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CHANGES MADE TO NORTH LOOP GREEN DESIGN
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Plans have changed slightly for a large mixed-use project planned for what is currently a surface parking lot in the North Loop.

Developer Hines is planning a “vibrant, high-density, transit-oriented, mixed-use development” they’re calling North Loop Green for a site located at 520 N 4th Street . The project will be the third and final phase of Hine’s Rail Yards Area redevelopment and is being designed by ESG Architecture and Design.

THE PROJECT 

The 3.4 acre site that Hines is developing is unique not only due to the fact that it is right across the street from the Twins stadium or for the fact that it is wedged between two elevated roadways, but it’s also unique as the site physically runs beneath those two roadways.  

In total, North Loop Green will include 450 residential units, 340,000 square feet of class A office space (some of that space will become ESG’s new headquarters), 20,200 square feet of retail space and approximately 590 enclosed parking spaces on four underground levels. 

The 20,500 square feet of retail space will all be located within the office building. 14,000 square feet of retail space will be located on the first two floors and another 6,200 square feet of retail space will be located on the 14th floor where the two buildings are linked via a skydeck. 

The residential units within the project will include 354 market-rate apartments and 96 short-term rental units. The exact sizes of the units have yet to be revealed but are anticipated to include studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

The first round of designs for the project went to the Minneapolis Planning Commission Committee of the Whole in late July (if you want to see those plans click here) and now the developer is back with updated plans.

THE CHANGES

There have been a series of changes to the original plans that you may notice… or you may not. 

One large change to the residential building are that the height has been lowered to 35 stories (one story less) as one more unit was able to be fit onto each floor. The exterior cladding and composition of the residential building has also been updated to create a stronger connection to the surrounding North Loop architecture. The exterior will now include a much more solid façade which is planned to be clad in either precast or metal panels. More openings have also been added to the north and south sides of the building while the east and west sides have had their exterior cladding lightened and more transparency added.

When it comes to the office building the height has remained the same however the building’s floorplates were simplified, removing some exterior jogs on the western side of the building. In addition, the exterior of the office building was slightly updated and the ground floor retail space that is planned to be a restaurant was brought space closer to the 5th Street.

Last but not least, there were some changes to the public park area after stakeholder feedback was received. We have more information on what that part of the project will include below.

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THE GREEN

Remember that area we discussed earlier that will run beneath the two roadways? Hines has plans to construct a new public park there called “The Green.”

The Green will be located partially under the 3rd Street viaduct and partially under the 4th Street viaduct. The park will feature “community green space, a dog park, easy access to/from the Cedar Lake Trail for bicyclists and pedestrians, an area for food trucks” and more. The park will also include a nod to the historic past of the rail yards.

Before you begin to question if this park will see light of day due to its location under those viaducts, let us inform you that it park also covers the area between the two viaducts which is open to the sky. That area will be a flexible space for low-intensity activities and organized events. “A movable stage structure, with a railroad platform motif” will also be included and programmed for musical or theatrical events.

On the north side of the site there will be a small plaza with exhibits and artifacts relating to the history of the rail yards along with a small outdoor fitness plaza that will include outdoor exercise equipment. The developers plan to clad the area beneath the viaducts with “interesting and creative lighting and color.”

Now, let’s talk about that dog park.

The dog park will be located beneath the 4th street viaduct and will be available for use by residents and tenants of the buildings along with the general public (wahoooo). It’ll be fenced on all sides and will feature topographic features, seating for dog owners, equipment for cleaning and features that encourage dog amusement.

Being The Green will sit below street level there will need to be a way to get there from the area where the light rail is. In order to do so individuals will traverse a large plaza on 5th Street that winds through the site and eventually meets a “grand staircase.” That staircase extends from the upper level of the project that is at grade with 5th Street down the lower level where The Green will be located.

Work on North Loop Green is anticipated to begin in 2020 and be complete in 2022.

Plans for North Loop Green will be presented to the Minneapolis Planning Commission Committee of the Whole this Thursday, September 26th at 4:30pm.

 

 

 

36-STORY TOWER PLANNED FOR THE NORTH LOOP

A parking lot adjacent to the Twins Stadium is set to become home to a large mixed-use development. 

