Minutes for November 19, 2013

2020 Partners Membership Meeting
HGA, Ford Center

Meeting Minutes – Approved by the 2020 Partners  on January 28, 2014

Attendees: Michael Ahern, Dave Albersman, Don Armstrong, Bill Blanski, Jackie Cherryhomes-Tyler, Matt Clark, Raymond Dehn, Alice Eichholz, Jamil Ford, David Frank, Sam Gagliardi, Jeremy Hanson Willis, Marybeth Harris, Brad Henry, Linda Higgins, Denise Holt, Ezell Jones, Joanne Kaufman, Dan Kenney, Nick Koch, Chuck Leer, David Loehr, Devon Lundy, Sherman Malkerson, Michael McClimon, Peter McLaughlin, Kelly Nelson, Mark Oyaas, Neil Reardon, Peter Roos, Karen Rosar, LJ Rotman, Bob Salmen, John Saunders, Mark Stenglein, Albert Swintek, Marsha Wagner

1.     Welcome and Introductions – Chuck Leer, Chair

2.     Approval of Minutes from 2020 Partners Meeting on September 24, 2013
Minutes were approved and have been posted on The 2020 Partners website.

3.     Target Center Revitalization – Jeremy Hanson Willis, Minneapolis-CPED [Presentation]
Attending his first meeting of The 2020 Partners, Jeremy Hanson Willis began by thanking this group of residents, business owners and community leaders for its leadership and work on this part of Downtown Minneapolis.

The City of Minneapolis has reached agreement with the Timberwolves | Lynx (Team) and AEG on the first phase of renovation of Target Center. Two years ago, in the same piece of legislation that approved the Vikings Stadium, the legislature provided funding resources to renovate Target Center. Since then the City has been working with the Team and AEG to look at how those funds would be spent; it also convened an Implementation Committee.

Target Center has a direct economic impact on downtown; it is busier than any other arena in the state. Built in 1990, it has been underinvested and is showing its age, with considerable wear and tear. It is older than the Metrodome, and is the second oldest arena in the country, but the decision to renovate was made because it’s a more sustainable, practical alternative than tearing it down and rebuilding. With these renovations, the Team and AEG have extended their partnerships with the City through 2032.

The total renovation project cost is $97 Million. In a 50/50 public/private investment deal, the City put in half ($48.5M), the Team 44.3% ($43M), and AEG 5.7% ($5.5M). The City is also making an ongoing capital investment over the next 20 years of $50 Million. The scope of the project includes the following improvements:

  • Building operations and back of house – stage relocation and energy conservation measures
  • Fan and public space, resulting in a completely different look on every level – box office/lobby, concourses, new skyway connection, renovating/adding bathrooms, food courts and concessions, and reconfiguring bowl seating
  • Premium spaces and suites – new club spaces on levels 1 and 2, club space improvements on levels 4 and 5
  • Team locker rooms and facilities
  • Outside building shell – media mesh and signage, creating a 360 degree experience with Target Field and the entertainment district
  • Technology – sound, acoustics, equipment upgrades, new scoreboard and ribbon board

A new Arena Design Group will guide design and construction of the Target Center renovation. It will be composed of six members, three of which will be appointed by the City, and three by the Team. This group will make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on selection of an architect and construction manager, minimum design standards and arena construction plans, and ongoing capital investments.

Next steps will be to finalize formal agreements with the Team and AEG based on approval of the term sheets, hire an owners representative, and initiate the process to select an architect and construction manager; RFPs are expected to be issued by the end of 2013 or early in 2014. The Implementation Committee will be reconvened for three-six months of design work; their next meeting is scheduled for December 9. Construction will begin in mid-2014.

Q: Will the renovated Target Center provide for more attractions? Are they looking at ways to use it to make some money?
A: Target Center will primarily be used for basketball and as a major concert venue, with more/larger concerts due to technology upgrades. General use will remain the same; there is a lot of activity in the arena, but we hope to bring in more people for these events. If they have a positive experience they will come back, which will make it more profitable.

Q: What is the time frame for completion?
A: 18-24 months. We hope to keep the building operational the entire time, so it might take longer than that.

Q: Will Lifetime Fitness remodeling its space?
A: Yes. The City reached an agreement with them in March. They will spend $5-6 Million to renovate their space, using their own money. The resulting club will go up many levels in Lifetime’s scale. There is a possibility that the Team will be moving its practice facility from Target Center, possibly to Block E, and that would free up more space for Lifetime.

