Block Development Charrette:
West Half of Nicollet Avenue, 39th to 40th Street

On Wednesday, August 22, 2007 interested neighbors, property-owners
and members of the Kingfield Neighborhood Association’s Redevelopment
Committee gathered at Mulroy’s Body Shop (3920 Nicollet Avenue S) to discuss
the future of a block that has recently seen three single family homes razed and
now represents one of the largest clear development opportunities in Kingfield.
The following represents sentiments, concerns and hopes of the participants for
what this block could become.
The first step in any development process is to recognize the opportunities
and concerns integral to the particular process.  In a large group open forum
discussion, the following issues were identified:

Opportunities
• Increase density
• Mixed-Use
• Supports diverse uses
• All-day occupants could provide “Eyes on the street”
• A development could possibly act as a buffer for the homes on Van Nest Avenue.
• Site well linked with public transportation.
• Offers amenities within walking distance.
• Large enough site to provide for green spaces.
• Large neighborhood support for housing for all phases of the life cycle, particular housing aimed at seniors.
• Adjacent neighbors amenable to idea of zoning the land to a denser classification.
• Location could support a cafe, coffee shop or restaurant.
• Opportunity to create a pedestrian scaled environment.
• Possibility of allowing a slightly larger front setback from Nicollet
Avenue, creating a friendlier streetscape.
• A three-story development would be of an appropriate and palatable scale.  More and the immediate neighbors would have serious concerns, less and the city and neighborhood would not achieve it’s desired density.
• Wonderful existing residential character to build upon. having a building that is too  long, uninterrupted by visual interest.

Concerns
• Too much density could become a burden to the built environment and adjacent  neighbors.
• A building must have a residential character in order to be appropriate.
• Use must be compatible with adjacent neighbors, and neighborhood at large.
• Existing property on east half of Nicollet Avenue (across Nicollet Avenue from project site) is essentially blank and offers no “Eyes on the street” / life / security.  This property must cope with and rectify that.
• Given current housing market forces, any developer must have foresight in order to avoid having a vacant building in the end.
• With a full block in question, there exists the possibility of having a building that is too long, uninterrrupted by visual interest.
• Development should have a softer character, avoiding excessive use of hard surfaces  such as concrete.
• Given large project area, care must be taken to avoid a monolithic building mass.
• With the relationship between the area in question and Van Nest Avenue, any development must have a back yard / offer green space to those neighbors adjacent to the west.
• Increased traffic could be problematic.
• Difficulties in the City of Minneapolis entitlement process could trip-up any development.
• Any business proposed for this area needs to be unique to the neighborhood, preventing undue competition with existing businesses and assisting with variety in consumer opportunities.
• Noise!
• Parking would need to be integrated into any development scheme.  Street and surface
parking would be unpalatable for neighborhood.
• Building elevations could be unfriendly to streetscape.
• Building heights may be inappropriate for neighborhood scale.
• Solar access for neighbors might be infringed upon (i.e., development might block  sunlight from adjacent homes).
• Increased traffic on Van Nest is impermissible.
• Businesses with late night operations are not welcome.
• Security / safety must be enhanced by any development.
• Residential must face residential.

In small group exercises, the participants tried to give voice to their own
vision for the study area.  Each group tried to establish the salient features,
business services offered or physical qualities that would create a successful
block.  The following reflects each small group’s own vision:

Group A
Group A saw a development that offered businesses that primarily
residents of Kingfield would use (little commuter traffic), such as a small medical
clinic, barber or bowling alley (caveat: no late hours / raucous behavior).  A
sensible site plan with ample green space, setbacks on all four sides to allow for
solar access to adjacent properties would provide a nice visual amenity to the
whole neighborhood.

Group B
Group B envisioned a mixed-use development that scaled its buildings
appropriately to the street grid; taller buildings facing Nicollet Avenue that step
down in height to the Van Nest side.  Business services offered might include
daycare or small professional space such as a dental office or medical clinic.
Parking would be located at the ends of the block, replacing or adjacent to the
existing Mulroy’s Body Shop or Ellwood’s Garage.  The property limits that face
residential properties would be ringed with a privacy fence and there would be
ample green space throughout.

Group C
Group C proposed moving Ellwood’s Garage towards mid-block, allowing
for a restaurant space that would be more active, stay open later, on the south
end of the block.  The existing Mulroy’s Body Shop would be trimmed back
several feet from its Van Nest property line to provide for greater street
landscaping / greenery.  The mixed-use development would be set back far
enough from Nicollet Avenue to provide a soft streetscape and would provide
office space with senior / adult housing above.  Several courtyards throughout
the project site would enhance the softer character of the site.  A green roof or
rooftop plaza with an extensive container garden would provide an amenity to
residents.  The site would also feature a community garden.

