TCF Bank announced last week that it would be moving its 1,150 Downtown Minneapolis corporate employees from Marquette and 8th Street to a Plymouth (Minnesota) office park sometime late next year. Which raises an important question: What’s that like? I decided to head out on my first bike ride of 2014 to see for myself.
On a dreary Saturday afternoon, I pedaled out of Minneapolis along Glenwood Avenue, through Golden Valley, across Highway 55, to the Luce Line trail, past Medicine Lake, under Highway 55, and I found myself at 1405 Xenium Lane, the Plymouth Corporate Center.
The Plymouth Corporate Center has a website which has a “The Neighborhood” section which has an “Entertainment” section, and that includes three separate listings:
- Image Frame Studio
- Art Direct Inc
It also has an “Emergency Procedures” section which specifically mentions what to do if a disgruntled employee becomes “unruly, or possibly violent, upon termination.” Maybe that’s not a weird thing to list on a building’s leasing website, but it seems weird to me.
Anyway, enough about the website. Here’s the building:
Pretty standard stuff as far as suburban office parks go. Extremely low-slung. I’m surprised they’re able to fit that many people in the building (the total number of relocated employees is about 1,500, including some from other offices) but cubes are small. Not a lot of corner offices–at best, four. Here’s an aerial view, taken from the Moon with a cell phone camera:
Here are some other local highlights:
Now, all of this is in good fun, and the pre-Spring look with no snow and no green makes every city look terrible. I always try to keep in mind that there is a much larger world outside of the one I live in with my friends, where it’s not acceptable to take transit from Downtown Minneapolis to Selby & Dale when it takes an hour or longer on a weekday. We’ve definitely set up our own consensus about trends and lifestyles and the young people. One data point doesn’t reverse a trend, obviously. But it’s a good reminder of where and how the majority of Minnesotans and Americans live. I certainly got those looks while biking around the Home Depot parking lot. My gut feeling is that most people prefer free parking over food trucks.
Also, as an aside, it’s not uninteresting to point out that TCF’s executives work in a quaint-ish building on the west side of Wayzata’s lil’ downtown. The Business Journal reports that those employees will also be moving to Plymouth–except the CEO, who gets to stay in Wayzata.
I generally feel like “share your comments below” is a ploy for traffic, but in this case I’m genuinely curious what TCF employees think of this move. Does free parking trump all? Is this closer to where you already live? Is this an improvement? Or for other suburban office park dwellers, what do you think? Do you prefer this over working in one of the downtowns? Comments are reasonably anonymous.
Disclaimer: The author had TCF checking and savings accounts in college. He only overdrafted once; he is irresponsible.
Not a TCF employee, but I’d definitely prefer this to working downtown- I’ve never even bothered to look for jobs downtown since I was able to find them out in the suburbs, first out in Chaska and then in Eagan (the Blue Cross campus). Places this large in the suburbs tend to have their own cafeterias- at Blue Cross you’d typically either eat there, or carpool with some people to Noodles or Panera or Applebees or somewhere, or drive yourself through a fast food drive thru and bring it back to the office. I have very little interest in downtown, so for me ease of driving someplace trumps everything- I can go from my own garage directly to the company parking lot, and stop for groceries or fast food on a trip home. Even though I live in Bloomington, if I had a choice I’d still probably choose Plymouth over downtown.
It would be interesting to hear from TCF employees. Not everyone likes to work downtown but presumably a lot of the TCF employees did which is why they took jobs there.
Great insight! You mean to tell me that not everyone has the same tastes and preferences. huh. Amazing comment.
Quick lunch break note: I did specifically ask for people to disagree with me/us, so let’s all keep that in mind.
I’m sure that commute from Bloomington to Plymouth on 169 or 494 would be a real joy for those who love to drive.
I’ve driven it a few times at rush hour- it’s not that bad because I can use surface streets like American or Old Shakopee to escape the Bloomington strip if it’s bad. It’s not a “joy” but neither is work- my “fun” driving I do with the rest of my fun on the weekends.
