Minutes for March 20, 2012

2020 Partners Membership Meeting
HGA, Ford Center

Meeting Minutes – Draft

Attendees: Paul Adelmann, Loren Ahles, Dave Albersman, Dennis Alfton, Kathleen Anderson, Don  Armstrong, Chuck  Ballentine, Steve  Berg, Bret Borth, Susan Braun, Peter Bruce, Matt  Clark, Raymond  Dehn, Dan Duffy, Brent Erickson, David Fields, Jamil Ford, David Galey, Reed Gilkey, Brian Hage, Sarah Harris, Brad Henry, Denise  Holt, Kenny Horns, Ezell Jones, Kim Kalinoski, Joanne  Kaufman, Dan  Kenney, Nick Koch, Chuck Leer, Robb Leer, David Loehr, Steve Luthman, Sherman Malkerson, Cory Merrifield, Carl  Michaud, Bill  O’Reilly, Mike  Opat, Mark  Oyaas, Duane Petersen, Kit  Richardson, Peter Roos, Karen Rosar, David Spillman, Mark  Stenglein, Ralph  Strangis, Carletta  Sweet, Albert Swintek, Marsha Wagner, Dale White

1. Welcome and Introductions – Chuck Leer

2. Approval of Minutes from February 21 – Stadium Metrics Meeting Draft minutes were approved and have been posted on The 2020 Partners website.

3. Downtown 2025 Plan – Sarah Harris, Downtown Improvement District

Starting with the principles outlined in DAG-360, more than 100 business leaders, public officials and citizens assembled to work on the Downtown 2025 Plan. The ten goals they came up with fit within the following four elements.

First Element: Development

  • Double the residential population in DT Minneapolis from 36,100 currently to 70,000, and increase housing units
  • Add 3 million square feet of office space
  • Add 1,100 hotel rooms to attract additional convention and tourism business
  • Add 200,000 square feet of retail – already adding two grocery stores (Lunds and Whole Foods), which furthers the goal of adding residential population, and subsequently leads to more office development
  • Creating a Downtown Sports District
  • Forge connections to the University of Minnesota

Second Element: Community

  • End street homelessness
  • Launch a festival of ideas to draw people from around the region, country and world
  • Educated workforce – from K-12 to college
  • Connections with University of Minnesota

Third Element: Public Realm

  • Connections are critical to downtown Minneapolis, specifically Nicollet Mall, Hennepin Avenue, and First Avenue
  • In the integrated world (residential/business/entertainment) we need to provide an active environment
  • Build Gateway Park to add green space
  • Create a Green infrastructure – tree canopy, green corridors, embankments
  • Connect the Riverfront to Downtown Minneapolis
  • Skyway connections – don’t get rid of them, but return them to a commuter function, and provide more and better access to street level
  • Public restrooms
  • Transportation options – Interchange, downtown circulator

Fourth Element: Downtown Experience

  • In great cities the walking experience matters, and currently the walk from the Walker to the Guthrie is disconnected – we need to create a consistently compelling experience by adding programming to draw people Downtown
  • On Hennepin Avenue’s Cultural Corridor, there are 55 institutions from the Walker to the River
  • We need to create a vibrant and compelling experience 24/7/365 – working, home life and social life are all connected

Why should we try to accomplish the goals set out by the Downtown 2025 Plan?

  • Minneapolis is competing with other cities in the nation and world to attract businesses, employees, residents and tourism
  • Although people don’t come here for the weather, we need to create more of an outdoor experience
  • People come here for cultural, sports and natural amenities, and our overall quality of life

Ms. Harris spoke to the importance of various features of DT2025:

  • Downtown Gateway Park on Nicollet Avenue from Fifth Street to the River, offering a variety of experiences, and of intensifying the tree canopy through Downtown.
  • Consistently Compelling Experience: connecting assets, intuitive routes, and reactivating the sidewalk level, returning skyways to a commuter function. Citing the perception that Downtown streets are filled with loiterers and panhandlers, she discussed the 1:40 rule set out by Jane Jacobs: If streets are populated in a ratio of 1 panhandler to every 40 people, the panhandlers are not noticed as much.

To further the Greening of Downtown Minneapolis, a Conservancy is being created: Greening Non Profit Organization, to work with public and private leadership to coordinate efforts, including transforming/redesigning Nicollet Mall. The presentation, which included many photographic examples from other cities, can be found on The 2020 Partners website: Downtown 2025 Presentation. To see the full plan, including a downloadable PDF: Downtown 2025 Plan. Ms. Harris also referenced a handout, and directed people who wanted to get involved to the website.

