Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fixing Two Misstatements on Hub Project

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, images from Hub proposal documents.

While I still hold hope that we can treat the county's Hub proposal like a bad musical and make it go off Broadway, I am more committed to remaining as accurate as possible in my posts here on North by Northside.  I have no desire to persuade anyone to my point of view based on false information.  So allow me to fix a mistake I made in my initial column.  I stated that the house on Girard between Broadway and 21st was not included in the development plan.  However, there is a vacant lot to the south of the house that is left out.  In recent presentations, Catalyst has included that house as part of the overall site.

There's another mistake on the county's part that will be explained after the jump, but first I'll get to why my apparently inaccurate assumption was a reasonable one...

Although the map above does indeed show the house within the boundaries of the site, here is what the initial site plan looks like:

Usually in such site plans, a solid line around an existing structure indicates that no change is to be made to that particular building, or that such a building will be built as a permanent part of that particular site.  And the top rendering also shows a 3-D outline of the house as well.  Still, it now appears that this house is part of the acquisition and that the owner of the vacant lot to the south is the one holding out.

The error put forth by Hennepin County - which has since been retracted - is a statement that 80% of north Minneapolis residents are receiving some form of Hennepin County assistance.  That was said at one neighborhood meeting this week and then repeated at an unrelated public forum the next day.  Emails have gone out correcting this, but I'm putting it out here since it was repeated publicly.

Eighty percent just didn't meet the smell test when I heard this number.  It seemed reflective of a level of dystopia approaching Mad Max scenarios - where Lord Humongous chairs neighborhood meetings and the healthy corner store initiative ensures that proprietors would have enough shotgun shells to ward of marauding hordes.  If that were true then you'd have to factor in that more affluent areas of NoMi, such as parts of Willard-Hay, Victory, Shingle Creek, and Lind-Bohanon neighborhoods were at lower than 80%.  And then lower-income communities like Hawthorne, Jordan, McKinley, and parts of Folwell/Webber-Camden would have to have constituencies almost entirely dependent on government services.

Eighty percent was clearly double-counting people who received multiple kinds of services when factoring that group as a part of the population of north as a whole.  The real number is...closer to 60%, according to county sources.  That still seems overly high to me, but I was told it does include items that are not income-based at all, such as child support payments.

And for the record, the updated site plans for the corner look pretty good.  They need a traffic control plan for how to mitigate effects on Hillside and surrounding streets, among other tweaks.  But I think any development on the site that follows the West Broadway Alive plan is going to have to address those concerns.  The biggest problem with the site plan as it stands now is that its proposed tenants are not the commercial/retail tenants that West Broadway needs.


  1. The project looks good to me. I'm going to go against the neighborly tide, here, and wager that this project will actually INCREASE nearby property values in the near and long term. It's obviously open to debate, but if you were shopping for a new house up Hillside from Irving, would you be more drawn to the area by the block as it currently exists (vacant buildings and lots, mostly), or a brand new government building?

    Thanks for your work, NXNS; you do a fine job. One minor correction to your witty opening sentence, though - you use "off Broadway" as a pejorative, when in normal usage it bears no such connotation. From Wikipedia: "Off-Broadway theater is a term for a professional venue in New York City with a seating capacity between 100 and 499, and for a specific production of a play, musical or revue that appears in such a venue, and which adheres to related trade union and other contracts.[1] These theatres are smaller than Broadway theatres." Many of Broadway's greatest hits have opened "Off Broadway."

  2. Ah! A correction to my pejorative comment that also supports your own point of view! And it appears in the context of a blog post that corrects previous misstatements. I love it.

  3. Neighborhood listening session tonight! Per JACC website, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at St. Anne's Church, 2627 Queen Avenue North.


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