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It's all part of a welcome building boom around the U.
I was deeply disappointed by the Dinkytown editorial this morning which betrays a lack of real understanding of the issues in Dinkytown. It is not about pretty architecture. It is about planning and there are some very serious problems which need careful planning attention and not simple developer cheerleading from one who clearly has not spoken to those directly affected.
I see a lot of people who know nothing about good architecture and development writing editorials to support Opus Group and opponents of this development. You wedding cake buildings in this type environment after the second floor to change the structures perception relative to neighboring buildings. There is no way Sydney Hall should have been approved at it's specific corner location as designed without a wedding cake setback after the second floor. Good design married with good planning leaves a better living environment well after the developers leave. This will only occur when talented people are the decision makers.
Native Minnesotans have a nostalgic bias for Dinkytown. Compared to other areas surrounding Universities, Dinkytown is as the name implies, "dinky" and in bad need of a makeover. Not to mention layout of area is a vehicle and pedestrian traffic nightmare.
All one has to do is walk Grand Ave to see that modern buildings even with retro design change the character of the area. The new buildings tend to have a larger ground footprint, making everything feel crowded.
I have always wondered why this area doesn't have taller structures, this area is running out of space. Stop it with the old timer mentality of wanting a quaint little area! Move to Duluth if you want that. Change with the times or get left behind.
As with just about all projects conceived by developeds, there is no concideration for traffic or current residents. I have yet to see a project by a developer that allows sunlight or 1 square inch of grass.
I had some good times in Dinkytown when I was younger, but I don't have any particular fondness for the physical space of the place. Some of the restaurants and coffee shops are good, but parking is always a problem, and the student Friday/Saturday night bar scene means there is always a fair amount of trash and/or vomit left in the streets. Having said that, I don't really see how this development will improve anything. It will create nice cushy apartments and lofts for students from wealthy families willing to pay premium prices, but the street will be turned into a concrete canyon, unique small businesses (part of the charm of old Dinkytown) will be replaced by chains as rents increase, and parking will get even worse. Dinkytown does need something to bring it back to life, but this proposal will kill it, dump it in the grave and cover it over with a large concrete slab.
I don't see the problem with building over surface parking lots that are never at capacity. To be honest, we live in a CITY. Sometimes street parking is hard to come by. I would not doubt the power of good architecture. Minneapolis does have pretty good mid rise development that has gone up in recent years, and has strived to achieve a cultured environment (this includes architecture) since it became a decent sized city. Personally I'd like to see this in dinky town. The twin cities has always had too many patches of parking lot that swallow up once urban neighborhoods. (Gateway district and downtown east if we need examples of how auto-centric mentalities literally destroy city neighborhoods). Yes, I understand how set back architecture is important, but when it's 6 stories were just crying wolf. This article was written by a well informed individual who understands how urban environments operate. Sorry he stepped on some toes by doing his job. Kudos star tribune on a brilliant editorial.
This article could not be more right. It amazes me that when people think of attractive neighborhoods they think of open parking lots and single story boxes built in the 60's. I'd take a brand-new 6 or 7 story building over surface parking any day. If parking is such a problem then don't drive your car to dinkytown in the future, take the new light rail!
Steril corporate chain restaurants do not "harmonize" with the eclectic funky vibe of Dinkytown. Neither does pricing out locally owned independent businesses in the name of "progress". Just because you CAN build it, doesn't mean you SHOULD.
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