Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association

Minutes from Board of Directors Meeting on Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Hennepin Center for the Arts

528 Hennepin Avenue, Suite 310, Minneapolis, Minnesota

I.          Call to Order and Introductions

            Board Chair Carletta Sweet called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

Other board members in attendance included Andy Hauer; Denise Holt; Cynthia Newsom, Treasurer; Kim Motes; and Scott Parkin, Secretary.  Vice Chair Tom Hoch and George Rosenquist were absent.    

Guests in attendance included Chuck Ballentine, Hennepin County (and Deputy Project Manager of the Minnesota Ballpark Authority); Bill Blanski, HGA Architects; Michelle Bruch, Downtown Journal; Michael Buelow, Omni Investment; Nancy Coyne; John Crosby; Michelle Fussy; Zak Khutoretoky and Beecher Vaillancourt of Foundation Nightclub; Carol Lansing, Faegre & Benson; Tom Melchior; De’Vonna Pittman, Minnesota Ballpark Authority; and Joel Schurke, Ryan Companies.

Staff member Christie Rock also attended the meeting.

II.        Consideration of the Agenda

Board Chair Sweet asked if there were any additions or changes to the agenda.  Hauer added the Foshay Towers and Motes added 201 Park Avenue to the Land Use Committee Report, and Sweet added committee chair appointments to Other Business.  The agenda as amended was approved.

III.       Land Use Committee Report

Land Use Committee Chair Andy Hauer reported on the following projects:

Foundation Nightclub.  Hauer invited the new owners of Foundation Nightclub to give the board an overview of their establishment.  Beecher Valliancourt explained that he has been involved in the entertainment and nightlife in Downtown and North Loop for the past 7 years.  In June 2006 he bought out the owners of the former Level Night Club where he had acted as a booking and bottle service manager prior to the sale.  Foundation is located in the lower level of the Lumber Exchange building at 10 South 5th Street and, with the assistance of an investor, underwent a quarter million dollar renovation prior to its opening on July 15, 2006.  Open Thursday through Sunday evenings, Foundation is a 3-in-1 eclectic music venue that caters to the 25 plus crowd.  Unique to its format, once a month from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. they conduct a “Baby Loves Disco” catering to toddlers up to preteens.  Valliancourt and Khutoretoky noted that they spoke with Crime Prevention Specialist Luther Krueger that very afternoon, and when asked about police calls to the club since taking over, advised that they have had one for an incident that took place outside of their establishment.  Hauer advised that since the use of the facility remains the same (just a name and ownership change) and that they already have an existing liquor license, no board action was required. 

Minnesota Ballpark Authority.  Chuck Ballentine advised that he and other representatives from Hennepin County and HGA Architects have come before the DMNA (the first neighborhood on their list) in an official capacity to fulfill a requirement of the application to build a Ballpark.  Thereafter, they gave an extensive presentation on the proposed site plan for the new Twins stadium, as well as an overview of the draft EIS. 

The project site consists of the new Ballpark which includes Minnesota Twins office space and ticket offices, concession and restaurant services, a storage area located under the North 5th Street bridge, an area up to 64,000 square feet for potential retail and/or office use and other facilities necessary to support a Major League Baseball game and the overall fan experience.

In addition to the Ballpark, the project includes a North 6th Street pedestrian bridge (width of 50 to 80 feet) over Interstate 394, improvements to the North 7th Street bridge, a parking facility immediately to the southwest of the Ballpark (maximum of 825 parking spaces), a field-level access road with access from 3rd Avenue North, a public promenade along the northwest side of the Ballpark and local roadway improvements.

Roadway improvements consist of vacating 3rd Avenue North from North 5th Street to North 7th Street, while maintaining access to I-394 from 3rd Avenue North in this location, and potentially reducing North 6th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues North from three to two lanes to accommodate the pedestrian bridge.

The project area is located one block northwest of the Target Center in Downtown Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota.

The alternatives evaluated in the draft EIS include the build and no-build condition. The subject areas identified in the final SDD and amended SDD for further analyses in the draft EIS included the following:

• Traffic (Parking, Local Roadway, Freeway, Parking and Roadway Interaction)

• Other Transportation Analysis (Transit, Freight Rail, Pedestrian Movement)

• Noise (Traffic, Ballpark)

• Air Quality (Vehicle Related, Stationary Source)

• Visual Impacts (Ballpark Lighting, Visual Compatibility)

• Cultural Resources (Warehouse Historic District)

• Site Contamination

• Cover Types/Soil Condition

• Land Use Regulation

• Surface Water Quality

• Impacts on Utilities

• Impacts on Parks, Recreation Areas, Trails

• Ballpark Operations

• Construction Related Impacts

• Cumulative Impacts

Issues of greatest concern discovered through the analysis conducted included:

• Traffic and Parking

• Pedestrian Movement

• Freight Rail

• Traffic Related Noise

• Site Contamination

• Trails

• Construction Related Impacts (Traffic and Transit)

The first public meeting regarding the draft EIS is scheduled for Tuesday, February 20, at 2:30 p.m., at the Hennepin County Government Center’s Board Room.  For more information regarding the draft EIS, go to the Hennepin County Web site at  No board action was taken on this item. 

