Smaller Scale Infill Development

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Nathan
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Smaller Scale Infill Development

Postby Nathan » August 14th, 2012, 12:37 pm

I was reading about some of the new Development going on in CLE (why? because I'm a nerd who knows). They have some pretty interesting things going on. What I was most excited to see were Townhomes. I KNOW most people on here just want height, but I want density, and great neighborhoods. There are soooo many prime places for developments like this. I know developers want to make their money, but Why can't 4-25 unit buildings be profitable for them? I don't know a whole lot about the business aspect of this, but I like how they fit in neighborhoods, and if CLE can do it, why can't we?

Examples in CLE:

Image

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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby mplsjaromir » August 14th, 2012, 12:43 pm

I'm all for more density. As long as you do not have irregular facades like the dwellings above. Just make them normal and face the block. The 1970s were a bad time for new housing design, do not bring it back.

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Nathan
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby Nathan » August 14th, 2012, 12:58 pm

Are you referring to their actual architecture or the fact that the units aren't square to the street?

I think these examples are great, modern architecture, and have a much more urban scale and set back than most 70's development projects.

I would only propose buildings like this as good infill in residential areas like Uptown, Northloop, Elliot Park, North East.

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Nathan
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby Nathan » August 14th, 2012, 1:02 pm

I'm often driving by these and thinking about how they are a nice residential scale, but create good density, and fit well into the neighborhood. Weather the architecture is traditional or more modern.

http://goo.gl/maps/XNmK9

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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby mplsjaromir » August 14th, 2012, 1:21 pm

Not so much the design, but the fact that the set back is irregular. Unless it sits on an odd parcel it is likely a poor use of land as well. Referring to the first photo.

I think the Le Corbusier style tower in the park and blank wall urbanism is what really sucked about the 70s. But you see lots of irregular facades from that era as well. I am not an expert, just my observations.

This is tangential but I like what Grant Park did in regard its townhomes. They surrounded the parking structure with neighborhood appropriate normal facade townhomes. I think many people would have a hard time dating when they were built. Hard to tell there is a massive parking structure because its wrapped in attractive townhomes with porches.

Row houses are cool and I agree there should be more. I like the ones below, I thought they were modern but are 125 years old.
Image

mplsjaromir
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby mplsjaromir » August 14th, 2012, 1:22 pm

ha, great you linked to same ones I was thinking about.

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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby mattaudio » August 14th, 2012, 1:58 pm

Agreed, it's similar to the townhomes that wrap the north side of the parking ramp across from Midtown Market. I like it a lot!

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Nathan
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby Nathan » August 14th, 2012, 2:20 pm

I'm definitely thinking of this as infill, so I'm thinking of a lot of irregular shaped lots and places that we can squeeze some more in. Maybe sometime I'll make a google map of appropriate places.

Off the top of my head:

The metered parking lot SW of the Convention center
Eastern boarder of the School parking lot south of the 1368 La Salle (unlikely)
South of the Guthrie Parking Garage
ALL OVER Elliot Park
East side of the Parking Garage North of 222 (then a cool taller building east of Dolphin Staffing, stepping things up from the river)
North of The Lowry, some facing Hen and some facing Dupont. (in between, maybe develop public pay underground parking with a plaza on top to help accomodate the commercial center Hen/Franklin is becoming...)

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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby Nathan » November 7th, 2012, 11:12 am

Can anyone read this and give us the gist? I'm all for this...

http://finance-commerce.com/2012/11/big ... nneapolis/

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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby woofner » November 12th, 2012, 3:38 pm

While reflecting on the sacrifice of the men who fought and died for my right to get three paid holidays in November (I'm talking about unions of course), I went to the downtown library today to catch up on old F&Cs. Only three projects are mentioned in this article, one of which is Shaefer-Richardson's Cameron rehab in the North Loop, which they are trying to finance as affordable housing now, but no further details. Another is Greenway Heights Family Housing, which is on Bloomington at the greenway and is described here with a pointlessly small watercolor. The third is the only one that's really news - the city got two responses to its RFP for a residential development in the old warehouse next to the Calumet Lofts in Old St Anthony. One of the respondents was Master, which proposed 21 units of market-rate housing. The other was - drum roll, please - Clare Housing, which apparently has gotten over its fear of NIMBY and this time is proposing 23 units.

So I think the article is mostly useful as an indicator that we're building too big, if 2 of 3 featured "small" apartment projects are 40-some units. It's too bad that they didn't mention projects like Tim Springer's 16-unit project, also on the Greenway. Not that there's a whole lot else out there to mention - on my list of 79 proposed or under construction projects in Mpls, the average number of units is 125, and there are only 6 that are 20 units or fewer. I've lived in a few 100-plus unit buildings, and they weren't bad, but you definitely feel more secure and neighborly when there are fewer units.
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby Nathaniel » November 12th, 2012, 10:50 pm

"So I think the article is mostly useful as an indicator that we're building too big, if 2 of 3 featured "small" apartment projects are 40-some units." - Agreed. I'd love to see an environment where we could create row houses or small (say, 10 or less) unit apartment / condo buildings. I think if we're going to have real density and real change, it'll come from those developments - not your (even) "small" 40 unit apartment building.

*Note: I'm not against larger projects, but I think small scale is the way we need to go.

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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby MNdible » November 12th, 2012, 11:44 pm

I don't disagree with you, but unless you're proposing to start your own development business, I'm not sure how we make that happen.