This makes me sad.
Okay, now I’m going to be a bit of a jerk. Have you ever tried it? Having grown up in the suburbs, I can see how a perspective like yours develops. I may have had it when I was younger.
But then I moved to a city and discovered the joys of driving less. It can seriously reduce your stress, and it comes with built in exercise!
And that’s leaving aside that you don’t have to eat at a bad chain restaurant as your only non-cafeteria options.
I found it more stressful to be downtown, whether I drove or took the bus. Driving was awful, and the bus made me dependent on an external schedule that didn’t always align to my boss’s expectations or my work. I’m also an introvert that’s uncomfortable with crowds. I couldn’t find anywhere to be alone if I needed to recharge.
As an introvert myself, I find it easier to be anonymous when surrounded by lots of people. I’ve had a few people try and make conversation with me on the bus (note: Washington Ave Bridge suicides is not a normal topic of conversation to have with a stranger) but for the most part I can keep to myself on transit.
I agree. I’m introverted and I don’t mind busy areas because you can be more anonymous. I’ve engaged in small talk with the bus drivers and friends/acquaintances I’ve encountered on the bus, but overall it was nice and less stressful than driving to the U of M since I was able to think and relax. Plus even at the University, despite how busy it is there a quite a few hidden spots where it’s pretty quiet (Borchert Map Library).
I’d consider myself introverted too. The city is great because it’s pretty easy to take a walk and make yourself completely anonymous. Same for the bus: unless you are acting like a ray of sunshine, generally no one will try to strike up conversation. If you’re uncomfortable with more than a few people at a time, however, I would defer to you that maybe you aren’t meant for a city.
I’ll admit I haven’t tried actually living in the city- I now own a house in the suburbs so I can’t just drop everything and move for 6 months or whatever so it’s not like trying some new vegetable you bought at the store. My tastes are driving everywhere rather than walking, going to Walmart and McDonalds instead of local shops and restaurants, working in the suburbs, so unless I tried changing those I’d be a square peg in a round hole in the city. At present there’s not a lot in the city that interests me except for the bicycle trails.
Interesting comment Monte – chalk this up to different tastes, but I have never looked for job NOT located downtown (but for those damn skyways). Each to his own.
Not a TCF employee, but prior to working from home, I worked in Eagan for 8 years. It was the most depressing thing ever. I could drive there in 15 minutes, bike in about 30, or bus for 45, so that wasn’t too bad coming from Minneapolis, but once out there the lack of anything interesting was a drain. The highlight of my day was my return trip across the Mendota Bridge when I could see both downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis at the same time.
I’d personally never choose to work in a suburban location again.
That said, if I lived in a suburb in the area of the suburban office park, I’d probably be pretty excited about not having to commute into the city. But if I lived in a suburb on the opposite side of the city, the added drive time would be horrible.
Maybe relocating to a suburban hellscape is a way to accelerate attrition, allowing them to save the costs of paying their brightest and highest-performing employees who can get jobs elsewhere.
It’s definitely an interesting contrast to Wells Fargo’s apparent move to bring workers closer to the urban core.
TCF sucks, and wouldn’t exist if they didn’t have a sweetheart deal with the U of MN where they got monopoly access to credit-hungry and financially gullible students every year.
That said, this makes me sad. Corporate office parks are so 1950s. Executives love them because it cuts costs and increases illusions of control. But employees? This is probably a generation gap thing, but it’s hard to believe that anyone under 35 would prefer Plymouth.
And of course it only cuts costs because of about a billion externalities that are not paid for by the company. It’s so sad that we subsidize this kind of thing, but more than that it’s infuriating that everyone thinks it’s some kind of natural consequence of the free market at work.
Don’t forget the S&L mess from 30 years ago…
Sounds like everyone else agrees that Monte is wrong to have a different opinion and he should move and work in the core where different opinions are respected. Wait,.
I have friends like Monte (Hi Nick P.!) but I think that preference is becoming less common.
