Minutes from July 26, 2016

2020 Partners Membership Meeting

HGA, Ford Center

Meeting Minutes – Approved by The 2020 Partners on 9/27/2016

Attendees: Dave Albersman, Kathleen Anderson, Bruce Bahneman, Joey Betland, Tim Bildsoe, Josh Brandsted, Joan Campbell, Pierce Canser, Michael Dwyer, Alice Eichholz, Chelsey Falzone, Jamil Ford, David Frank, Jacob Frey, Lucy Galbraith, Doug Harvey, Steve Healy, Diane Hofstede, Tricia Holden, Denise Holt, Lydia Jensen, Joanne Kaufman, Dan Kenney, Brian Kimmes, Nick Koch, Rick Kreuser, David Loehr, Sherman Malkerson, Peter McLaughlin, Maureen Michalski, Ra’eesa Motala, Pat Nelson, Mark Oyaas, Katya Pilling, Keith Prussing, Neil Reardon, Peter Roos, Eric Roper, Karen Rosar, Rick Rud, Brian Shekleton, Mark Stenglein, Ralph Strangis, Brad Swenson, Carletta Sweet, Albert Swintek, Marsha Wagner, Dale White

1. Call to Order and Introductions – Nick Koch, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:11 pm.

2. Approval of Minutes from 2020 Partners Meeting on May 24, 2016
Minutes were APPROVED and have been posted on The 2020 Partners website.

3. 2020 Work Plan Update – Nick Koch
The Steering Committee has been diligent about reaching out to members to determine what is important to them. Because of the state legislature’s failure to approve a bonding bill or transportation bill we are on pause with some of our Work Plan. The content of this meeting will help inform what we do going forward.

4. Property Development Updates – Nick Koch
Nick read some of the property development items listed in the May 24 meeting minutes.
2020 Partners members know there is a lot going on in the neighborhood.

5. Transit Development Update – Brian Shekleton, Policy Aide to Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin
Nick recalled that on June 23, 2016 the Steering Committee submitted a strongly-worded letter [link] to legislative leaders advocating for transit and development which ties into our mission statement. The West Market District adopted it verbatim and added their signatures. Governor Dayton’s office submitted it for publication to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Saint Paul Pioneer Press; it was not published in either publication.

Brian Shekleton acknowledged that The 2020 Partners has been behind several large projects in the neighborhood, including Target Field and Target Field Station, and thanked members for their support. Although the June 23 letter was not published it was widely circulated at the legislature and seen by leadership in both parties. The issue of transit funding is currently at a stalemate, and there is no updated list showing where legislators currently stand on the issue.

There have been rumors that a special session may be called in August following the primary, and it is also rumored that Southwest Light Rail would not be included. If that is the case there are several options for funding the project, none of them good. Hennepin County collecting the funding through property taxes is one possibility, but it essentially takes others off the hook. In talking about this issue with people outstate it is important to be clear about what this opportunity represents.

On the positive side, last week the federal government green-lighted the Southwest light rail project to move forward to engineering, which is the next step or essentially “build it.” The State of Minnesota still needs to come up with ten percent, or $135 million, of the funding. Also, Senator David Hann who represents Eden Prairie and is the Republican leader in the state senate, has been a diehard opponent of Southwest light rail. Apparently a poll was done in his district and 64 percent of residents in that district support this project. It is hopeful this will sway his stand against SWLRT.

Council Member Jacob Frey said it would be a shame to lose a project where we are only required to put in ten percent. Several members pointed out that while the $135 million price tag for the state has been widely published, it has not been played up that the figure represents only ten percent of the total project cost. Brian said this financial logic is lost on legislators he and Peter have met with, and in their engagements with legislators they have not been able to persuade any to change their position.

Transportation/transit funding has become a partisan issue at the legislature. A bipartisan list of mayors from across the state signed a letter asking the legislature to pass the transportation bill and include transit. County commissioners and staff from all but four counties from across the state made the same request. The response from elected officials was that they were receiving too much contact from their hometown leadership, which was a bizarre response.

Nick asked if it made sense to adopt another unanimous resolution in support of transportation funding and transit. The consensus was that it did make sense and it was approved by affirmation. If/when requested by Commissioner McLaughlin or others to take specific action we will communicate that to our membership. Brian also asked that our members contact legislative leaders personally to urge them to support funding for transit.

6. Farmers Market Update – David Frank, Director, Minneapolis Economic Policy and Development
Two months ago Neil Reardon from Urban Works and David announced that the study of the Farmers Market redevelopment scenario was nearing completion. The study is now complete and they are working with the Minneapolis City Council to select a date to report back to a Committee of the Whole. About a year ago the City began reviewing its real estate assets and the City Council directed city staff to explore options for the Farmers Market. An RFP went out and Urban Works was selected to study three options: (1) make some improvements to the existing market but essential leave it alone; (2) do an expansion somewhere in the area; and (3) move the market to create more of a district look. The proposed staff recommendation (which has not yet been made to the City Council) is that the Market remain where it is with some prudent short-term functionality improvements (i.e. water, electricity, bathrooms, safety) with minimal financial investment. Staff will also continue to work with development partners and others toward an expanded indoor, year-round facility in addition to the existing Market. This takes into consideration other key infrastructure investments of interest to both the City and The 2020 Partners: the Border connection to Glenwood, and pedestrian connection through/from the Royalston Station to the Farmers Market.

