Thursday, January 26, 2017, 6 p.m., Jones Harrison Residence, Lakeview Room
Attendees included residents from throughout the community, including condominium owners from Lake Point, Loop Calhoun, and Calhoun Isles. Corrections and edits to these summary notes may be submitted to email@example.com.
Traffic Consultant Ed Terhaar, presented a preliminary traffic study and took questions and comments from the audience
Discussions are being held with the city of Minneapolis Traffic Department about the project. Mr. Terhaar’s studies indicate that office traffic exceeds projected apartment traffic. There are existing problems with these intersections, and the City and the County are looking for solutions. The westerly curb cut will be eliminated. During one observation, there were one or two cars that made a left turn out of the western curb cut, an illegal turn.
Questions and statements from the audience for the traffic consultant:
Question: Have the traffic studies anticipated more north-south walking across Lake Street? Answer: No.
Question: Did the study exclude Calhoun Flats traffic? Answer: Yes.
Question: There are 200 new units. There could be two cars per unit. Less than half are leaving. Is this projection normal? Answer: Yes.
Statements by attendees:
- Traffic exceeds the speed limit.
- The average speed is 42.5 mph, which means that many are traveling faster.
- The evening rush hour is much worse in the evening than morning.
- There is a blind curve in front of the project.
- The Trammel Crow project will add substantial traffic.
Question: Will you study traffic exiting traffic onto Dean Parkway? Answer: Yes
Aaron Roseth and Gretchen Camp from ESG Architects presented renderings and information about Brickstone’s three design options (see renderings and metrics here)
Bob Corrick of CIDNA Land Use explained that CIDNA has preliminarily opposed all three options, and has preliminarily discussed a compromise 9-story counter proposal with a 15% floor area reduction and wider side yard facing the Loop (see more explanation here). Brickstone has declined CIDNA’s request for floor area reduction, and has proposed alternative 9-story massings that keep the size of the project as initially proposed. CIDNA is considering its response during the coming weeks.
The Brickstone team then took questions from the audience about the project:
Nadine Emerson, Loop: All three options encroach on the Loop. The 6- and 9-story designs are very close. The 13-story option presents a tower effect in an area where we seek height limits. Ms. Emerson would like to see flexibility by Brickstone when it comes to scale. The project is too large. Loop also needs a written agreement about excavation damage and assurances that construction damage will be paid by the Brickstone. Ms. Emerson believes that the project should be condominiums, not apartments. Dan Otis of Brickstone responded that he is sympathetic to the needs of the Loop. Brickstone brought in their contractor to seek mitigation of all issues to which Ms. Emerson is referring. They have looked at non-vibratory methods for excavation. They are working on a written agreement with the Loop. During construction they will conduct third party vibratory monitoring.
Irv Smith, Calhoun Isles: Mr. Smith lives on the 7th floor of Calhoun-Isles Condominiums. 13 stories would establish significant adverse precedent. He opposes the 13-story option. Craig Westgate of CIDNA Board responded that this is a neighborhood issue, which would establish very significant precedent for taller buildings.
Mike Elson, Lake Calhoun Sailing School: The Park Board may move the sailing school to the northwest side of Lake Calhoun. More tall buildings would affect wind patterns for sailors. The 9-story option would have less effect than the 13-story. The 6-story design would be best.
Susan Mewborn, Lake Point: Views are a primary reason for ownership at Lake Point. 6- and 9-story options would bring more young people with more cars going to work. The low-quality construction of the 6-story seems to be a straw man. Dan Otis responded that the three options are presented in good faith at the request of CIDNA. Brickstone intends to attract diverse group of residents. The developer is more likely to consider condominiums with the 13-story option, but Brickstone is primarily a rental developer.
Pat Murphy, Lake Point (presented by Susan Mewborn): Ms. Murphy realizes that some of her concerns are self-serving. But there are other units that will have the same problem. The only reason that she purchased her unit is for the views. The project will block her views from two windows. She inquires why the Loop condos are considered more than Lake Point. She also inquires why the city ordinance does not protect of the adjacent neighbors. Brickstone should build the 6-story design with high-quality construction.
Leela Rao, Lake Point: Traffic safety is a problem in the neighborhood. The very night of the Trammell Crow public hearing in January 2015, a young woman was killed crossing Lake Street at Market Plaza. The many projects being built in the area will worsen traffic and safety in the area. Ms. Rao urges Brickstone to consider the safety of residents in the neighborhood. Dan Otis responded that he has spent time on the street around the neighborhood and understands the problem.
He states that overall trip generation is actually going down with this project. The City and the County are spending a great deal of time trying to address the problem.
Anhthi Tram, Loop: The 6- and 9-story options would be 30 feet away from his home, and many of his neighbors. The 13-story design adversely affects fewer residents. It represents a good compromise. The green space is very attractive.
Carol Brandenburg, Lake Point: Ms. Brandenburg inquired whether the city reviews every new project on its merits. Aaron Roseth of ESG Architects responded that this is true. Ms. Brandeburg lives in a lower floor facing the project, so she would be very much affected by the project. She would rather look at a higher quality building. Ms. Brandenburg stated she purchased her Lake Point condo for the Lake Calhoun view, which will not be affected by the Brickstone building (nor will any other Lake Point owner’s lake view be blocked, or affected in any way). She is sympathetic to Loop residents for having to face the project so close to their property line. Lake Point views are not more or less important than the views of the Loop.