Foshay Tower.  Joel Schurke, a representative from Ryan Companies, gave an update on the “W” luxury hotel project proposed for the Foshay Tower located at South 9th Street and Marquette Avenue South.  “W” is part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and each is individually designed.  Construction is expected to begin on March 15, 2007, with a grand opening anticipated in July of 2008.  The Foshay Tower is on the National Historic Register, so the project must go through the HPC.  The project has passed the Phase I test.  No board action was taken on this item. 

The Wave.  Hauer distributed a description of the process to complete the EAW and a motion brought forward by the Wave Advisory Group then summarized the activities of the Wave Advisory Group leading up to its motion.  The motion asks for the DMNA board to support/ask that an EIS be done on the Wave site.  LUC Chair Hauer moved the motion and asked for a second.  Since here was no second, the motion died.  Hauer then gave Michael Buelow from Omni Investment an opportunity to address the DMNA board.  Buelow asked that the Advisory Group continue to meet to discuss the project and reach a resolution that is positive for all parties involved.  He noted that Omni Investment is continuing to work through the process at the HPC.  Carol Lansing, an attorney with Faegre & Benson who is working with Omni Investment on the project, discussed the differences between an EAW and an EIS.  She noted that the EAW was mandatory and did address concerns related to traffic, storm water, and visual impacts.  Omni Investment reacted to public comments from the EAW and did make changes to the project.  No further board action was taken. 

Oracle Signage.  Hauer advised that Oracle, located at 900 2nd Avenue South (formerly the International building), presented two conditional use permits to increase the maximum height of a new wall sign:  one for signage at the top of the building, and one for signage between the third and fourth levels.  The DMNA Land Use Committee recommended approval of the latter CUP which would increase the maximum height of a new wall sign for a use that exceeds 6 stories, or 84 feet in height, to allow a sign 40.5 feet above grade and measuring approximately 3 feet by 23 feet facing the intersection of South 9th Street and 2nd Avenue South.  The Planning Commission reviewed the application at its meeting on January 8, 2007 at which time Hauer gave testimony.  The Planning Commission adopted the findings of planning staff and recommended approval of the CUP. 

Sherman Associates.  Motes noted that Council Member Lisa Goodman requested that Sherman Associates host a public meeting to receive public input for the commercial/retail components of the redevelopment project proposed for 201 Park Avenue.  There are concerns that CVS Pharmacy is one of the businesses that will be locating in this project.  Sherman Associates has not scheduled the meeting at this point.  Staff person Christie Rock indicated that she would contact Brian Gorecki at Sherman Associates for more information.  She will send details to the DMNA board and the DMNA e-mail list when Sherman Associates finalizes the meeting date and location.

Metrodome District Design Roundtable.  Motes announced that she and the Board Chair are participating in a design roundtable hosted by the urban planning consultants hired to study the Metrodome area for a new Vikings stadium.  They will update the board at the February 13, meeting. 

IV.       Crime and Safety Committee Report

Since Crime and Safety Committee Chair Tom Hoch was absent, the report was postponed to the next monthly board meeting in February. 

V.        NRP Implementation Committee Report

Board Chair Sweet noted that the NRP Implementation Committee reviewed a request for $25,000 in funding from Nancy Coyne representing the “Speaking of Home” public art/public history project proposed for the IDS/Macy’s skyway bridge.  The committee did not recommend funding the project. 

VI.       Consideration of December 11, 2006 Board Meeting Minutes

VII.     Consideration of January 2007 Financial Statements and 2007 Budget

Staff person Christie Rock distributed and explained the F2007 Budget vs. Actual as of January 2007.

Motes moved and Sweet seconded the motion to receive and file the January 2007 Financial Statements.  Sweet called for any discussion.  The motion passed. 

Staff person Christie Rock distributed and explained the 2007 Budget. 

Motes moved and Sweet seconded the motion to approve the 2007 Budget.  Sweet called for any discussion.  The motion passed. 


VIII.    Old Business / New Business / Other Business

R&R Social Club.  Scott Parkin advised that his pet project, R&R Social Club which conducts monthly social events at various riverfront venues, is seeking sponsorship in the form of cross-linking respective websites.

Parkin moved and Holt seconded the motion to approve sponsoring R&R Social Club via cross-linking websites.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

Website Redesign.  Scott Parkin advised he will give an update at the next monthly board meeting in February. 

Committee Chair Appointments.  Board Chair Sweet asked to affirm committee chair appointments and recommended that Tom Hoch continue as chair of the Crime and Safety Committee, Andy Hauer continue as chair of the Land Use Committee, and Kim Motes be reappointed chair of the NRP Implementation Committee. 

Sweet moved and Parkin seconded the motion to approve the committee chair appointments.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

IX.       Adjournment

Being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Signed this ________ day of ________________________, 2007.

_______________________________             _______________________________
Chair                                                                   Secretary