Houston-based Hines has revealed that they are planning a new development called “North Loop Green” on the site located at 350 N Fifth Street in the North Loop neighborhood. The development would include a 36-story residential building and a 14-story office building.  

The 36-story building would be home to 450 rental apartments. Those units would be split into two different types with 360 of them being market-rate apartments and another 90 being short-term rental apartments. Each apartment type would have their own designated lobbies but both would share the same amenities.

The 14-story building would be home to 340,000 square feet of office space and has actually already landed a tenant for a portion of that space. ESG Architecture & Design, the firm who also designed the project, has committed to move their entire office of 175 employees from their current space on Washington Avenue to the new office tower once complete in late 2022.

ESG was selected by Hines after a national search due to their understanding of Minneapolis and the number of projects they have completed within the city. North Loop Green is ESG’s largest project that they have worked on to date.

When it comes to the design of North Loop Green it was designed with transit and density in mind. Hines hopes that the site can be an “urban oasis” for travelers coming from the Blue and Green light rail lines, the Northstar Commuter Rail and the Cedar Lake Trail

A new “grand staircase” along with pathways and plazas will be built within the site that will connect it to the Cedar Lake Trail below. A large plaza will be located in front of the two towers that will feature gathering space for the community. 15,000 square feet of retail space will be located off of this plaza on the ground floor of each building.

When it comes to the designs of the buildings Hines wanted to ensure that characteristics from both the North Loop and the Downtown Central Business District where both included. ESG therefore designed the buildings to feature clean and crisp silhouettes that draw from many of the designs of skyscrapers in the CBD while also featuring handmade design elements inspired by the North Loop. 

One unique design element of North Loop Green will be an “amenity bridge” that spans between the two buildings. Due to the taller floor-to-floor heights in the office building the bridge will connect on the 17th story of the residential building and the 14th story of the office building. Within the bridge there will be 5,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor space to house a restaurant and bar that will have stunning views of the downtown skyline.  

Hines has owned the site where North Loop Green will be constructed since 2012. The site is part of a 6 acre-parcel of land where Hines has already developed two phases with the first being Dock Street Flats and the second being the T3 office building. 

This also isn’t the first proposal that Hines has had in the works for 350 N Fifth Street. Back when The Development Tracker first began Hines was exploring another two-tower proposal that would have included two 20-story buildings. One of the buildings would have included office space while the other had not been determined at the time. You can see that proposal here.

Hines will submit their plans for North Loop Green to the city of Minneapolis and the North Loop neighborhood later this week. The project still will need to go through all of the formal city review processes which means construction most likely wouldn’t begin until Spring 2020 at the earliest.

We’ll be sure to post more information right here on our website about this exciting project as it becomes available.

 
THRIVANT FINANCIAL DEBUTS PLANS FOR NEW DOWNTOWN HEADQUARTERS

Another full block surface parking lot is about to disappear in Downtown Minneapolis thanks to Thrivent Financial.

Tuesday evening the non-profit company made public the plans for their new headquarters that would be located at the corner of S 6th Street and 5th Avenue S on the northern half of the block. Now, don't fret because you think only half of the lot is getting filled, there's plans for the other half that we'll get to later.

The new 8 story headquarters would not simply be JUST a headquarters for Thrivent, it would also be a space for the community. Included in the project on the first floor would be a coffee shop, chapel, and an art gallery with the upper floors holding Thrivent's offices.

Outside of the building on the corner of Portland Avenue and S 6th Street would be a pocket park complete with public art. Located just a bit south of the pocket park would be a coffee shop and also a grab-and-go cafe, both which would be open to the public.

With Thrivant being a non-profit company, they like to give back to community and do so in many different ways. They see this new headquarters as another way to give back to the community of Minneapolis. Once constructed they hope that the new building will be seen as an welcoming and iconic entry way into Downtown Minneapolis and a place for all to enjoy.

THE DESIGN

Designed by Minnesota based HGA, the building is meant to really embrace the neighborhood. Large amounts of expansive glass are used to provide a transparent space connecting the interior of the building to the outside surrounding neighborhood.

As mentioned above, the first floor of the project would include a chapel along with a meditation room, both of which are currently found within Thrivent's 17 story headquarters a block away. In addition, there would be a company art gallery.