Comments and questions:

Q: The Cedar Lake Trail is in place and ready to go – will that be tied in?

A: Yes, they will look at that.

Q: Speaking to the desires to add schools in DT Minneapolis, the one currently at Hennepin and 10th is not publicized.

A: That school is part of the west metro school district, and there’s a lottery to get in.

Q: Does that mean that more people want to be there than can get in?

A: Yes.

Q: Will the water works plan for old Fuji Ya site on the river be incorporated?

A: Yes, we need to make the connection. That’s a great plan.

Q: Is there a structure to implement the DT 2025 Plan?

A: Yes. The Downtown Council will pull together the Implementation Committee. In the last plan, all 10 items were achieved, so there’s a history of getting things done. They need [citizens] to tell them their interests, and will be looking at measurables over time.

Q: The 100 civic and business leaders who worked on the DT 2025 Plan advanced a different plan for the Vikings Stadium than the one currently under consideration.

A: DT 2025 Plan focuses on a Sports District involving transit, economic development and entertainment. The number one goal is to keep the Vikings in Minnesota, number two is to keep them in Downtown Minneapolis. The Metrodome is not a perfect site; the one near Target Field is better. If the current plan is approved, we will find ways to support it.

Commissioner Mark Stenglein, who will take over as President of the Downtown Council on June 1, affirmed that his goal is to keep the Vikings in Downtown Minneapolis, preferably in the area near Target Field.

4. Urban Land Institute Report – Nick Koch, HGA

Having referenced this report previously, Nick briefly went through it, pointing out the similarities to development plans currently being proposed. ULI is a nonprofit research and education organization with nearly 40,000 members worldwide. To set the context, following the collapse of the 35W bridge, a panel convened with an assignment to consider the areas around the site, improve connections among neighborhoods, define a vision for the area, and identify opportunities. The panelists were out-of-towners, with an unbiased and national perspective.

In their report, they cited these initial observations about the area:

  • Power of people working together
  • Concern for quality of place, design, life
  • Multiplicity of organizations and authorities
  • Small area plans, big picture questions?
  • Enormous strength of core anchors: Downtown and University/medical centers

The panel saw the importance of making connections, and the challenges of incomplete connections among and between the major forces: University/medical centers; Downtown; Neighborhoods; and arts, culture and entertainment. A quarter of a million workers, students and visitors move through the area every day. Referring to Washington Avenue as “Midtown” they advised making that the key, with ties to Seven Corners, bridging over the freeway trough.

The ULI’s goals for housing, office and retail/entertainment development, and expansion of education, hospital/medical and waterfront, are all in lockstep with those put forth by the DT2025 Plan. It’s all kind of flowing together with other development ideas being proposed for the area. To summarize, they came up with the following Six Principles for the Future. The ULI Report can be found on The 2020 Partners website: ULI Report.

  1. Continue infill
  2. Value and strengthen anchors: Downtown and University/Medical
  3. Expand diversity and mix
  4. Both mixed income and mixed use
  5. Recognize the river
  6. Tighten up the connections

5. Stadium Metrics: “Square Pegs and Round Holes” – Mark Oyaas, Neerland & Oyaas, Inc. – Dave Albersman, Albersman & Armstrong, Ltd.

Chuck Leer made the disclaimer that he is representing some landowners in the Farmers Market/Target Field area, and invited anyone who had an issue with that to speak out so it could be addressed. He introduced this presentation by reminding us that the continuing discussion about stadium metrics is all about city building. Working with the downtown neighborhood groups they had a more thorough, broad-based discussion on the elements defined in the Scorecard.

Mr. Oyaas began by noting that this presentation is not necessarily the viewpoint of The 2020 Partners, but it is the view of those who want to see this development. He gave some background: Last summer Dave Albersman, Bruce Lambrecht and Oyaas developed and delivered a presentation on what happened to the sports corridor? Even though, according to Oyaas, they were like the Three Stooges (all were “Moes”), they continued to develop the discussion. In February the 2020 Partners hosted a Brown Bag session on this topic, and those results were refined at a special meeting of The 2020 Partnes in February. Following that, they met with downtown neighborhoods. Through all this they realized that stadium metrics represented only about one-third of the story, and developed this presentation: Square Pegs & Round Holes.

