Minutes from May 23, 2017

2020 Partners Membership Meeting

HGA, Ford Center

Meeting Minutes – Approved by The 2020 Partners Steering Committee at its June 21, 2017, meeting

Attendees: Thomas Adams, Kathleen Anderson, Sara Barrow, Tim Bildsoe, Joni Bonnell, Joan Campbell, Pierce Canser, Dan Collison, Sara Collison, Alice Eichholz, Chelsey Falzone, Dana Frank, David Frank, Mike Gordon, Thomas Hayes, Brad Henry, Tricia Holden, Denise Holt, Mark Huting, Brian Kimmes, Nick Koch, Rick Kreuser, David Loehr, Sherman Malkerson, Peter McLaughlin, Diane Merrifield, Francis Neir, Todd Peterson, Robert Pfefferle, Sara Joy Proppe, Neil Reardon, Kit Richardson, Peter Roos, Karen Rosar, Mark Stenglein, Cherie Stofer, Ralph Strangis, Albert Swintek, Ryan Tollgaard, Laura Vitelli, Marsha Wagner, Brian Wessel, Kerrik Wessel, Dale White

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

2. Approval of Meeting Notes
Meeting Notes from March 28, 2017 Membership Meeting were approved and are posted on our website.

3. Executive Director Report [PPT] – Dan Collision
Dan highlighted some developments in the North Loop:
⦁ Arctic Cat is leaving its North Loop office after being purchased by Textron Inc.
⦁ The Business Journal did a quick, unscientific survey on working in the North Loop which was mostly about parking. In spite of the negative skewing of the survey, development in the area continues to take place.
⦁ A bouldering gym will join Pryes Brewing on the Mississippi riverfront, north of Plymouth Avenue on West River Road.
⦁ The Foundry is a $50 million apartment and retail project on a block in the North Loop that currently is half-filled by a surface parking lot.
⦁ CBRE reports that they have 18 clients that want to be in the North Loop.

Dan provided a recap of initiatives that the Steering Committee and he are working on:
⦁ Letters in support of funding for transit, specifically LRT, to the United States Department of Transportation and state legislative leaders
⦁ Connectivity to West Market/Glenwood, North Minneapolis, Downtown West and Central Business District
⦁ LRT Line Expansions, BRT Lines, and TOD Corridors (create multi-year work plan recommendations)
⦁ Glenwood Avenue and Olson Memorial Corridors into more walkable human scale. A lot of projects have already been committed to for this area, including having the impound lot converted to developable parcels. Dan plans to assemble land use project participants along the corridor to provide a briefing to the 2020 Partners. The goal is to have listening sessions this summer, with follow-up and presentation of findings in the fall. If interested in participating, please send an email to Dan. [DCollison@mplsdowntown.com]

Dan added that 2020 Partners is beginning to explore viaducts in the North Loop. There is currently no plan, but Urban Works’ West Loop study from several years ago included conversations about removing the Third Street Viaduct, a portion of which was recently closed for construction, that would create land and open space for potential new development. Again, if interested in being part of that discussion, please contact Dan.

4. 2020 Access North Loop Report – Dan Collison
⦁ Tod Elkins from UrbanWorks Architecture gave a presentation to the Task Force on convertible parking structures which can be used for parking now then converted to mixed-use in the future when parking is no longer needed.
⦁ Josh Brandsted from Greco is leading an initiative and working with the City to have the remaining accessory lots in the area available for parking.
⦁ Developers are being encouraged to add public parking as a component on new projects.
⦁ Conversations are ongoing about meter usage, future technology and accessibility to parking ramps.

Dan would like to see the Task Force develop three overarching goals that the neighborhood and 2020 Partners can work on together to accomplish by the end of 2017. Nick added that 2020 Partners is building on grass roots efforts of Joanne Kaufman and Josh Brandsted, who presented on this topic at the 2020 Partners membership meeting in July 2016.

5. Transit Development Update – Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Commissioner
At the time of this meeting the legislature was meeting in special session, and there was no way to know what the final outcome would be regarding funding for transit. Peter thanked the 2020 Partners for its letters in support of transit funding, adding that the business community stepping in had a clear impact on the Republican legislators. He said an enormous amount of progress has been made and most of the “bad stuff” was gone from the proposed budget.

