Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Religious Storage Space Available

The Community of Hope Lutheran Church's new building in Rosemount takes pains to graciously fit in with its neighborhood.

In other words, it looks like a warehouse:
"Community of Hope is building in an area zoned for industrial use, and its design, resembling an office-warehouse-showroom, ensures that it fits the neighborhood.

"The Rev. Per Nilsen, the church's pastor, said the nontraditional approach was taken because it was less expensive and because it wanted to be certain that, if the congregation were to move, it could sell the property easily -- to the benefit of both its members and the city."
The church has photos of the building progress on its website.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

1924 St. Paul Power Plant Being Converted to Condos

From today's StarTribune: Old St. Paul power plant will join housing circuit - "With no city money going into the project, Hammerstrom doesn't need to make any of the housing affordable. Condos will range from $260,000 on the low end to $1.4 million for one of the five, two-story penthouse units with spectacular rooftop views of the river valley, the Cathedral of St. Paul, downtown and the state Capitol."

A couple of related websites:

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Pioneer Press Editorial: Two cities smart to twin on transit

When light rail construction got underway back in 2001, who would've predicted the Pioneer Press would eventually be saying this?
This line to connect the University of Minnesota and the vibrant corridor between Minneapolis and St. Paul is essential for the traffic-choked Twin Cities. The lessons being learned from the Hiawatha line are that passengers are embracing an efficient and low-hassle way to get where they are going without use of the road-clogging, environment-polluting automobile.

The Central Corridor is the logical and necessary light-rail sequel for east metro, just as the heavy rail Northstar line is for the traffic to and from the north to downtown Minneapolis.

New Megamall, er, Megawaterpark in Bloomington

Construction has begun on Wirth Companies' "Waterpark of America" at the site of the former Decathalon Athletic Club in Bloomington.

At this rate, by 2010 the intersection of 494 and 77 should be known as "Interchange of America."

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

More Mississippi Condos

Not that this should be surprising at this point, but there are more condos planned for Stone Arch area. Of course, that location would put them in the high-end category.

The Foshay Tower: "Hey, I can see my condo from here!"

The Skyway News is reporting that McGough Construction is looking into the potential for converting Minneapolis' venerable Foshay Tower into condos. Yes, you read that correctly.

No word yet on what that would mean for the tower's observation deck.

Grocery, yay! Condos, yay! Glass, boo!

The Skyway News is reporting that a bunch of residents around Central and University are more than a bit displeased with the modern design for the new Eastgate shopping and residential complex:
Critics say the architecture would stick out like a sore thumb amid older, quaint buildings in the historic Old St. Anthony area. The new Eastgate would go up near the pale yellow Ard Godrey House, 28 University Ave. SE, in Chute Square Park -- the oldest wood frame house remaining in the city.
Granted, if you walk 30 feet from the Ard Godrey House you can see the downtown skyline just across the river, but for some reason that doesn't seem to bother people.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Light Rail: Four new miles, 45,000 new riders

From today's Pioneer Press:

Passengers boarded Hiawatha trains 135,100 times during the first week of paid service along the full Minneapolis-to-Bloomington light-rail route, Metro Transit announced Monday.

Boardings averaged 90,600 per week in November, when only eight miles of the line was open for business, Metro Transit said. That stretch of track opened in June.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

More Condos Proposed Near Nicollet Mall

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal is reporting that a small building across from the Minneapolis Hilton may fall for a high-end condominium project. If built, the project could end up sharing the block with a 48-story complex proposed for the Let It Be corner of Nicollet Mall.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

StarTribune: Streetcars: An idea that's coming back

With today's visit to the Twin Cities by a noted streetcar proponent, the StarTribune looked at the potential for streetcars to once again roam about the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul:
It has been 50 years since the last streetcars ran in the Twin Cities, but many people see value in bringing back an updated version of the vintage vehicles.

In St. Paul, routes might connect downtown with the Grand Avenue shopping district, Selby Avenue or Payne Avenue on the East Side.

Minneapolis planners envision a streetcar line along the Midtown Greenway, between Hiawatha Avenue and Lake Calhoun, or from downtown up to the northern Warehouse District.
Full story at startribune.com.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Condos Won't Let Nicollet Mall Be

Nicollet Mall may be on the verge of losing one of the last few blocks that make it special and unique. As of now, though, no one seems to be complaining about the potential loss of the human-sized buildings at 10th and Nicollet.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Pioneer Press: Condos 1st step in downtown revival

The Pioneer Press has a lengthy article on what's apparently the largest demolition project ever undertaken in downtown Stillwater:
A row of old buildings that once housed small businesses on Stillwater's North Main Street is being demolished this week to make way for the city's latest downtown condominium project: Stillwater Mills on Main.

The $46 million condominium and commercial building will encompass the entire block between Main Street and Second Street and will extend from the corner of Mulberry Street to the Isaac Staple Mill building complex.
Read the full story at twincities.com.

