Friday, February 17, 2006

Pillsbury A Mill Developers Wins Appeal.

Yesterday I attended the public hearing on the appeal of Shafer Richardson’s (SR) plan to develop the Pillsbury A Mill complex. In January, the Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) denied Shafer Richardson’s plan citing that the proposed towers would significantly alter the historic landscape. However, the two major neighborhood organizations of Marcy-Holmes approved SR’s plans citing that “in lieu of the heights, the plan accomplishes the goals of the community by making the riverfront more accessible to everybody.” To read the two articles from the local Star Tribune follow the proceeding links: February 16 and February 17.

This is a very exciting turn of events. For a while I was unsure whether the Minneapolis Zoning and Planning Committee would agree with the HPC or approve the plan. In my opinion, the city of Minneapolis and Marcy-Holmes will both benefit from this reinvestment in a growing “Historical District” that encompasses both sides of the Minneapolis Riverfront.

There were a number of important issues brought up by ward members including:
• The Significance of Small Areas Plans.
• The Power that neighborhoods and their Master Plans have and how strictly they have to adhere to them in regards to development.
• Potential precedents that may result from allowing taller developments.
• Continued importance of Historic Preservation, Strengthening of city neighborhoods economically, and continue the reinvestment of the Minneapolis Riverfront.

A great day for the eventual intensification of development in Minneapolis and St. Paul, now if only we could throw a street car line in behind the development that goes all the way to the Central Corridor…But that would be asking way too much so I will take what we got. It will be interesting to see if SR will redesign the site so that taller buildings are in the rear of the site and shorter buildings are closer to Main St. as was suggested by Lisa Goodman of Ward 7.

Well, now I must get to some homework on this incredibly cold Friday. Hope everyone has a good weekend and stays warm.


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