Thursday, December 27, 2007


Hi! I'm going to make an active effort not to ignore this space next year.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

35W, One Week Later

Well, it's been a week since 35W fell into the Mississippi, and the Twin Cities are still recovering. Over the next few weeks I'll be writing a lot about the bridge collapse and the race for a replacement, but for now I'd like to point out the excellent coverage and commentary coming from a number of different sources:

I'd also like to point out the 35W Bridge Disaster group on Flickr. Currently it has over 600 photos submitted by 70+ users. (Full disclosure: I organized the group, but have been pretty much hands-off since doing so.) Three sets stuck out early on: Flickr members ebrandt78, AdamDi and s4xton all were either at the scene right after the bridge collapsed, or posted photos on behalf of someone who was.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Washington Avenue, But With Trees and Stuff

Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak wants to transform the dull-but-improving Washington Avenue into a pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined boulevard that could act as the Mill City's version of the Avenue des Champs Elysées in Paris.

Uh, right. Best of luck with that (seriously!), but come on.

The AIA Minnesota has a page up on the project, and just launched a blog on it as well.

Up next: Saint Paul decides to do something with University Avenue (which, incidentally, was originally supposed to be that city's version of a certain Paris boulevard), Minneapolis finally cleans up Hennepin Avenue through downtown, and Eagan transforms Yankee Doodle into a pleasant pedestrian mall.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Service Notice

Well, I've been a bad blogger lately. So many interesting development stories in the Twin Cities, and all you get here is the sound of crickets. I'm moving in late May, expecting a child in late June and hopefully going back to school in the fall, but in the meantime will try to be a little more active 'round these here parts.

As usual, MNspeak and the Southwest and Downtown Journals are great sources to watch.

Monday, April 16, 2007


This is interesting: Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic Games includes a certain new football stadium in... Minneapolis. (Click on the last thumbnail after hitting the link.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Nicollet Gets a New Development Partner. Nicollet Mall Still Waiting.

The MSP Business Journal is reporting Opus Northwest has replaced Hines Interests as the primary development partner of the frozen-in-ice Nicollet project in downtown Minneapolis. Whether this change will bring one of Nicollet Mall's most important blocks back from the dead remains to be seen, but holding one's breath in anticipation probably isn't the best idea.

A huge-ass condo development proposed just as people were starting to cast a funny look at the housing market, The Nicollet always seemed like a bad idea destined for disaster. Unfortunately, it got far enough along to deprive us of one of the best record stores in the Twin Cities. Sure, other business were able to relocate, but Nicollet Mall lost some of its diversity and vibrancy as a result, and is now more sterile and corporate for all of those who visit.

About that huge parking lot over by 394 and the garbage incinerator...

The StarTribune today has Jerry Bell saying he believes excavation will finally be able to begin on the new Twin's stadium. Over in the Pioneer Press, Joe Soucheray has some theories on why it's taken so long to get a hole in the ground.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Minneapolis to Warehouse District Developers: You Need to Cut Some Floors. Like 18.

As part of Minneapolis' continuing effort to keep the city as small as possible, the city council voted on Friday to reject an appeal to permit high-rise towers as part of the Pacific condos and hotel development.

While efforts to maintain the character of the area have a lot of merit, it should be recognized that preventing developments like the Pacific will ultimately lead to a more homogenized (and boring) urban environment. One only needs to go a few blocks north and study the architectural disaster between 1st and 2nd Streets North to see what kind of development we're setting ourselves up for.

It would be a tragedy to let such inspired blandness creep onto Washington Avenue. Even if the 10-floor limit was to remain in force for the rest of the area, it would make sense to let the block in question grow up. I-394 creates somewhat of a blockade to pedestrians, and a major development like the Pacific (which would be across the street from 394's final ramp) could help create a bridge between downtown and the rest of the Warehouse District.

Monday, January 15, 2007

AMC Rosedale Admits the Weather is a Bit Chilly

WCCO is confirming management at the new AMC Theaters at Rosedale Mall has finally come to the same conclusion just about everyone else in the north metro came to quite some time ago--the outdoor box office was an incredibly stupid idea:
"A spokeswoman for AMC theaters heard the complaints loud and clear, and said the box office will, indeed, be enclosed as soon as management gets the local building permits. As soon as possible, AMC plans on erecting a temporary enclosure. By next winter, the company plans on building a permanent enclosure that according to Melanie Bell 'will complement the current structure' and protect moviegoers from 'all elements: temperature, moisture and wind.'"
Expected highs for the next five days: 13°, 24°, 22°, 18° and 20°.

For what it's worth, Chris Hewitt of the Pioneer Press had an article on this train wreck a couple of weeks ago. While the tone of his article was generally fairly critical, some thought he was being too kind.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Schmidt Brewery: A Future Town Within a City?

The Pioneer Press reports a Maine developer and his St. Paul son are looking to convert the Schmidt Brewery property into a mixed-use "town within a town" development, possibly in coordination with the West Seventh/Fort Road Federation. The federation has a page on the project, and the StarTribune has coverage as well.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Minneapolis Grain Elevators: Going, Going...

This is about a month overdue, but the Strib has a story on the partial preservation of the Bunge Grain Elevators in Northeast Minneapolis. It sounds like most of the complex will be torn down, but the landmark headhouse--a common sight to those traveling on 35W north of downtown--will be preserved.

It's a modest nod to the past in a city that seems determined to destroy the most visible reminders of its industrial and agricultural history. In addition to the Bunge elevators, we're losing the ConAgra towers by the U of M, and will likely watch part of the Pillsbury complex near St. Anthony main disappear as well. It's too bad we can't seem to find a better way to save more of the grain elevators here. Heck, Akron converted some of theirs into a hotel, why don't we make some of ours into condos or offices? If a city as boring as Akron freakin' Ohio can figure out how to preserve them, you'd think a "creative class" city like Minneapolis would be able to do so as well.

This city needs more imagination and fewer wrecking balls.