6. North Loop Neighborhood Association (NLNA) [PPT]
a. Green Projects and Goals – Mark Huting, NLNA Board Member
Mark described and showed photos of several greening improvements that are planned or have already been made in the North Loop:
⦁ North Loop Monument Project – Erection of 31-foot-high monument/sign and planting of perennials, flowering plants, trees/shrubs and native grasses on the one acre parcel of MnDOT property located at North 3rd Avenue and Washington Avenue. Work will begin this spring/summer pending approval by MnDOT. The project has already been approved by the City.
⦁ Washington Avenue Street Trees – Planting of fifteen large trees with shrubs/perennial gardens along Washington Avenue, nine of them on the Tractor Works site and six on the 801 Lofts block. The project has been approved.
⦁ Greening of one side of alley behind 710 Lofts – Boulders have been moved into place to create seating areas; flowering trees and shrubs have been added. Work was accomplished this spring by volunteers. The other side will be done in conjunction with an upcoming Schaffer Richardson project.
⦁ Basset Creek parking lot border cleanup – Wooded area was thinned out and cleaned up. Work was accomplished this spring by volunteers.

In summation, Mark added that in his experience most great cities have vibrant green downtowns. NLNA will continue to search out little throw-away spaces where multiple trees and plants can grow in an open soil area. They will also encourage every new development to provide these spaces. With so little open land left in the North Loop it is important to use it wisely.

Kit Richardson added that the fabulous work done by NLNA will be part of the bigger picture that has been discussed for years to create a public park. The shared alley is a spine that will connect possibly to the west but certainly to the east to downtown and north to the river.

b. Planning and Zoning – Tim Bildsoe, NLNA Board President
Tim commended Mark for tackling the greening projects with such great enthusiasm. Not only has he physically done much of the work himself, he is raising funds for NLNA projects.

Tim described the work of NLNA subcommittees:
⦁ Planning + Zoning – Development continues with new projects having been completed or being proposed weekly. NLNA provides neighborhood engagement around these projects to ensure that they contribute to the livability of the community.
⦁ Neighborhood Revitalization Program Investments (NRP) – Funding provided by the city to use toward goals and priorities of NLNA. One current NRP-funded project is creation of bike repair stations in the North Loop. NLNA also has a large amount of housing money that they intend to invest in Youthlink, an organization that benefits homeless youth.
⦁ Community Engagement Activities – This is included in every function or event that NLNA sponsors or participates in, i.e. its annual meeting and Open Streets.
⦁ North Loop Businesses – Successful businesses contribute to good neighborhoods. NLNA is attempting to create an environment where businesses, large and small, can thrive.
⦁ Parks and Beautification – Previously discussed by Mark.
⦁ Neighborhood Safety – Tim linked parks and beautification with neighborhood safety, saying they are related to each other. If an environment is beautiful, has open space, and looks neat and well maintained, it takes care of neighborhood safety issues. Private ownership also speaks to neighborhood safety.
⦁ Infrastructure – Many of the roads and streets are in terrible condition. NLNA met with Council Member Jacob Frey to discuss getting some North Loop improvements into the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Residents and business owners in the North Loop pay a significant amount in taxes, and they want some of that reinvested in their community. CM Frey added Third Street, Fifth Avenue, Seventh Avenue, Eighth Avenue and Ninth Avenue into the preliminary CIP; based on comments at a meeting of the Planning Commission it appears they will be in the CIP. Tim thanked 2020 Partners for its letter in support that NLNA submitted to the city.
⦁ NLNA Website – Diane Merrifield maintains the website, which contains information about neighborhood events and activities.

7. Hennepin County Medical Center: North Loop Clinic [PPT] – Tom Hayes, MS, Vice President, Public Relations and Marketing, HCMC
Over the last five years HCMC has expanded beyond its Downtown trauma center at Eighth Street and Park Avenues. It has grown a system of clinics (ambulatory, primary care, specialty) located in Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Golden Valley, Whittier, Richfield, East Lake and St. Anthony Village. In April it opened its newest clinic in the North Loop, in the Tractor Works Building at 800 Washington Avenue North. It offers primary care and family medicine, as well as specialties including allergy with a shot clinic; dermatology and cosmetic dermatology; women’s health, Ob/Gyn and nurse midwives; integrative health, acupuncture, chiropractic and a pharmacy. They have extended hours, including Saturday morning, and walk-in appointments are available. Parking is available in an adjacent ramp, and free parking is provided with appointments. The clinic is bike and transit friendly. For appointments call 612-873-6963 or hcmc.org/northloop.

A new Clinic and Specialty Center on Eighth Street in East Town, now 75 percent complete and expected to open in April 2018, consolidates 40 clinics from 9 buildings into one. It will have 377,000 square feet, two floors of underground parking for 220 cars, skyway and tunnel connections, and multi-modal access for patients.