In the words of Doug Farr, we’ve exposed the “white hot line between walkable urbanism and drivable suburbanism.”
^ Mostly in jest, but some people truly speak and write as though their personal preferences are objectively correct. The guy likes the office he works at. Good for him. Also good for him and others here who apparently use “is the office downtown or in the burbs?” as a (the?) top qualifying feature when deciding to apply for a job or not. A sure luxury.
Absolutely it’s a luxury, and you can take examples from talent-magnets around the country of companies scrambling to build urban campuses in order to attract top recruits. TCF may only lose a few employees in the short term due to this move, but I would be willing to bet their long-term recruiting ability will be damaged.
Obviously core revitalization is the current trend and a central theme of this site. As for TCF’s long-term recruiting, it depends on what long-term means to you. Current trends always feel like permanent sea changes as they happen and they never ever are. Beyond the cyclical nature of living preferences, is the fallacy that only the core or the burbs can thrive in any given metro area. Smarter people than me have argued that with current vacancy rates and the expansion of telecommuting nobody should be doing any type of office-building right now.
Either way you choose to live and work, count me among the doubters that TCF’s move harms them in any substantial way. My wife commutes from the city to Chanhassen every day to the very large office of a Fortune 100 tech company (Emerson) full of multi-generational hardware and software engineers. I suppose the Richard Floridas of the world my argue that they could be even more successful in the core but that seems dubious and is impossible to prove.
Even if environment isn’t quite as big a factor for Jane Doe as it might be for me, transportation definitely is. For anyone living in Minneapolis or east, Plymouth is a lot harder to get to; they’ve essentially walled off a huge portion of the metro area’s labor force.
At least it’s an existing building, I suppose.
Good point Payton. They’ve basically destroyed the commute of anyone who lives in St. Paul or more east and south (transit or otherwise). As a St. Paul resident, I’d certainly re-evaluate my work prospects if my commute tripled for a job I wasn’t overly excited about.
Also – Payton – I owe you an e-mail response and will do so this evening! We can certainly set something up.
I’ll have to admit I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always been able to work where I’ve wanted to, and I assume some people that work downtown have been also. I’m not delusional in that I know someday I might have to look downtown. If that happens, since there’s no commuter coaches from the 98th street park and ride (that I could bicycle to if the weather was nice and I didn’t have to wear a suit), so I’d either drive downtown or drive over to the Blue line, depending on things like office hours, cost of parking, how congested things have gotten by then.
The flip side is the flip comments people make every time the Strib writes and article about congestion: “Live closer to where you work!”. A lot of people don’t have *that* luxury in today’s economy. You can’t get a job anywhere you want, and maybe it’s a two income family with one job in Plymouth and one in Bloomington. And if you own a house it’s enormously disruptive, a lot of work, and expensive to keep moving every couple of years.
So clearly the households who have multiple “take what they can get” jobs spread across the metro are victims of job sprawl.
It’s not just “job sprawl”. Both employer/employee loyalty and job security have taken huge nose-dives in the past 20 years.
Indeed, which is why it’s much more important for employers to locate in the downtowns, transit-connected job nodes, or on high quality transit spines. Back in the day of working decades or an entire career at a firm, folks would buy homes based on where their jobs were located. Now, not so much. I hedged against this future liability by purchasing a home in South Minneapolis. But even that move was thwarted by my employer moving many employees to a western suburb – a move that also thwarted our plan to go down to one vehicle.
I am on the Plymouth City Council. We are thrilled TCF will call our city home to great people and employees. Here is a link to our transit Plymouth Metrolink – Routes 771, 741, 740 all connect to 772, 774, 777 by the site. http://plymouthmn.gov/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=7802 More needs to be done on transit – but that is a region-wide issue to be sure which we all know.
