Minutes from November 29, 2016

2020 Partners Membership Meeting

HGA, Ford Center

Meeting Minutes – Approved by The 2020 Partners on January 24, 2017

Attendees: Dave Albersman, Kathleen Anderson, Joey Betland, Kathleen Boe, Joan Campbell, Pierce Canser, Dan Collison, Thomas Dodds, John Dukich, Alice Eichholz, Meg Forney, Lucy Galbraith, Daniel Grady, Doug Harvey, Brad Henry, Tom Hoch, Tricia Holden, Denise Holt, Matt Hoy, Joanne Kaufman, Dan Kenney, Brian Kimmes, Nick Koch, Rick Kreuser, Bruce Lambrecht, Peter McLaughlin, Ra’eesa Motala, Cathy Nordin, Mark Oyaas, Robert Pfefferle, Neil Reardon, Robert Rimstad, Peter Roos, Bob Salmen, Max Salmen, Jenai Sele, Erin Sexton, Dave St. Peter, Mark Stenglein, Ralph Strangis, Carletta Sweet, Albert Swintek, Marsha Wagner, Dale White

1. Call to Order and Introductions – Nick Koch, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:10 pm.

2. Parking Task Force Report and Discussion – Dave Albersman, Chair; Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. [PPT]
After providing some history and background (see Minutes from July 26 and September 27), Dave said the Parking Task Force has to date held two meetings to discuss parking issues in the North Loop, an area which continues to thrive and grow resulting in surface parking lots being eliminated. The Parking Task Force is recommending that 2020 Partners join with other entities to hire a professional transit/parking consultant to determine the current status of the parking situation in the North Loop and begin to formulate short- and long-term solutions to the problem.

The Parking Task Force has developed a draft scope of services that outlines issues they believe should be addressed by the consultant, whose work will be guided by the Parking Task Force. The cost is estimated to be $50,000, and the timeline would be six to nine months. Deliverables would include:

  • Sense of how people come and go from the area, whether it be by private vehicle, transit or other
  • Inventory existing available parking: on-street, off-street, privately- or publicly-owned
  • Management of parking, hours of operation and availability
  • Rates and revenue; where the money goes
  • Impact of proposed future development; parking spaces lost or proposed
  • Public engagement period with stakeholders: developers, businesses, residents and neighborhood groups, city, county and Farmers Market
  • Findings and conclusions, including next steps

In the discussion following Dave’s presentation several points were brought up by 2020 Partners members, some of which had previously been mentioned, including:

  • The politics around parking solutions seems to indicate that providing new parking discourages transit, and that changes in the way of eventually using Uber, Lyft and self-driving cars will determine the way parking is configured. The reality is that businesses in the North Loop are experiencing acute parking problems now which need to be addressed; business owners would like to see common-sense, fact-based discussion around the issue. Hiring a consultant is necessary to take a snapshot of the current parking problems, where people are experiencing these problems, and projecting out where development may occur in the near future. This baseline is needed to have a credible discussion.
  • Parking at meters became a problem after Minneapolis introduced its parking app which allowed people to restart their parking sessions remotely. Efforts to mitigate this problem – i.e. shortening the allowed time from four to two hours, and restricting extension of parking duration at designated meters – have been largely unsuccessful. In an informal survey business owners said that almost 100 percent of their business comes from outside of the neighborhood. Thus losing surface parking to development and ramps that are often full has become problematic and some businesses are actually leaving this area because of it.
  • Parking has been a hot issue at meetings of the North Loop Neighborhood Association (NLNA) this year, especially when apartment buildings were proposed that are taking up surface parking near Eighth Avenue and the Lab Theater. NLNA is concerned about building of parking-only structures, which is something the neighborhood has not wanted. One recent option has been proposed that has parking that is wrapped by micro-units. With proposed transit (light rail and rapid transit bus) terminating in the area it will be important to plan for the future when less parking is needed, while taking steps to relieve the parking situation in the interim. Implementing a circulator bus was one proposed option.
  • The Minneapolis City Council has yet to take action on three proposals for the Farmers Market area that were submitted earlier this year. It will be crucial and important to work with city experts and entities – i.e. Planning Commission, Traffic Division, and others – on policy decisions and changes, rather than working autonomously in moving forward. The City needs to be a partner in planning and involved in the conversation.
  • Hennepin County is not involved in parking, but Southwest LRT is moving forward; the County Board recently passed resolutions on vehicle design and right-of-way acquisition. Bottineau is ready to go but for the state’s ten percent share and negotiations with the railroad. In the eventuality of Uber and driverless cars replacing self-operated vehicles, they will still need road space and there will not be one solution. With the increase in mass transit and LRT in the past ten years, the focus should now be on increasing ridership by facilitating those who want to use LRT but have to do more than just commute to and from work.
  • Any new parking structure should look good and integrate well into the neighborhood.
  • Permitting could be changed to allow for night/weekend parking in existing structures and on surface lots in addition to the current nine-to-five only parking. That would make many more spaces available that are currently not used during certain times of the day.