Q: Event when there isn’t a major event there are always people coming and going. Will there be a way to connect with the broader community about what events are going on at Target Center – big name entertainer or well-known team?
A: That’s a great observation. The building is filled all the time, we just don’t see it. When we begin the conversation on improvements to the outside, we’ll focus on opening the building up, adding more glass so people can see what is happening inside, mostly on the Sixth Street side.

Chuck Leer added that the 2020 Partners, beginning with DAG 360, has focused on making Minneapolis a walkable city. He offered the services of 2020 Partners to help add value and continue the conversation on the streetscape. Mr. Hanson Willis said that streetscape is not part of the current plan, what improvements to make all around the building and how to fund them. They want to make sure the entire experience is a good one.

4.     Transit Development Updates – Hennepin County Commissioners Peter McLaughlin and Linda Higgins
a.  Central Corridor – This is a good news story. Construction is 97% complete, on-time, and it will open before the All-Star Game on a non-ballgame weekend. There will be events at all stations, with a significant one at the Target Field Station. More than 100,000 people rode the Hiawatha Line on its opening weekend; they are anticipating the same or more ridership when Central Corridor comes online.

b.  The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Target Field Station (formerly known as the Interchange) will take place on May 17, and there is a Twins game that day. They are hoping that 2020 Partners will participate in creating the programming for that event. Hennepin County has reached an agreement with the Twins and United Properties for upgrade of installations, i.e. video display board; that consortium is contributing $750,000. Retail is being added on Fifth Street. Metro Transit is building its police headquarters nearby, with United Properties having air rights to develop on top of that.

c.  Southwest has been stalled by Governor Dayton’s decision to get public input on and allow for additional studies about freight rerouting and other issues related to the project. Yet he remains committed to getting it done on time, by late 2018. They will be studying options and alternatives regarding freight rerouting, and doing a complete inventory on trees and landscaping that will be taken out; Commissioner McLaughlin surmised that ten years from now the new landscape will look better than it does now. Commissioner Higgins added that when she thinks of the current landscape, its “buckthorn, buckthorn, oak, buckthorn, buckthorn, elm, …” Water is an iconic feature of Minneapolis, and studies are being done on the potential impact on water quality and level to see what can be done that won’t harm our lakes. There will be monitoring during and after construction. The five cities involved along the line have to approve the plan. Commissioner McLaughlin finds it disheartening to hear the belief of some that there’s no benefit to Minneapolis with the Southwest line. It is a regional project that is essential for Minneapolis; the center stays in downtown Minneapolis.

Addressing the Bottineau line, Commissioner Higgins reported that it is in project development with station area planning meetings being held around Van White and in Golden Valley. They need to determine how stations will look, and how they can reflect the needs of nearby residents. Commissioner Opat has been meeting with business people in the northwest suburbs about opportunities to expand, grow, and possibly move their businesses next to the stations. Metro Transit has proposed bus rapid transit from Penn Avenue north to 49th Street to connect Bottineau with Southwest.

d.  The Royalston Station has a name and it’s on the map. Commissioner McLaughlin said that the railroad industry has changed, there has been a huge volume increase. We need to decide what’s best for the community. Mr. Leer added that at the Steering Committee meeting on November 14, the City and County did a presentation on the Transitional Station Area Action Plan; hopefully they can make that presentation at the January 21 meeting of The 2020 Partners. This ties in with the Farmers Market initiative—what could be, connections, helping us see what is possible.

5.     Minnesota Ballpark Authority – Dan Kenney, Executive Director, Minnesota Ballpark Authority
One of the three art projects selected for Target Field Station is being relocated. Zoran’s large stone bench, rather than being placed on top of a parking lot, is moving to Fifth Street, in front of the retail area.

6.     Property Development Updates
a. United Properties – John Saunders
United Properties’ development group has acquired the Shapco site for a 200,000 square foot project, similar in size to Ford Center. It will be a tremendous boon, bringing 800-900 more jobs to the area. It is expected to be completed by late 2015. At 701 Washington Avenue, the Loose Wiles building, the Loose Wiles Freehouse will be opening on December 9.