Located on the skyway level would be a full service Thrivent Federal Credit Union that would be open to the public, similar to how Wells Fargo structured their new headquarters. The skyway would connect the Thrivent's headquarters to a planned mixed-use development on the southern half of the site along with HCMC on the east side of the site. In the future, Thrivent's headquarters would link to the greater Downtown skyway system as projects are built on the neighboring blocks.

ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Now, what exactly is planned for the southern half of the site that we keep mentioning?

Local developer Sherman Associates has drafted up plans for a 12 story, 150 unit apartment building to be located along 5th Avenue S. In addition, on the Portland Avenue side of the site there would be a 9 story, 120 room suite-oriented hotel. The exact brand of hotel has yet to be disclosed as Sherman Associates is still in the negotiation process.

Lastly, positioned between these two projects would be a two story building with a day care and fitness center, both of which are sure to prove popular with the downtown crowd. 

When looking at both Thrivent Headquarters and the Sherman development as one piece you might have noticed something, Minneapolis is going to see ANOTHER entire block of surface parking redeveloped. Does this remind anyone of maybe a currently under construction project just down the block?

If you're thinking of the redevelopment of the Kraus Anderson headquarters then you're spot on.

That project, which is in its final stages, saw the redevelopment of not only the KA headquarters building, but also the entire surface parking lot surrounding it which ended up being an ENTIRE city block. Today, if you drive by you'll find the brand new 5 story Kraus Anderson headquarters, a 17 residential building called HQ that opened this month, a 4 story Finnegan's brewery that is set to open later this month, and lastly, an under construction, 8 story, 165 room boutique hotel that will be part of Marriott's Autograph Collection called Elliot Park Hotel.  If you haven't seen this project recently, check out the webcam here.

Comparing that development to Thrivent's development we get pretty similar projects. Both include the redevelopment of a surface parking lot, the addition of a headquarters, a hotel, and a residential building. The only major difference? Instead of a brewery like the KA project, we'll get a fitness center and day care. 

Now, this is some progressive development that we're glad to see happening in Minneapolis. Let's keep it going, there's a lot of surface parking lots left to be conquered.

Construction is expected to begin in Summer 2018 with a completion in mid 2020.

 
Official design for "The Commons" debuts

Minneapolis finally has it's first glimpse at what will officially become it's tree filled, activity bursting, and sun bathing park. Oh yes, and it's right Downtown we might add. We're referring to "The Commons", a new $22 million dollar park that will be constructed right in front of the Minnesota Vikings brand new $1 billion (plus) stadium.

Hargreaves Associates presented their plans to the city of Minneapolis and its residents last night at a public meeting. The 4.2 acre site is an outdoor gathering space that Minneapolis can truly be proud of. 

The latest plans show quite a bit going on in the two full blocks of park space. The space closest to the stadium itself includes a multitude of things. The largest area is called "The Great" lawn and features just that, a large grassy open area. There is a 40x40 stage along with a shade structure located next to the Great Lawn along Park Avenue. The Great Lawn area can hold up to 6,000 people for events and gatherings.

Two major promenades will run along side the park in its entirety. One will be on 4th Street, the other on 5th. Along the 4th Street promenade there is space for kiosks and outdoor tables (think Bryant Park in NYC). Portland Avenue will remain open but will be reduced down to two single traffic lanes and a bike lane. 

The second block running towards the core of downtown Minneapolis will feature a smaller grassy area called the "Good Lawn". There is also a large water feature that stretches across a good portion of the site and a bit of the of the other block. Renderings show the water feature producing mist from the cracks in the surface. It'll be a popular site for cooling down when the summer heat is at its worst.

A pavilion along with a play landscape are also part of the plans for this block. This part of The Commons also features a park like site with trails that meander through groves of trees. This second block will abut right up to a new six story 200 unit residential building that will begin construction soon. 

The Commons will function a bit like Bryant Park in New York City. During the summer there will be space for many activities like bocce ball, chess, and of course the summer time favorite of Frisbee throwing. In the winter space will be available for an ice rink and of course plenty of space for snowman building.

Now that the design is in place the race to raise the $22 million needed in order to actually build the park begins. No public money will be given towards the development of the park meaning all will come from private donations. 

Construction of the park could begin next year.