In closing this discussion, Mark Oyaas suggested that there might be some confusion about the idea of advocating for something versus gathering facts. He compared it to the issue with the reconfiguration of the bike lanes, where the City claimed that First Avenue was the major artery for bike commuting in downtown Minneapolis, which with specific data turned out to be patently false. Eventually the City agreed to revert to having the parking lanes near the curb. Mark clarified that what the Task Force is recommending is finding a baseline of facts rather than dealing with the parking problem anecdotally. It is not recommending advocating for anything in particular – district parking, reconfiguring meters, changing permitting – at this point in time.

Nick invited 2020 Partners members to send their ideas and comments on this issue and others to Marsha Wagner (marsha@castlevisions.com), who will compile them for the Parking Task Force and for consideration by the Steering Committee in creating the 2017 Work Plan.

3. Welcome new Sponsor Mayo Clinic
Nick welcomed and thanked Mayo Clinic, represented by Erin Sexton, its Director of State Government Relations, for its support of The 2020 Partners. Erin said that Mayo Clinic looks forward to engaging with The 2020 Partners in making this a great neighborhood. Mayo Clinic’s logo has been added to our website.

4. Welcome to the Neighborhood Hewing Hotel
Nick introduced Jenai Sele, Director of Sales with the Hewing Hotel (300 Washington Avenue North), and thanked her for the swag bags of local products she provided for everyone in attendance. Jenai invited us to visit Tullibee, its restaurant and bar that pays tribute to the area’s strong Scandinavian roots with a focus on locally sourced food and beverage. Executive Chef Grae Nonas has been a recent James Beard award nominee and finalist, and in 2015 was named Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef.

The hotel has 124 rooms, 14 of which are suites. It was originally built in 1897, and they retained most of the original brick and timber throughout the building. ESG was the designer. The guest rooms have furniture from Blu Dot and throws from Faribault, both local companies. Later this month they will open a rooftop bar, lounge, sauna for 25, and small pool that will be converted to a hot tub during the winter. The rooftop area will be open to the public.

5. Heywood Campus Projects Update – Robert Rimstad and Cathy Nordin, Project Managers, Metro Transit [PPT]

Cathy began by stating that Metro Transit’s Master Plan looked at the growth of the organization, integration into the neighborhood, and operation needs. Two major projects came out of the Master Plan. Cathy said the police building, which will be attached to the existing office building, is 60,000 square feet on four floors. It is used as a home base for officers, most of whom are deployed on foot to light rail and other areas downtown. The bus/squad entrance/exit will be widened to three lanes. The main entrance will be moved to Sixth Avenue North, and the building and landscaping will be on street level instead of below grade. The exterior will be dark gray metal panels.

Robert reported that the new Minneapolis bus garage, located northwest of the existing Heywood Bus Garage, will have storage space for more than 200 buses. They will do basic maintenance and minor repairs at this facility, which serves as a home base for buses and drivers. There will be two levels, with employee parking on the first level and bus parking and maintenance on the second level. Preliminary design renderings show the street entrance and car parking entrance along Tenth Avenue to enhance that corridor and entrance to the  North Loop. The main level of the bus garage will have bus parking in the middle, maintenance on the south side, and operations on the east side. The bus pull in/pull out will be on Eleventh Avenue. Two future additions are planned for the west side when funding becomes available. The façade facing North Seventh Street will offer views of the interior and with 24/7 operations will shed illumination outside of the building at night.

Both projects are currently in the design phase. Construction on the police building will begin in 2017 and last two years. After demolition of existing buildings on the site the new garage construction will begin in 2018 pending acquisition of additional funding. With that schedule it will be completed in 2019.

6. Target Center Improvements Update – Brian Kimmes, Facilities Project Manager, Minnesota Timberwolves | Lynx [PPT]
Brian reported that the demolition of the exterior at the corner of First Avenue and Sixth Street is going very smoothly. Re-skinning the exterior with metal panels will begin this winter, starting at the Target Field corner and working around the building to finish at First Avenue and Sixth Street. Brian spent most of his time talking about the interior updates. The existing executive suites on the premium level have been completely redone with new millwork, seats, carpeting, and ceilings and the restrooms have been refreshed. They also have new furniture and televisions, and have been consulting with David Fhima on new food offerings. Club TI (Treasure Island) has an expanded footprint with a larger bar and new food options. One new product at Target Center are the Chairman’s Suites along one entire side of the building. These suites provide access to the exclusive Chairman’s Club that overlooks center court with floor-to-ceiling glass, and offers all-inclusive food and beverage. Another new product are TCL Theater Boxes which can accommodate four to six people per box. Each box has its own reserved dining room table, larger chairs overlooking the court, and they also offer all-inclusive food and beverage.

7. “Open Mic” Discussion about Neighborhood Issues to Address in 2017
[Note: These are listed in the order in which they occurred to maintain flow of discussion.]