7.     Farmers Market Initiative
See Item 4.d., above.

8.     2020 Partners – Website / Map of Development since 2006
Using data from building permits, David Frank reported that there has been $459 Million in new development spawned by Target Field since the summer of 2006. Chair Leer added that Target Field is more than a ballpark, and that the dollar amount is conservative. It also does not include recent projects like Target Center and the Shapco site, so it will soon be well into the $600 Million range.

9.     West Loop – Neil Reardon and Devon Lundy, UrbanWorks [Pre-Project Summary]
With its office located on North Third Street, in what they refer to as the West Loop, UrbanWorks saw a need for a vision for this part of the city and wondered if it will ever be something. Their analysis revealed that it was not connected (great for cars but not pedestrians), not safe, not intentional (or planned), and not functional as it currently exists. UrbanWorks believes the whole could be made better with a thoughtful vision, and showed several examples of developments in other cities that improved connections and streetscapes.

Several key themes were cited that would make this a “place”:

  • Quality public space
  • An outdoor room – open space, green space
  • Traditional urban street grid
  • Varied and quality dense development, an eclectic mix of types of buildings

Differentiators include being intergenerational, creative and entrepreneurial, and intentional diversity with schools, Farmers Market, condominiums, etc. They broke the West Loop into several sub-districts: Glenwood, Royalston, Hub (Target Field), Oak Lake to the north, and Causeway. The West Loop is composed of large property blocks, with overhead bridges spanning the neighborhood, containing mostly small scattered buildings with a few large ones mixed in. Thirty percent of it is public land, owned by the City, County or Metro Transit.

Going forward, they believe there is value in modifying and changing some infrastructure, such as converting Olson Memorial Highway to Olson Memorial Boulevard at the time of the building of the light rail running down the center. Other examples include narrowing the right-of way on many side streets, and in certain places adding mid-block pedestrian and bicycle connectors. Fourth Street, the I-94 finger, is 32 years old; it could be brought down to grade, similar to San Francisco’s Octavia Boulevard. Adding private development of the highest and best use for office and residential use. Bassett Creek could be daylit instead of tunneled, or at minimum become a linear park. The Farmers Market is functional and gets the job done, but is not a destination, and is only used May-October, Saturdays and Sundays; it could be coupled with an indoor market to expand the available hours of operation, and the outdoor Farmer’s Market could be used as a park/plaza during the time it is not a farmer’s market. In summary the West Loop’s whole could be made better with a thoughtful vision, intentional planning, appropriate infrastructure, and investing in the public realm.

David Frank said he loves a presentation that shows the 94 ramps gone, and suggested they use their map to show public right of way since there’s such a huge percentage of public land ownership. Jamil Ford spoke to connectivity, saying that driving is easy but walking from the Farmers Market to the business district downtown is not. He said I-94 is an invisible wall, and suggested loosening up hardscapes. Mr. Reardon said they believe that there is value to be added by taking down the causeway starting where it transcends above and below Plymouth Avenue to where it meets Third and Fourth Streets at Second Avenue North; secondarily there’s a natural connection for Lyndale to turn southeast with a new bridge and connect down Fifth Street instead of diverting to the west as it does now. These two changes would go a long way to re-connecting the north side to Downtown, the North Loop, and the West Loop.

Nick Koch suggested some public official involvement, and encouraged them to find police crime reports for this area. Chuck Leer suggested the imposition of more of a grid network for streets, and asked how they propose breaking up the grid into smaller blocks. Mr. Reardon said some of these could happen in conjunction with re-platting as redevelopment occurs over time. Some block connections are easy, others more difficult, but any changes would have to involve the City, County, and perhaps MN-DOT.

Commissioner McLaughlin, citing the Woolen Mills and Midtown Greenway projects asked what would be a catalytic event to get the ball rolling, get these plans implemented. Ensuing discussion brought forth several ideas: the obvious connection between Royalston and the Farmers Market requires the least amount of change to be viable; North Fifth Street is the best connection to downtown and there is a natural progression for development on 5th from southeast to northwest; finding a better connection from the Basilica/south end of Hennepin to the Farmers Market; tie in with the Southwest Area Station Area Plan since the public/private partnership has to start with private.

10.  2020 Partners Meeting Schedule
The next meeting of the 2020 Partners will be on Tuesday, January 21, 2014. [Subsequently changed to Tuesday, January 28, 2014]
All meetings will be held at HGA’s office in the Ford Center, from 5:00-6:30 p.m., unless otherwise specified in the meeting notices.

 

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