Hypothesizing here, but my guess is that a developer's fee/profit is roughly proportional to the size of the project, but the difficulties of getting a project built probably aren't proportional. That is, getting a 100 unit project built isn't ten times more difficult than getting a 10 unit project built.

I'd also wager that parking may be something of a driver -- if there were a market for five unit projects with no provision of parking, then it might be easier to get these things built. Until that time, until the market doesn't demand parking, there's an economy of scale in providing structured parking.

Finally, you've got things like elevators that you need to have (and that areare expensive) that you'd like to distribute the cost of over more units.

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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby woofner » November 13th, 2012, 1:57 pm

Those are all good points. It would be great if - in times when we can take our pick of developments - we could make it easier to develop the small buildings and harder to develop the large ones. (Although there are certain large developments that we maybe don't want to discourage - the big, tall, glassy ones.) I'm not sure it's possible for a governmental body that values public process to pull off that level of agility, though. Maybe there could be some kind of formula that mandates a certain number of entrances per number of units, depending on horizontal spread, sort of an approximated small scale development.

I'm not sure we have any way of knowing if the market would support no parking - the sort of people who would buy that type of housing are not developing it (with the possible exception of Tim Springer), and certainly no municipality is encouraging it. But at the least I would like to see the parking issue scrutinized - there should be a parking study that is comprehensive enough to predict parking demand - on and off-street - by neighborhood, from which could proceed some decision-making about whether we should relax or eliminate parking minimums and encourage street parking, or contrarily quit providing so much street parking.

The elevator issue is the no-brainer, in my opinion. I don't see why the city should be involved in that particular decision at all, since it's not a question of safety. You could argue that there is a property value interest, but I really don't think it starts at two stories - 3 at least and even 4 is reasonable.
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby MNdible » November 13th, 2012, 2:39 pm

redisciple wrote:I'm not sure we have any way of knowing if the market would support no parking - the sort of people who would buy that type of housing are not developing it (with the possible exception of Tim Springer), and certainly no municipality is encouraging it. But at the least I would like to see the parking issue scrutinized - there should be a parking study that is comprehensive enough to predict parking demand - on and off-street - by neighborhood, from which could proceed some decision-making about whether we should relax or eliminate parking minimums and encourage street parking, or contrarily quit providing so much street parking.

The elevator issue is the no-brainer, in my opinion. I don't see why the city should be involved in that particular decision at all, since it's not a question of safety. You could argue that there is a property value interest, but I really don't think it starts at two stories - 3 at least and even 4 is reasonable.
It would be interesting to ask developers what they would do in the absence of any city parking requirements. We've seen instances where developers have pushed to provide both more and less than city requirements.

As for the elevator, that's required by the federal government via the ADA. There are some ways around it, but if you design a building where unit entrances aren't on the ground level, you pretty much need to provide an elevator -- otherwise, you're saying that people in wheelchairs can't visit those units.

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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby Seth » November 13th, 2012, 9:27 pm

I was always disappointed by the lack of row houses or just higher density housing on small plots in Minneapolis. I don't know what all plays into why that is. Relatively low land values? Zoning ordinances? Plot and lot line issues? Parking like mentioned above? I think this issue is why I'm such a fan of the 520 2nd street project. Good amount of units on a small plot. The Village Lofts development in Northeast and some of the podium/tower developments like Grand Park have done an ok job of at least creating a sense of smaller scale development even those these were major projects.

I don't think we're ever going to see anything like true townhome/rowhome style construction on the scale of San Fransico (http://goo.gl/maps/SCjm8) or Brooklyn (http://goo.gl/maps/twroL -that's my current hood). We might get close to parts of Chicago if we're lucky in high demand neighborhoods (http://goo.gl/maps/vjmLc). I think most of those are a mix of single family and duplexes.

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Nathan
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby Nathan » April 19th, 2013, 10:23 am

Some good stuff here... I am ALL for this kind of stuff in our urban neighborhoods...

http://www.ouruptown.com/2013/03/smalle ... h-america/

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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby PhilmerPhil » April 19th, 2013, 12:34 pm

Is there a way to embed Street View images? Anyways, here are some other good local examples:

Grand Ave S (Minneapolis)
1st Ave S
Hennepin Ave
W 31st St

Any others?

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Nathan
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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby Nathan » April 19th, 2013, 12:56 pm

But most of these are out of the last housing boom, and there is one maybe two projects that would be considered this on the boards right now?

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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby Suburban Outcast » April 20th, 2013, 10:48 pm

Modern Rowhouses in Vancouver's Oakridge Neighbourhood
It would be neat to see something like this on smaller parcels as an alternative to superblocks. These could work well on streets that are 1-2 blocks away from arterial streets or transitways and seem to mix in better with the single-family housing than a 4-6 story structure would. These rowhouses would be good for an infill project where there are smaller-scale surface lots like on 31st and Holmes in Uptown.

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Re: Smaller Scale High Density Housing.

Postby John » April 20th, 2013, 11:27 pm

Suburban Outcast wrote:Modern Rowhouses in Vancouver's Oakridge Neighbourhood
It would be neat to see something like this on smaller parcels as an alternative to superblocks. These could work well on streets that are 1-2 blocks away from arterial streets or transitways and seem to mix in better with the single-family housing than a 4-6 story structure would. These rowhouses would be good for an infill project where there are smaller-scale surface lots like on 31st and Holmes in Uptown.
This type of approach is exactly whats needed for Uptown and other areas. Hopefully , we'll see more of this as the housing market recovers, and it would actually be quite refreshing IMO. As much as I do like some of these apartment projects, I'm a little weary of them , especially their redundant scale and design.


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