7. 6th Avenue Historic Reconstruction Update; Minneapolis Parking Rules – David Frank
David said that the 2011 Heritage Street Plan included Third Street, Second Avenue, Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue North. The plan was to re-use existing bricks in the Sixth Avenue North reconstruction, which is now underway. The original end date of the reconstruction was October. Due to some utility issues it will be concluded in November. [Discussion of Minneapolis Parking Rules was deferred to later in the meeting.]

8. 2020 Partners Outreach and Funding – Ralph Strangis, Kaplan Strangis Kaplan; Advisor to The 2020 Partners
Nick announced that Ted Johnson of the Minnesota Timberwolves | Lynx reached out to Mayo Clinic, and they are now a large financial sponsor of The 2020 Partners. A representative from the Mayo Clinic could not attend this meeting but they plan to join us for the September meeting.

Ralph Strangis said that most of the sponsors shown on our website contribute at the $5,000 level, but to do more in terms of involvement with Farmers Market, transit, connections and other projects we want to enhance that budget through other means. Ralph recalled an announcement made in May that the East Downtown Council had received a $25,000 grant from the City and a $25,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation to change its name to East Town and do some projects in the area. Members of the Steering Committee wondered if The 2020 Partners should receive the same kind of support and recognition from the City, McKnight Foundation and others.

In order to apply for and receive grant money from the City an entity must have non-profit status, which The 2020 Partners does not have. Council President Barb Johnson suggested that we connect with Tawana Black, Executive Director at Northside Funders Group, which is a feeder organization that has sponsors that provide funds for specific projects. By collaborating with that organization we can work jointly on projects and make connections with the north side across the Farmers Market and Southwest LRT, and under their non-profit status have access to additional funding to expand our budget, enhance the money spent on connections, and at the same time make a connection to someone involved in and instrumental to the north side. CP Johnson is planning to invite Ms. Black to the August or September Steering Committee meeting.

9. North Loop Parking Concerns [pdf] – Joanne Kaufman, Executive Director, Warehouse District Business Association (WDBA); Josh Brandsted, President, Greco
Before introducing the next presenter, Nick referenced an article that appeared in Finance & Commerce (July 26) about district parking. [link] He asked Lucy Galbraith, Director of Transit Oriented Development at Metro Transit, to say a few words about a parking district forum that was held on July 21st about the Towerside Innovation District Parking Framework study. While Metro Transit’s report [website] was specific to this project, they wanted to make it useful by any district in the region. The report contains an overview, instructions on going through the analysis process, and mechanisms for district parking. Two examples of district parking were showcased: 50th and France in Edina, and downtown Hopkins, along with other examples around the country.

Joanne Kaufman, referencing emails sent by her prior to the start of the 2016 Twins season, said she was approached by several retailers in the North Loop who were concerned that with the advent of the Minneapolis parking meter app their customers no longer would have parking available during Twins games because Twins fans would have the ability to restart their parking session. Before Target Field opened many parking meter limits were lowered from four to two hours for that reason, so this year the City decided to begin enforcing meter limits. Joanne sent out a number of emails alerting business owners so they, their employees and customers were not ticketed for parking beyond posted limits. Joanne received feedback at that time, and continues to receive comments, about the lack of parking in the North Loop in particular that has nothing to do with Twins games. At a recent WDBA member networking event two members approached Joanne to ask what is going to be done about parking. One, a retail store, reported that eighty percent of their customers come in from the suburbs and comment on the lack and difficulty of parking. Joanne has also heard that two businesses are closing because of the parking situation, and Freehouse reports that if they did not offer valet parking during lunch they would have no lunch business. This is a hugely critical issue facing the North Loop and future development in the area.

Josh Brandsted said Greco is a multi-family and mixed use developer with projects in the North Loop neighborhood and in Uptown. Although admittedly not a parking expert, Josh shared some statistics gleaned from surveys conducted with owners and managers of properties in Minneapolis. They discovered that in the North Loop 96% of residential users require a parking space. From a commercial perspective, both office and retail have specified that a minimum of one parking space per 1,000 square feet is required; 2+ parking spaces are preferred. The recurring question they are hearing from new retail tenants, office tenants and their guests is “where should I park?” About 575 residential units are proposed or under construction. Not counting T3, which is already under construction another 300,000+, square feet of office/retail is being proposed. As surface parking lots are taken over by new development, those parking spaces get displaced. Currently there is no mechanism in the approval process to allow developers to include parking for uses that are not accessory to the development, so it creates a pinch point. With the critical mass of businesses in the neighborhood today, we need to figure out how we can supply them with adequate amounts of parking to keep them there and also take care of new developments.

