At times when cities compete with features and faces of the new, the voice of Minneapolis is looking to accent. With the somewhat newfound identity as a river city, the urban area is rebuilding its riverfronts, bustling with bike-riders and strolling suburban families. What begun as a lazy prairie river has now become a newfound urban passageway for business, newcomers and tourists.
In Minnesota, the Mississippi river flows through valleys, woodlands and Minneapolis, allowing the urban dweller to enjoy a wide range of both urban and natural amenities. Proceeding through the city, the riverbank supplies public spaces and recreational areas but most importantly connects. The city tells a tale of inhabitants being connected to both the surrounding nature and to each other.
From the neighborhoods of East Side of St.Paul and North Minneapolis, as well as suburban areas the restoration of Minneapolis as a river town engages the city, ensuring the economic vitality of the region.
MINNEAPOLIS DOWNTOWN COUNCIL VISION 2025
Minneapolis is striving for a liveable, green, connected, welcoming and exciting city. To meet expectations, the plan, initiated by the council to assist city leaders and citizens, is focusing their effort to re-energizing the downtown area, maintaining a strong economy in the central business district.
Learn More here
RENOVATION OF NICOLLET MALL
In a new 2013 initiative, a modernized Nicollet Mall is planned with a 1 mile long public streetscape enhancing the promenade and the atmosphere of the downtown area. Led by the Minneapolis Downtown council and the City of Minneapolis, the renovation awarded to the James Corner Field Operations and team, will further establish Minneapolis’s reputation as one of the America’s most dynamic and progressive cities.
36.1% VACANCY RATE
This number represents the direct vacant space – if subleased space is included the vacancy rate jumps to 41.7% for the CBD. Per Colliers 2nd Quarter 2013 report, there is 450,000+ SF of direct vacant space in Minneapolis’ CBD. Average vacancy rates for retail across the entire Metro region are significantly lower, at 6.2%, with stronger investment in suburban locations.
10.3% VACANCY RATE – CLASS A
Class A is holding strongest, with Class B at 15.4% vacant and Class C at 11.5% vacant (direct). Per Colliers 2nd Quarter 2013 report, 1.4 million SF of Class A office space is currently
available in Minneapolis. Average vacancy rates across the entire region are 12.7% for Class A, and 12.9% averaging A, B and C together.
IDS Center & Crystal Court
CASE STUDY COMPARISONSThe IDS Tower and Crystal Court designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee was built in 1973. It was Minneapolis’ first modern sky scraper at 57 stories. The full block podium and Crystal Court is universally recognized as having a gracious urban presence - described by Larry Millet as the longstanding ‘crossroads of downtown’. The open atrium connects the crossing of 4 skyways and 4 access points to the street grid. The property - which changed hands in 2013 - had a 12% office vacancy rate in late 2013 and a 0% retail/podium vacancy rate. In combination with the 282 Marquette Hotel - and broad spectrum of retail and service tenants and year round community / public atrium programming it maintains a very high standard for mixed-use success and good urban form.
CASE STUDY COMPARISONSThe Butler Brothers Warehouse on the western edge of downtown was designed by Harry Jones in 1906. in A976 - the former Medieval appearing warehouse was renovated for office and retail uses. The heavy timber structure was opened up to include two atria. The renovation of the building at this time - was unique in Minneapolis. The heavy timber interior framed atrium was an historic public room at the industrial edge and partner to the modern Crystal Court 5 blocks away. Today - the remarkable interior feels dated and office and retail vacancy rates have climbed. Now surrounded by entertainment and dining venues, blocks from the Gen-x housing of the North Loop, and the adjacent Target Center (Arena) and Target Field (Baseball stadium) this property is poised for it’s third renaissance. The unique ‘loft style’ office space and light filled atria - needs a physical refresh and will benefit from an intensified Super-Mix at the Street, Skyway and Lower Levels that will support and appeal to creative consulting and start-ups.
33 South Sixth Street & City Center
CASE STUDY COMPARISONSDesigned by SOM in 1983 - Larry Millett (AIA GUide to the Twin Cities) describes it aptly “This big architectural oaf was plunked down on the city’s 100 percent corner in 1983 with no apparent regard for the niceties of urban design.” It is indeed fortress-like and has suffered on and off for 30 years. It stands as an object lesson - begging to be hacked. In late 2013 the tower is nearly 100% leased - the podium is nearly 33% vacant. The streetscapes and adjacent properties struggle as a result of poor design and poor retail level occupancy at the street and skyway level. The adjacent bus stop is recognized as one of the most dangerous in downtown. We examine the exterior envelope and urban position of this Case further later in this document.
Gaviidae Common 1
CASE STUDY COMPARISONSModeled on the the retail arcades of the 19th century - this 5 story half block building was designed by Cesar Pelli & Associates and built in 1989. Tailored to serve the 1980’s surge of office development, the project was geared to be an upscale shopping destination. Just across the street from the IDS Crystal Court - it provides a compact ‘arcade’ experience - strung by skyway to the IDS. Unfortunately 5 stories of retail and dining - 3 of them above the skyway level could not be sustained. We are working with the building’s management team to refresh and reposition the building. One of the strategies is to introduce multi-tenant office programming into the upper 3 floors of the former retail and dining spaces. This transformation will create a hybrid office - retail building - with access to an elegant atrium, roofdeck access for private offices and a great downtown address.
RBC Plaza & Gaviidae Common 2
CASE STUDY COMPARISONSThis retail and office complex designed by Lohan Associates was built in 1991. This project copies the Gaviidae Common multi-story retail strategy for another block. The original build-out included a multi story Department Store (Neiman Marcus) that anchored the retail proforma. Neiman Marcus closed-its’ doors in July of 2013 leaving 118,000sf of vacant retail. The artificially list interior atrium is compact. Once animated by a food court on the top floor - it now has a struggling retail component. The former Neiman Marcus space is slated to be come office space. Taking the anchor retail space out of the equation - a retail vacancy rate above 35% remains for the property . The ‘luxury’ retail mix envisioned in the Clinton era has not proven viable. Post recession, post down-town population surge - the challenge to expand the Mix for a changed 365 day, 24-7 cycle is here.
Known as the second story town, Minneapolis is proud owners of the world’s largest skyway system, built on the success of Les park’s experiment in 1962. Connecting 80 blocks through a climate-controlled rhizome of walkways above ground, the skyway extends over eight miles. With new plans in place for a major eastward expansion, the successful skyway will connect the downtown core with the eastern Viking stadium. The expanded skyway system has the potential to be a major draw to provide a convenient connection across downtown podiums and as well as keeping the city alive beyond 8-5. While real estate data suggesting a trend of decreasing building amenities, the East Skyway is providing an original connection to the city and a great opportunity for tenants to stay and re-develop their properties in a new setting.