8. Great River Landing Housing Project in North Loop [link] – Laura Vitelli, Director of Advancement & Congregational Engagement, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative (Beacon); Thomas Adams, PhD, President and CEO, Better Futures Enterprises (BFE)
Laura gave some background on Beacon, a collaborative of nearly ninety congregations throughout the Twin Cities that are working to end homelessness. Beacon has developed 18 apartment communities, primarily in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, in the last fifteen years that are home to families, seniors, single adults and young adults. Many of the 2020 Partners member companies have supported Beacon over the years.

Great River Landing, which will be built at 813 North Fifth Street, will be home to 72 adult males who will be working to support themselves and care for their families. The homes were envisioned by leaders at Westminster and Plymouth Congregational Churches in response to the critical need for housing for people who have been incarcerated. Beacon has formed a partnership with BFE, which has a successful model for supporting men who have experienced homelessness, chronic employment and incarceration. Capital for construction and most of the rental assistance that will be needed have been secured. They are now working to secure final resources needed to make Great River Landing sustainable, working with Hennepin County on rental assistance for 22 additional homes, and working to raise privately the $17,000 per person per year it will take to provide services to transform and stabilize lives. They anticipate that they will be in the land use process this summer, break ground in early 2018, and open in early 2019. They chose to put great River Landing in the North Loop neighborhood because it offers tremendous opportunity for the men who will live there, with great access to jobs, transit and many other amenities, but also because they know that North Loop leaders and residents are seeking to build diversity in the community. Residents of Great River Landing will contribute to the vitality of the neighborhood and help to create a diverse workforce that will benefit everyone.

Thomas said that BFE has been in existence for about ten years. It has strong partnerships with the state, Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis, Downtown Improvement District (DID) and other business associations. BFE works primarily with men who have significant challenges to success: long-term unemployment, long-term homelessness, and incarceration. Housing and employment are critical stabilization factors. BFE is a social enterprise that employs and pays the men – 25 to 40 per day – directly, with hourly wages ranging from $10.50 to $14.50. It also provides housing and meals so the effective wage rate is about $26/hour. BFE has five lines of business including property maintenance (mowing, shoveling snow), streetscape and beautification (West Broadway business district and six blocks of the DID), and janitorial services (six commercial properties and four residential housing developments). BFE’s DNA is built on work; people look, talk and act differently when they have a job.

9. AWH Architects: Projects in the North Loop [PPT] – Mike Gordon, Associate AIA, AWH
Mike reviewed several projects that AWH, an architecture and historic preservation firm, has worked on in the North Loop:
⦁ Hewing Hotel, 300 Washington Avenue North, was one of the only buildings in Minneapolis that had a railroad spur going underneath it. It was built as an additive process over five additions, with new construction spliced with historic fabric. On the first floor they highlighted the old architecture with a large atrium and glass vestibule that knits it together, creating a tube of light from the skylight on the rooftop down to the street experience. The rooftop addition, with a pool and sauna, will open Memorial Weekend.
⦁ Hillman Porter, 124 North Third Avenue, was built in the late 1890s. It was not designated as an historic property because in the 1960s the property owner put on exterior metal screening so it appeared to be more modern than it was. When the screening was removed it exposed a brick exterior.
⦁ Maytag Building, 515 Washington Avenue North, is almost complete. It was originally structured to go up five more stories, but they stopped at four stories. They plan to add a pocket park in the future, and there is a parking lot between the building and Cuzzy’s.
⦁ Printers Exchange Building, 15 Fourth Street North, is under development. It has unique terra cotta detailing and great daylight due to the proportions of the building.

AWH looks at smaller infill projects, imagining what can be done with them and digging deep into the old plat maps, architectural drawings and narratives, whatever information exists. A lot of process time is spent early in a project understanding what the building was, what created it, where it came from, and also imagining what potential uses may be whether that’s new construction, a hybrid of new construction and historic preservation, or solely historic preservation.

10. Neighborhood Updates
⦁ Tim Bildsoe invited anyone interested in joining NLNA for North Loop Cleanup Day, Saturday, June 3, from 10 to 11 am, to meet at the main entrance of Whole Foods. They will pick up trash along Washington Avenue from Hennepin Avenue to Plymouth Avenue. This is something NLNA does bi-monthly year-round, depending on weather conditions.
Open Streets will be held on June 11 on Washington Avenue North from 11 am to 5 pm.

11. 2020 Partners Meeting Schedule
The next meeting of the 2020 Partners will be on Tuesday, July 18, from 5:00‑6:30 pm (pizza party followed by Minnesota Twins vs. Yankees)
2017 Membership Meeting Schedule: September 26, November 14

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