(And, dang it, it looks like I missed my chance to photograph this.)

Skyway News: North Loop's 720 lofts to break ground

Crews will break ground in October on 720 Lofts -- a seven-story condo project in the North Loop at North 4th Street & 7th Avenue.

The 99-unit development by Northeast-based Schafer Richardson will go up next to the developer's 710 Lofts, a four-story industrial-style loft building expected to open in April 2005.
Read the full story at skywaynews.net.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Pioneer Press: River relic comes to life

Recent government action is giving a big boost to developers' plans to offer diners a nice meal with a great riverfront view from inside a recycled building where farmers and grain merchants made St. Paul history.

The federal government's decision to add the remnants of the 75-year-old St. Paul Municipal Grain Terminal to the National Register of Historic Places is bolstering efforts to save and reuse the two remaining buildings.
Full story at twincities.com.

Pioneer Press: Another chapter added to story of birthplace

Larry Millett tells the story of F. Scott Fitzgerald's birthplace in St. Paul:
It was, instead, an unremarkable apartment in one of two identical buildings built side by side in an upscale but not quite posh neighborhood a few blocks away from the gold coast of Summit Avenue.

Yet like all historic buildings, the apartment has its own story to tell. It's a tale of modest beginnings, years of decline and decay, near demolition and finally, in the 1970s, rejuvenation.

See the full story at twincities.com.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

StarTribune: Chambers Hotel gets upgrade to a double

The StarTribune is reporting today that boutique hotel plans for the Fairmont Hotel (on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis) have been expanded to include the neighboring parking lot and ProColor Building. "The expansion of the hotel to 53 rooms, about 25 of them suites, from the original plan for just 24 suites... [will] delay the opening date for what will be called the Minneapolis Chambers Hotel about a year, to early 2006."

It'll be interesting to see what this means for the ProColor Building. It looks like a solid building, but regrettably has one of the more abused facades in downtown Minneapolis. The official Chambers Minneapolis site doesn't have any information about the new plans yet, but the inclusion of the ProColor Building may mean the death of one of the ugliest surface parking lots in the Twin Cities.

For more background information, Google has a cache of the April StarTribune article announcing plans for the hotel.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Ikea != Hyperport

The StarTribune has a very thorough article on the underwhelming progress towards Phase II of the Mall of America. An excerpt:
Measured by the crowds that have greeted its opening over the past three weeks, the new Ikea store in Bloomington has been an unqualified success. But measured against the ambitious plans to develop a one-of-a-kind parcel across from the Mall of America, Ikea stands as the only result of a vision that was much more far-reaching. At 53 acres, the property was targeted to house nothing less than the second phase of the mall. An eye-popping plan called for hotels, office buildings, a performing-arts center and a futuristic high-technology complex that would be known as the "Hyperport."
Read the full story at startribune.com.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

City Pages on Minneapolis' Heritage Park development

The cover story of August 4th's City Pages focuses on the planning for Minneapolis' Heritage Park development, as well as the extreme level of scrutiny the project is working under. While one of the project's stated goals is to mix individuals and family's of different backgrounds and income levels, just how much of a community can be built is somewhat up in the air:
Later, however, when I read through the Heritage Park "Community House Rules," I realized that tenants are largely invisible by design. They can't work on their cars or ride bikes or skate on the sidewalks, and, in fact, "outside activities"--including sitting, standing, and congregating--"are not permitted in front of the apartment."
Further on in the article:
Rules of conduct are necessary and not at all unusual. The project does offer parklike commons areas. And if tenants want to hang pictures of fetuses or Dennis Kucinich on their dining room walls, that's fine with Swain. But mingling is not exactly encouraged, and Heritage Park by design contains little opportunity for the kinds of spontaneous interactions that take place in nonplanned neighborhoods all the time.
See the full story at citypages.com.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Everything has to start something

Welcome to Land & Space Twin Cities. I'm Mark Danielson, and I've been working to chronicle changes in the Twin Cities urban landscape since 1996. Over the past eight years I've taken thousands of photographs of new buildings going up and old ones going down, and have spent significant amounts of time researching the buildings in those photographs. Over the coming years I hope to share this huge mass of information with you, and hopefully get some of you involved in tracking the changes as well. (Hey, the metro area has over 2.5 million people in it. That's a lot to cover.)

While simply figuring out what should be photographed has been a challenge, it's nothing compared to the task of organizing everything in a way that's understandable and accessible. I originally aimed to launch this project in 2000, but reality interviened, as it has every year since. I've found myself confronted with the same issues this year, so instead of taking more time trying to figure out how to organize everything, I decided to just go ahead and start with something.

And that's what you see now. A text-only weblog may be a strange way to start a site that'll eventually be dominated by photography, but it's better than nothing.

The Twin Cities is a fascinating place to live. I hope you enjoy my view of it.