Leo Zabezhinsky, Loop and CIDNA Land Use: Thanked Carol Brandenburg for thinking beyond her own window. Construction damage could be felt beyond the Loop to Calhoun Flats, Vintage Apartments, and Lake Point. Mr. Zabezhinsky stated that we can’t ignore the realities of the tall Lake Point building.
Carrie Howard, Loop: Ms. Howard now looks directly into someone’s home in the Trammell Crow building, so she is concerned about another project affecting Loop residents in the same way. She is concerned about staging for the 6-story option. Two hundred apartments will affect the character of the neighborhood; condominiums would be better for the neighborhood. She expects renters to be a younger group. The units seem very small. She is very concerned about safety. She prefers the taller building with green space. Dan Otis responded that they plan for a diverse rental base. Renters will not be a college crowd. Their customers are more like baby boomers—residents that are semi-retired, who might spend summers in Minneapolis and winters elsewhere. Brickstones’s renters are likely to seek healthy life style options. The higher rents mean that college students and young workers may be unable to afford these units. Craig Westgate, CIDNA Board stated that the green space related to the project would not be available to the public. Dan Otis stated that the community would benefit from the view corridor and open space. There would be no fences. Karen Stublaski, Loop and CIDNA Land Use, inquired whether Brickstone would consider condominiums. Dan Otis stated that they would consider the possibility, but that condominiums are challenging due to state law, which makes developers liable for defects 10 years after construction. They are not able to manage these risks very well, which makes their ability to build condominiums very limited. Patrick Sadler, Policy Aid to Council Member Lisa Goodman, confirmed that developers are less likely to build condominiums for reasons of liability under state law.
Richard Logan, West Calhoun: Richard has spent much time observing traffic. County data is based on aerial data, which does not seem to be very accurate. The intersection of Lake Street and Dean Parkway is very dangerous.
Jim Welby, Loop: Avoid damage to their building. Maximize set backs, use non-vibratory construction, with more setbacks, and smaller footprint. Enhance the pedestrian experience and traffic safety. Respect the neighborhood character, so height is an issue. He likes additional the green space of the 13-story option.
Carrie Acheson, Loop: With this development, Ms. Acheson will loose her views. The 6- and 9-story options are very close to their property, while the 13-story design is further away. Craig Westgage, CIDNA Board, stated that the Vintage Apartments could be developed. Dan Otis stated that this site is not very developable because there is not enough room below for parking.
Mark Scally, Lake Point: Mr. Scally lives on the 12th floor. He questions why Brickstone proposes to so much height. The 13-story option is 72% of the height of Lake Point. Dan Otis stated that the 13-story is about half of the height of Lake Point. Mr. Scully stated that the 13-story option presents a huge problem for precedent. The 6-story respects the neighborhood. The project is too large. The 9- and 13-story projects do not match the character of the neighborhood. The 6-story design makes much more sense with a wider side yard. Two hundred units are not pre-ordained. We should not build another Lake Point.
Beth Stockinger, CIDNA single-family resident, St. Paul Avenue: There is too much development in the neighborhood. Development should stop. The neighborhood is not safe as a result of so much traffic. She requests a traffic study to understand the problem. When do we say enough? The density is overwhelming. Ms. Stockinger inquired about data for vacancy and rentals. Dan Otis responded that the Minneapolis area is one of the tightest MSA’s in the country, and is one of the top three rental markets because it is not overbuilt. Project rents will be similar to the general Minneapolis rental market. Greystar is an exception. It is a beautiful building with very large rooms, but very high end with corresponding high rents. Rent will be from $2.20 to $2.60 per foot, translating to $1,800 to $2,000 per month. Brickstone will manage the property. The developer is more of a legacy owner.
Gem Erdem, Lake Point: Mr. Erdem does not care about his view very much, but will be sad to loose the beautiful sunsets. The sun will set behind a large blocky building. He sees many unfilled buildings nearby including those in Uptown. Traffic is so bad that he makes alternative plans to avoid traffic in the evening. He agrees with Mark Scally. The project is too large, and we have not seen attractive options for the neighborhood. Why not limit height to 6 stories and offer more set back for the Loop? Dan Otis responded that he would consider different directions.
David Williams, Lake Point: Views come and go. Vacant parcels are developed. The Shoreland Overlay protects the views of park users, which is why the Shoreland Overlay was passed. Precedent plays a big role with how developers build. We are kidding ourselves that each of these buildings is not a precedent. David thinks that the 6-story option is best. He encourages everyone to consider the views of all park users.
Stacia Goodman, CIDNA resident: She has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years. Will Brickstone leave the chair art, and install other art for the community to enjoy? Dan Otis responded that Stuart Ackerberg, the previous owner, was adamant about keeping the big chairs, but Dan Otis will consider public art for the project.
Brande Colson, Loop: Views and shadowing should be considered.
Carol Brandenburg, Lake Point: How will the large wall affect Lake Point views? Brickstone showed a video rendition of Lake Point views.
Adjourned: 8:10 p.m.