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.

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