Miracle Mile Redevelopment Opportunities

The Miracle Mile redevelopment is an incredible opportunity for the entire community. Lets hope we do it right this time. Neighbors are energized and excited about the possibilities. Unfortunately proposed designs to date have left many concerned about both public safety and a lack of conformance to urban design principles. photo Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 3.09.11 PM_zpsn7nb3waz.png

The good news is that everyone seems to want to get a redevelopment done, and there seems to be little concern about the added density on that site. Neighbors feel that TIF even beyond what is being discussed could be justified with a proper design. Patrick Seeb has offered to help coordinate work with the University of Minnesota Design standards to address Urban Design issues. Public works is potentially willing to consider a more urban design of that street. I would love to see the utilities cleaned up in the area as part of this and we have experience doing this with TIF.

The most important facade is the 16th Ave side as that is what faces the community. Currently it is unclear if this will be sufficiently activated. What is particularly frustrating is that the long series of engagements offered to the Slatterly Park Neighborhood on the “Buckeye” project seems to be missing from this process. I fear there is an attempt to simply gain the support of 4 council members behind the scenes rather than have meaningful collaboration. I suspect that consensus could be reached by simply rotating the current proposal 90 degrees, placing retail on 16th and the grocer entrance on Center Street, and lining up the intersection correctly. However I certainly can’t speak for the neighbors. Further I suspect that this type of design would be more likely to justify TIF to help with public realm improvements. Side parking lots are common in for grocers in communities with form based codes.

The proposed intersection of Center Street & 16th Ave SW currently suggests a jog of up to 15 degrees which is both unnecessary and dangerous for pedestrians, especially children, seniors and those with a disability. An activated 16th street will likely require on street parking both to service retail and buffer traffic. According to our bicycle master plan 16th should also get some sort of bike treatment. In this case, protected lanes running on the East side of the roadway would probably best connect cyclists to Kutzky Park.

Here are a couple of fantastic images created by a neighbor. This design would fit nicely in the the available space.

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This should be easy for the council to accomplish… Unless there is a majority just willing to ignore the issues and pass the development without addressing concerns. I would love to have an easy one for once… It will be interesting to read the staff report & recommendations as well as the actions of P&Z. Right now multiple neighborhoods seem quite concerned. Strangely the property owner Javon Bea has met with some council members but not others, additionally there was a strange attempt to hide his involvement with the project at a previous neighborhood meeting. There is no need for this as Kutzky Park has a history of supporting good redevelopments.

3 comments

  1. Michael,

    1. I have had more 1:1 meetings with you than any other single council member. I was out of town the day Nate Stencil met with you and Nick Campion regarding Miracle Mile redevelopment. I was in town and available when Nate Stencil met with the other council members and asked me to attend.
    2. Regarding my involvement: Similar to Larry Brutger’s hotel project on Second Street, where I was providing him the property, at Miracle Mile this project is Nate Stencil’s and 2.83 acres is being parceled off for him.
    3. The Imagine Kutzky group has a history of opposing all projects they do not get to design like Larry Brutger’s hotel project. Nate Stencil asked some of their members for a design bid and they wanted over $300,000 more than two large architectural firms, one in Minneapolis and one local. When Nate asked them why they were so much higher, their response to him was, “it depends if you want an easy project or not”.
    4. I believe that the few Imagine Kutzky obstructionists- for projects they do not get to design- do not represent the public! YOU are elected to represent the public—
    5. That large silent majority show up to elect you. It is not fair to the silent majority who elect you to give undue sway to a small vocal group that kill projects they do not get to design and destroy the opportunities to bring new services to the area and increase the tax base which keeps the silent majority’s taxes lower.
    6. This small vocal group of obstructionists – for projects they do not get to design — despite their beliefs, do not know more about city planning and public safety than Rochester Departments of Planning and Building and Public Safety. Thus your statement of the neighbors concerns regarding safety in the Miracle Mile project is not necessary because the City’s Public Safety and Building departments are doing their jobs to protect and keep the public safe in all city projects.

    Thank you,
    Javon

  2. Javon,

    Nate has not met with Imagine Kutzky. He met with a few board members of the KPNA, which is the same process we just used for another project in Kutzky Park being developed by CRW. We then invited him to attend a KPNA meeting, in which there were about 20-30 people from the neighborhood in attendance – some in favor of the project, most opposed. Patrick Seeb from DMC and other downtown neighborhood association leaders were also in the room to consider the project. I am not sure what your reference to a “design bid” is about. I’ve never heard anything about that.

    It is clear you object to certain individuals’ involvement in the development of the community, and that is okay. You, like me and everyone else, are entitled to your opinion. However your characterization of the KPNA’s meetings with Nate Stencil are inaccurate. I was very impressed by the diversity of comments on the 7th and the thoughtfulness of people who live in Kutzky Park. Nate could not answer all of our questions and there were some tense moments, but it was a fair meeting. The people who live in and navigate this community do know a lot about it and care a great deal.

    And finally, it was mentioned many times at the meeting and in almost all the press coverage I’ve seen that the community is really excited to see this development happen. No one wants to “kill” it. Community engagement is of benefit to everyone.

    Jesse Welsh

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