, self-sustaining "dinky" town, not a parking lot.

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby Silophant » August 23rd, 2013, 1:19 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:What is the issue with redeveloping a healthy, active part of the streetscape with a new, healthy/active streetscape (assuming curb-cut issues resolved)?
No issue. I'll be perfectly happy to see this built. I just don't plan to fight for it like I did for the Opus project.

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby RailBaronYarr » August 23rd, 2013, 1:39 pm

^ Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you were in opposition. Yes, I don't see myself being ardently in support of this project compared to the Opus one. I think the problem is that, as always, there are so few people "in favor" of a free-market transaction and development like this. Certainly, the ground space would be leased and the units rented, but how do we help promote a positive attitude towards something that will undoubtedly see staunch opposition from groups like SD without being ardently in support due to what it's replacing?

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby Didier » August 23rd, 2013, 2:14 pm

I'm sure this has been beaten to death somewhere else, but does anybody know what the situation is with the SE corner of 14th and 5th, where there's currently a parking lot, Pizza Hut, and converted yoga studio (formerly Blockbuster)?

Of the four primary Dinkytown blocks that is by far the most obvious place for redevelopment, but perhaps the ownership situation is trick or something?

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby Snelbian » August 23rd, 2013, 2:31 pm

The renderings of the ground floor remind me much more of Blair Arcade than of a warehouse.

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Nathan
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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby Nathan » August 23rd, 2013, 3:20 pm

I'm also not huge on this, if it gets done, then great, if not, ok. If this was proposed for an area that had no current street frontage, I'd be behind it more.

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby martykoessel » August 23rd, 2013, 5:23 pm

Leaving aside the debate about architectural quality, density and such, there's one aspect of this project that truly rankles--the two curb cuts on 4th. This block is now friendly to pedestrians, and adding two places where people would need to beware of cars entering and exiting is a horrible idea. Moreover, traffic on this stretch of 4th is very heavy, and additional disruptions to the traffic flow could be disruptive to both vehicles and pedestrians. Imagine an SUV blocking the sidewalk while the driver waits for a break in the traffic. Not a pretty picture!

My gut reaction is that unless Doran can find a way to design access from 13th Ave. SE, the Planning Committee should nix this project.

sedluhs
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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby sedluhs » August 23rd, 2013, 5:46 pm

Since the two curb cuts seem to get mentioned often, I think it is worth pointing out that the eastern curb cut is already there and does not appear to be related to this project ... this project is only adding one, not two.

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby Silophant » August 23rd, 2013, 8:38 pm

Welcome to the board, sedluhs!

I was about to say the same thing - the eastern curb cut doesn't seem to have anything to do with the project besides bordering it.

For the western curb cut, as I've said, now that the majority of the parking area is blocked off pending the start of the Opus project, the tunnel through the old bank building has been reopened and now provides access to the remainder of the parking lot. I agree with the argument that Doran should find an easement to access their building from 13th or 5th, but it's dishonest to say this project will be adding a curb cut.

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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby FISHMANPET » August 23rd, 2013, 8:55 pm

Well I believe they will be adding 1, for the parking in the building. The Opus development has opened up 1, and the Alley next to Tony's already exists.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Doran Dinkytown Development

Postby FISHMANPET » August 23rd, 2013, 9:13 pm

Alright, I'm gearing up for a fight. Not because I feel as strongly about this project as I did about Opus, but simply to keep the level of debate elevated. Not that I can paint the entire Save Dinkytown movement with a single brush (though this particular commenter is happy to do the same to the pro-development side), but this is what I'm going to fight against (All quotes from the Dinkytown not Megatown Facebook page, made by a single person):
The lead pro-Megatown commenters reciting from their scripts kept saying "it's just a measly little parking lot!" This proves them wrong -- it was actually the start of the full-scale assault on Dinkytown.
By the way, I just visited the Facebook site of one of the biggest backers of the zoning change that heralded this move. I was going to post a link to this and ask him if he still thinks the zoning change was all just about replacing one little old parking lot with something really nifty. But he only allows friends to leave comments. Oh, well. ;)
This one is in response to a question as to whether or not the group should still exist:
Keep it going. Document their actions. Show they lie when they say that "All we wanted the zoning change for was to get rid of an icky old parking lot".


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