Group D
Group D had concerns about the width of the development, as the
development must be sensitive to a commercial corridor on Nicollet Avenue and
to residential along Van Nest Avenue.  The development would, thus, reflect two
fronts: a commercial front on Nicollet and a residential front on Van Nest.  Entries
to side-by-side townhomes would be staggered to prevent a monotonous facade and excessive localized traffic.  Commercial spaces might be a cafe, restaurant
or coffee shop that would complement office space or business that offer
community services.  All parking would be addressed internally and green space
would be ample throughout.  The building itself would be constructed in a
sustainable and environmentally responsible way.  Given their druthers, Group D
also hoped to make Van Nest a pedestrian only street, blocking vehicular traffic.

Group E
Group E envisioned a strictly commercial development.  Marquis
businesses would include stores such as Trader Joe’s, Turtle Bread or a full-
service grocery store (not a convenience store).  Also included in the
development would be a bank or other commercial use with no late hours, such
as a day spa.  The building itself would be a single story or, if it had to be larger,
would articulate its facade in a way that would minimize its mass and impact on
the adjacent neighbors.  Overall, they wanted to maintain the quiet nature of the
site as it currently sits.

Conclusion
Given the hypothetical nature of any proposed development plan on the
area in question at this point, the group did a wonderful job assessing the desires
of the neighborhood and understanding the context of both the existing built
environment and of long-term strategic planning.  The results of the charrette are
meant to provide a rubric for judging any proposed development in the future and
a record of current sentiment about possibilities the site offers.
The Kingfield Neighborhood Association greatly appreciates the hard work
of the participants, KFNA staff and, especially, Mulroy’s Body Shop for hosting.

Kingfield Crime and Safety Meeting
Tuesday, August 21
7-8:30pm
Anodyne @ 43rd

Attendance:
Kingfield Residents- 6
MPD- Lt. Przynski, CPS Thompson
Minneapolis Attorney: Lisa Goden
Crime and Safety Task Force Board Representative- Amy Gracyalny
KFNA Staff- Joanna S. Hallstrom, Project Organizer – KFNA

Announcements:
Driftwood opening is postponed. The liquor license will not go before the City Council until September. The City has also cited the new business for not pulling permits for some of their remodeling.

Crime and Safety meetings will be held at MLK Park until Driftwoods officially opens.

Issues of Concern / Neighborhood Crime Report:

Shooting at 41st and Nicollet on Sunday, July 29:
Hallstrom invited Officer Mattsson of the Mpls Park Police to give a report on how park security has and is dealing with this incident and those like it. Mattsson explained that they have extra patrols in the summer (utilizing school resource officers). He also explained that there are non-sworn Park Agents and unarmed Park Police that also patrol the parks. Mpls Park Police and Mpls Police worked together the night of the shooting.
Read more

Tonight is the off-month of our regular NRP meetings, so I thought I would provide you with a written update of NRP-related activities.

The Plan Mods approved by the board earlier this summer have now been approved and the contracts are processed. If you recall, one of the strategies in one of these contracts was for the farmers’ market for $8000, which has almost been spent to date. The other projects that we now have money for are “green” education ($3000), events and programs in cooperation with the park and at the park ($4000: the ‘with’ will be the hard part here). There are also a number of strategies considered administration (Housing related at $43,000, and general at $22,000), events ($4000), Block clubs ($2000), and Business support ($2000). I will adjust our monthly payroll calculations to spend a greater share of housing money as of this month, since our home loan program will begin in September.
Read more

No meeting.

Redevelopment Committee Minutes
Kingfield Neighborhood Association
August 1, 2007
(rescheduled July meeting)
MLK Park
7:00 PM

Attendance
Rosemary Dolata, Mark Hinds, Arthur Knowles, Tom Parent, Ben Schein
Andrea Jenkins, 8th Ward Policy Aide
KFNA Staff: Joanna S. Hallstrom

Guests:
Robert Casserly, developer of StoneRock Inc.
4130 Pillsbury Ave.
HYPERLINK “mailto:bob@stonerock.tv” bob@stonerock.tv

Steven Johnson StoneRock partner
2715 W. 43rd St.

