7-story mixed-use development planned for Totino’s site

7-story development planned at the former site of Totino's and some neighboring parking lots.

7-story development planned at the former site of Totino’s and some neighboring parking lots.

The Minneapolis Department of Community Planning & Economic Development (CPED) has put up a document describing the development planned at the former Totino’s site in Northeast Minneapolis, the namesake of General Mills’ Totino’s pizza brand.

The pizza joint had been a landmark of the city, but the building has fallen into disrepair. There are efforts to save the old building, including a Don’t Demo Totino’s Facebook page, but many people have questioned whether the old structure is worth the money and effort. This planned change, would replace not just the Totino’s building, but also some neighboring vacant lots.

This project reminds me a lot of the recent demolishment of the Oak Street Cinema a couple of miles away near the University of Minnesota, which was replaced by student housing. However, both cases have involved an upgrade in land-use intensity over what had previously existed — a sharp contrast to much of the slash-and-burn redevelopment of the second half of the 20th century, where tall, tightly-packed structures were often taken down and replaced with low-slung buildings with large setbacks and overbuilt parking (or often simply replaced with parking lots and no buildings at all). Instead, these new replacements have minimal setbacks with (mostly) hidden parking.

The Old St. Anthony neighborhood where this project is planned has been slammed with both urban renewal and an aborted attempt at building a freeway which obliterated a swath of buildings just northwest of the Totino’s site. What do you think of this plan?

About Mike Hicks

Mike Hicks is a computer geek at heart, but has always had interests in transportation and urban planning. A longtime contributor to Wikipedia, he started a blog about trains and other transportation after realizing it had been two decades since he'd first heard about a potential high-speed rail line from Chicago to Minneapolis. Read more at http://hizeph400.blogspot.com/