  • Ralph Strangis, advisor to the 2020 Partners Steering Committee, addressed the topic of parking by saying that the Work Plan is all about the Farmers Market and North Side, connecting all of these pieces together. Since 2020 Partners has limited resources the Steering Committee has to look at the extent to which resources are available to participate in the parking conversation while at the same time staying true to the Work Plan that has been under development. The Steering Committee is trying to find a better way to be more effective so when they bring items to the collective group there has been more input and opportunity at that level to vet them and bring them in a more complete form. Plans are underway that are not ready to be presented, but look for some interesting and positive information about this at the next meeting.
  • Joan Campbell thought the parking conversation made it sound like the city would be the audience, not a participant. She said there are really good minds at the city and they should be included in the discussion. Parking is considered a revenue source so changing policies could affect that. As a city council member she was always concerned when a group would get way out ahead of policy makers. She added that if someone from the city is participating in the planning or brainstorming effort they have more ownership. There are examples around the city of shared parking which usually happens in neighborhoods, one example being the Seward Co-op which shares space with a church and a bar.
  • Mark Stenglein, lending historical perspective, said Hennepin County has been involved in this neighborhood with Target Field, Northstar Rail, current and future LRT. Every train line has its nexus at this point, so our energy should be put into bringing big attractions to the city. Nick added that at the genesis of this group its purpose was to make this a welcoming neighborhood and be a partner with Hennepin County in developing infrastructure.
  • Bruce Lambrecht said that although there is a high percentage chance Major League Soccer will go to Saint Paul, the deal has not yet been finalized. One thing that is being done around the world is building soccer stadiums so they can appear for game days and disappear when not in use. He wondered about the possibility of building a soccer stadium on a piece of land that would be free and you’re only paying for air rights. He mentioned several options where an 18,000-20,000 seat stadium could be built: between the B and C parking ramps, near the Convention Center by I94, and connecting US Bank Stadium over 35W linking with the University of Minnesota.
  • Brad Henry said that it has been announced that Minneapolis is in the bidding for Expo 2023, a World Fair in the State of Minnesota. [link] Nick said that a bid committee led by Mark Ritchie met with senior officials from the United States Department of Commerce. Last week [November 23] they made an announcement that they were forwarding a recommendation to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who will in turn forward it to President Obama, to hold the 2023 World Fair in Minnesota.
  • Mark Oyaas reiterated a point he made earlier about the parking issue. He said that the Parking Task Force realizes that with the parking problem being so acute there are many stakeholders who could each come up with $2,500 or $5,000 to contribute toward hiring a consultant. It was and is not the intent of the Parking Task Force to ask the 2020 Partners to consider using existing funds. What the Parking Task Force is seeking is for 2020 Partners to endorse and steer this fact-finding mission; they are not at this point considering coming up with a plan or making recommendations. The 2020 Partners offers the perfect forum to have this discussion. Parking Task Force member and North Loop resident Timothy Bildsoe has been actively working with Council Member Jacob Frey on this issue, so that could be a good place to start. Absolutely connections is the fundamental goal, specifically connecting back to the Near North so positive developments in this area push forward in that direction.
  • Alice Eichholz said that the Near North is her interest as well, and that making that connection was the whole reason to place the soccer stadium in the Farmers Market. It would have made Minneapolis a much more cohesive, cultural, and interactive city, which is going to be essential in moving forward with understanding diversity and inclusion of other cultures. She also announced that Great River Landing has been fully funded. Organized by Better Futures, it will offer 72 units of supportive, affordable housing for ex-offenders, most of them family men. Affordable housing is another strong issue for the North Loop as it offers another way to be better connected to Near North.
  • Brian Kimmes said that with the Super bowl and X Games coming to Minneapolis, we should work to make sure that people visit our neighborhood. With the X Games coming next summer (2017) we need to start planning now.
  • Doug Harvey, speaking on behalf of the Minneapolis Farmers Market and Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, requested help with a road construction issue. Last month [October] they were notified that I94 north and south, from Hennepin Avenue to I694, would be resurfaced beginning in May 2017. They will also be making bridge repairs, so parking under the freeway will not be available for use by Farmers Market vendors and customers for the duration of the project, estimated to be one year. Border Avenue will also be closed while the City of Minneapolis reroutes utilities in preparation for Southwest LRT. The Farmers Market will lose between 360 and 600 parking spaces. The City has made it clear they will not provide financial support to secure parking. Doug is seeking advice and input on how the Farmers Market can increase awareness of this issue, raise funds for private parking in the neighborhood, and help lobby the city to provide financial and other assistance.
  • Ending on an upbeat note, Nick thanked everyone for coming, and toasted Fulton Brewing for providing the very well-received and much-enjoyed beer for the meeting. HGA provided other food and beverages.

8. 2020 Partners Meeting Schedule
The next meeting of the 2020 Partners will be on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, from 5:00‑6:30 pm.


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