Tasks:
Set Up Carwash Tour – Parent
CHI Design Charrette to Casserly – Hallstrom / Hinds
Confirm Mulroy Design Charrette – Parent (Dolata and Parent to do design)
Schedule Plymouth Church Foundation /Youth Housing Tour – Parent
Draft Letter of Concerns for 3601 Nicollet Development
Letter to County regarding forfeiture Properties – Parent?
Check on upzoning of 3601 to C2  -
Drive by 4307 Wentworth & 4330 Stevens – Knowles / Parent
Inform CEE of Home Loan ad and application process – Linnes-Robinson

3601 Nicollet Development
Robert Casserly presented his plans to build StoneRock Advance Technology Eco-Carwash. Casserly plans for this site to be flagship store; one of three other metro area eco-carwashes he hopes to develop.  In his business plan Casserly combines a fast service automated carwash  with free trade coffee (partnership with Peace Coffee focusing on eco-friendly business principals. Casserly stated that his carwash will recycle 100% of its wash water and he is looking into a green roof for the coffee shop, solar panels and pervious pavers). He hopes to incorporate as many environmentally friendly and sustainable products into his Frank Lloyd Write style building and business as possible.

Casserly stated that the StoneRock Advance Technology Eco-Carwash could wash 70 cars per minute. The site will have fully automated pay systems with touch screens, underground vacuums to limit noise, free bike washing, free vacuuming and a patio for pedestrian coffee orders. Casserly stated that this site will produce 35 jobs and that 4-10 employees will be on site during operation. Hours of operation are expected to be from 7am-9pm. Casserly is expecting to make a 50/50 revenue split between the carwash and coffee sales. Casserly also stated that he has a charity carwash program to give back to the community.

Upon questions about the technology used in his carwash, Casserly invited members of the committee to tour a similar business located in Coon Rapids. The committee will set up a tour.

The committee shared KFNA’s history with the site and ultimate goals for a mixed use development with a housing component. The committee applauded Casserly’s eco-friendly business model, but was not willing to fully support a development on this site that did not meet KFNA’s Development Guideline goals for increasing density along the Nicollet Ave. corridor.

The committee suggested to Casserly to rethink the layout of the design, which has the parking and driveways fronting the building. Hind suggested placing the coffee shop part of the building next to the sidewalk to make the site more pedestrian friendly and interactive, He also suggested adding an enclosed seating area for winter. The committee will send Casserly images from the Corridor Housing Initiative design charrette for this site.

Committee Discussion:
The committee decided to draft a letter stating their concerns about the StoneRock development (Parent will write the letter). It will be distributed to KFNA, LNA, CM Glidden, and Casserly. The committee will also attend any community meetings regarding this development to voice their concerns. If the project does proceed KFNA will support Casserly in his efforts to secure funding for environmental components of this development.

Jenkins commented that due to the environmental components of this project it will be seen as a very favorable development by many people on the City level.

KFNA Housing Program:

KFNA will advertise the new Exterior Home Improvement Loan Program in the September KingfieldNews, via the KFNA email and it will be posted at kingfield.org.

The “first round” of applications must be received by xx-xx-xx and will be reviewed and accepted. If more applicants apply then loans available applicants will go to a lottery. The program will be open for applications until all the funds are committed.

The committee suggested the CEE do the lottery so as not to involve any KFNA residents in the selection process.  The application deadline needs to be chosen. The committee wants to make sure that applicants selected for a loan this fall have the option to start their and finish their projects in the spring.

Tax Forfeiture Properties: 4307 Wentworth Ave and 4330 Stevens
The committee was asked to make a recommendation as to whether the County buys, sells or hang on to these properties. The committee initially stated that they would like to see the properties rehabbed as single family homes as soon as possible (either by a private party or the County). Knowles and Parent will drive by the properties to and give secondary opinion. The committee does not want the properties to be boarded up.

Plymouth Church Foundation / 37th & Nicollet:
There is a PCF Design Committee meeting on August 20th at 7:30am at Westminster  Presbyterian. Church. Parent and Dolata committed to attending.

FCF sent out a list of possible youth housing site for the KFNA Redevelopment Committee to tour. The committee selected Lydia House, Anpa Waste and Seventh Landing. Parent will send out possible tour dates. It was decided that a weekday, late afternoon/evening tour would work the best.

Mulroy’s Charrette:
The committee to conduct a design charrette for Mulroys property during the August 22 redevelopment. Meeting.  Parent will confirm with Mulroy and request to hold the event at his shop.

Comprehensive Plan:
The City has pushed the completion of the draft version back. Amanda Arnold, KFNA’s community planner has been referred to KFAN development, CHI and affordable housing materials/statements.

The committee felt that it is too late to try to add anything new to the Comp. Plan but upon review of the plan the committee will be able to submit requested changes.

The primary change that will be requested is to change the current Community Corridor designation of  Nicollet Ave from Lake to 46th to a category  that allows businesses to be eligible for City business and finance programs.

Minutes completed by Joanna S. Hallstrom, KFNA

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