Josh suggested several solutions to the problem:
⦁ Understanding district restrictions – How do they operate and does that work for the progression of the neighborhood or do they need to change?
⦁ Limited opportunities – Developers need to think things through and do it right.
⦁ Design obstacles – There are good examples of cool-looking parking structures that offer cost/benefit.
⦁ Current businesses – Displaced parking could be replaced with parking space in new developments; consider district parking.
⦁ Parking consultant – Hiring an expert who brings local and national examples.
⦁ Incentivizing flexible/district parking arrangements within new developments.

Minneapolis Parking Rules
David Frank said the City can affect parking rules by changing the cost and/or frequency of turnover. It is a relatively easy operational fix for the City to make. Parking structures are either accessory (for a specific office building and its tenants) or principal (for the general public). In the Downtown Zone principal parking structures must be underground unless they include a ground floor transit facility, which is significantly more expensive. Accessory parking structures can be above ground.

From the discussion that followed this presentation:
⦁ Tricia Holden said that Holden Properties previously owned a surface lot on Washington Avenue. Owning a parking lot can be very profitable and it was an easy property to manage. However, the City does not seem to support parking as much as they could. Holden was taxed on the property’s highest and best use. Given the fact that it was a surface lot and not a ramp or underground facility it was not possible for them to continue operating it so it was sold to United Properties and Greco. What made it challenging was that the City required a permit to operate a parking lot and the permit is not flexible. They could have a permit to operate from 9 to 5, or event or hourly parking, but a flexible permit is not available. Many surface lots are empty for much of the day so they are underutilized. Tricia wondered why there couldn’t be more flexibility in permitting of the few remaining surface lots that exist.
⦁ Council Member Frey said the City recognizes that as we move away from the automobile centric mentality towards a more pedestrian/bike friendly environment there will be growing pains. The City is not there yet but is making strides towards that realm. On a recent trip to Paris CM Frey noticed the pedestrian experience was consistent, not disjointed; walking from one block to the next there is no dead space. Minneapolis will never be Paris. CM Frey understands the parking concerns in the area but he is not going to make great effort to retain remaining surface parking lots because it is not the highest and best use. As some of the new developments go up he is comfortable accommodating some of the parking concerns, specifically public parking. A developer came in the other day that wanted to accommodate some additional public parking, specifically contract parking, within a new development. The strategy is not to put the stop button on development in the North Loop, but there is a way to accommodate parking concerns through development as well as simply changing the parking meter terms.
⦁ Alice Eichholz pointed out that there is a lot of free street parking available in the neighborhood, and a lot of meter parking that is not used at all. It seems this should be part of the whole plan, with a reason for why the parking is free or metered.
⦁ Lucy Galbraith offered information from parking studies she is familiar with from other urban areas, adding that parking is always going to be a challenge. It is important to manage the on- and off-street parking together, with an agreement or plan to decide what the parking is for. If you want the on-street parking to be for customers you make it with shorter time limits. If you want it to be for employees you make it longer. You determine where you want people to park, then you adjust the amount and price of parking to nudge people to do what you want or plan to do. You also want to give prospective tenants information about all of the active modes of transportation: Nice Ride, Car to Go, Hour Car, Metro Transit, all of the above. If they do not know they might think they need a car when they don’t. There are a lot of pieces of this that all fit together. It is complicated but part of the solution is information about transportation options.
⦁ Joanne Kaufman clarified that the issue is not just about resident parking. WDBA believes there is not enough parking right now to sustain the businesses that rely on people coming in from the suburbs. Karen Rosar said that many people come to the area to experience the world class restaurants. They are not going to bike in from other communities or on a Friday night take transit unless they are on a corridor. Joanne added that they are also not going to spend a lot of money of merchandise at a given store, then take the bus or ride a bike home with it.
⦁ Dave Albersman said that parking is a complicated, long-term, systemic problem that will not be solved immediately. He suggested a five person task force be formed to study and report back at the next meeting, and volunteered to join Joanne and Josh and others for that purpose. Members agreed this would be a good idea, and Nick thanked Dave for his suggestion. Recognizing the depth and breadth of experience of our members, and acknowledging that parking would be something that could be added to the Work Plan, Nick invited those interested in being on a parking task force to contact him by email.
⦁ Nick closed this segment by stating that The 2020 Partners has some tremendous resources, with members who understand issues and can perhaps help solve the problem. Along with the legislature, transit and Farmers Market, parking could become part of the Work Plan. If you have any feedback, insights or passionate ideas, please send them to Marsha Wagner [marsha@castlevisions.com], who will compile the information for the Steering Committee.

10. Neighborhood Updates and Announcements
⦁ Joanne Kaufman announced that First Avenue has been reconfigured. Parking is back against the curb seven years later. [Applause!]
⦁ David Frank invited anyone who does not have a neighborhood meeting to attend to join the North Loop Neighborhood Association at its National Night Out celebration at Target Field Station. The date is Tuesday, August 2, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

11. 2020 Partners Meeting Schedule
The next meeting of the 2020 Partners will be on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, from 5:00‑6:30 pm. The last meeting of the year will be on November 15.

Following a drawing for Champions Club tickets provided by Dave St. Peter and the Minnesota Twins (won by Rick Rud and Marsha Wagner) the meeting was adjourned by Nick Koch. Everyone was invited to stay for pizza, beer, and join the group at a Twins game.

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