Quoting Nick Koch, “Well begun is halfway done,” Oyaas reiterated that this presentation furthers the DAG 360 principles: green and sustainable, connections, transportation hub, identity, and vitality. It features the medical/housing district in Downtown East, potential site locations, and light rail transit. The highest and best land use matches those set forth in previous presentations on the DT2025 Plan and ULI Report. Round Pegs were identified: Target Center, Target Field, Block E, Theaters, First Avenue Entertainment. Square Pegs: Hennepin County Medical Center, Mill City Clinic, American Academy of Neurology, Housing.

Today’s catalysts include: Vikings Stadium and Professional Soccer Stadium (round pegs), and HCMC Ambulatory Clinic and “Be the Match” National Bone Marrow Donor Program offices (square pegs). To show what fits where, the round pegs were moved into the Stadium District, and the square pegs into Metrodome East. The conclusion is that some proposals have been trying to put square pegs into round holes, and vice versa, instead of putting them where they fit. Having conclude that this was a brilliant plan, Don Armstrong reminded them that the City of Minneapolis adopted this scenario in its October 2003 Downtown East / North Loop Master Plan.

With the billion dollar investment for the Vikings Stadium, we should maximize the public benefit:

  • Establish long-term redevelopment for Downtown Minneapolis
  • Maximize tax base
  • Minimize tax-exempt property
  • Synergy/compatible anchor uses
  • Leverage existing public infrastructure
  • Jobs
  • Housing

With the final question, “Does putting square pegs in round holes maximize public benefit?” we were encouraged to stop and think.

Karen Rosar, an active member of The 2020 Partners and a member of the North Loop Neighborhood Association, opened the discussion by saying she was glad that [The 2020 Partners] are expanding and drilling down, and wondered if we couldn’t expand this conversation, adding the efforts and resources of The 2020 Partners into the Downtown East Neighborhood. That would be a more comprehensive approach, not leaving any part of downtown out of the mix. Oyaas affirmed that this is the only forum where this depth of discussion is currently taking place.

In the ensuing discussion several key realities and points were noted:

  • Metrodome East is the only Stadium site currently being promoted. If it happens, we need to reshape the pegs and deal with that reality. Nothing that happens at this meeting will affect an alternate result. If the Metrodome East site is not approved during the current legislative session, we will have an opportunity to influence consideration of the Stadium District site.
  • The Metrodome is not an adequate facility, and unless a new stadium is built they will move.
  • The Vikings are not moving right now, and can’t be moved or sold, until their next window of opportunity: January 1 – February 15, 2013.
  • The consensus is that we want the Vikings Stadium in Downtown Minneapolis, but business owners have contingency plans. It is okay to be prepared and move forward.
  • The 2020 Partners are focused on the area around Target Field and have done great things, but it’s time to do great things in a larger area.

Chair Leer concluded the discussion by stating that 2020 Partners gives voice to opinions and views to get something done. “Both/And” came out of discussions with neighborhood groups. The public wins if we leverage best possible outcomes; that will only happen if we make it happen – East and West – to structure a deal. This is the biggest deal ever for Downtown Minneapolis in terms of dollars. We are not going to lose the Vikings.

Action item: Karen Rosar proposed that we not confine the boundaries of The 2020 Partners just to the area around Target Field, but to expand to include Elliot Park/Downtown East. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

6. Interchange Project Update – Chuck Ballentine, Interchange Project Office

In his briefing on developments with the Interchange, Chuck Ballentine outlined progress made to date, and goals for 2013 and 2014. The total project area will be 152,000 square feet. They are moving forward with three proposals that were submitted in response to the design/build RFP.

Ballentine pointed out that a Redevelopment Plan is being promoted for the area contiguous to the Interchange. You can see the PPT presentation and details about the Redevelopment Plan on The 2020 Partners website: Interchange Presentation.

Q: Is there any change that HERC will supply heating/cooling into the North Loop?

A: Yes, and they will get hot water onto the Interchange site, to melt snow on the plaza so shoveling will not be necessary.

Q: What about the lower site? What is being proposed?

A: Nothing specific yet.

Q: The city has spent money on bring back street cars. Are they being thought about at all?

A: There is no layout for streetcars on the current network. We are adaptable – if streetcars show up, maybe on Seventh Street as there’s no room on Fifth Street.

7. Next meeting: Tuesday, May 15, 2012, location TBD.

 

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