It is also located by the beautiful Luce Line Trail which connects the metro to Cosmos in West Central MN. It also connects to many other regional/city trails, including beautiful Medicine Lake – 2nd largest lake in Hennepin County. http://www.plymouthmn.gov/index.aspx?page=107 And there is a new pedestrian bridge being built (ADA) that will span County Road 61 near the TCF site by the railroad tracks for pedestrian/biker safety. We know many of our “daytime citizens” enjoy getting outside and enjoying the natural environment – they tell us so.
This site was the Carlson office space – the daycare (I assume this is what TCF references as the daycare offering for employees) is located right next to the building. It was provided by Carlson so they could have convenient and quality care for their children. I served as Mayor when it was opened and it was heralded widely.
Yep, parking is free – which helps the bottom line for many people and families. There are many amenities in the area and it does look nice when the grass is green and the trees are full of leaves.
Plymouth was named Best Place to Live by Money Magazine in 2008. We have a great quality of life and wonderful schools. The suburbs may not be for everyone, but many love this community and we are still growing. It’s a great place to live work and play.
Last but not least, as a council member and resident of a suburb – and having been born in St. Paul and lived in Minneapolis, I have always believed in a strong, vibrant urban core as well as thriving suburbs. This region is united. We are all in this together and do not need to adopt any scenario that pits suburbs vs. core cities. I celebrate Minneapolis – it’s a fabulous city – so is St. Paul. All for one, one for all.
– “Free parking” doesn’t help the bottom line… someone is paying for it. There’s no such thing as free parking. And free parking, subsidized by employers and by the federal government (there’s a tax break for that, and we’re stuck paying) has disastrous environmental consequences, hurts the possibility for other amenities (such as transit and walkable nodes), and causes cities like Plymouth and counties like Hennepin to provide lots of car-centric infrastructure that vastly outstrips property tax revenues over the lifecycle (the balance being a government subsidy of automobile-dependent land use) and vastly outstrips gas tax and user fee revenues (the balance being a government subsidy of automobile-dependent land use)
– If a city has to build a bridge for walkers and bikers to get across a street, there’s a bigger problem with the street (stroad) design.
– The region *should be* united… so thank you for not throwing *direct* incentives to poach jobs from other regional cities, as your suburban colleagues in Brooklyn Park and Shakopee have done. But the region should also be united in terms of seeking value. And on a value comparison, Minneapolis is not equal to Plymouth is not equal to Maple Plain.
Also, looking at the linked Plymouth Metrolink map of routes in the city is an example of the abject failure of the suburban land use model, hierarchical road networks, and diffuse corporate campuses…. they cannot be effectively served by non-auto-centric infrastructure, nor can they drive high-value land uses with lower infrastructure costs.
Matt, I really enjoy/benefit from reading your responses (and really everybody’s here) but I am left with a question-
If you assume clean-renewable energy (and maybe even driver-less cars) in the future, are there any remaining objections to suburban land use models aside from personal preferences?
I ask because we are often critical of post-war/auto era land use planning, but we usually use the knowledge of hindsight when criticizing. I can imagine an era where gridlock or pollution were not serious concerns in an era where automobiles weren’t as prolific as they are today.
Yes, Strong Towns looks closely at this. First of all, the suburban land use model along with the hierarchical road network was an untested concept three generations ago. Yet it’s been about 99% of what we’ve built for the past 70 years, and we’ve even attempted to retrofit other places – such as downtowns and small towns- to more closely fit with this untested experiment. Second, it requires immense infrastructure that is financially unsustainable.
Strong Towns calls this the Growth Ponzi Scheme. In order to cover the long-term cash flow liabilities for the second lifecycle of infrastructure, it necessitates an ever-increasing amount of new development. This is the true reason why many cities are going bankrupt… the infrastructure they’ve built will never come close to paying for itself, since the value of the land use it serves is so low. This is the primary reason why the suburban model is objectively flawed (much more than simply looking at personal preferences).
Driverless cars may drive some efficiencies, especially a reduction in subsidized space devoted to storage of cars. Renewable energy may drive the reduction in the environmental harm caused by car-centric land use patterns. But technology won’t change the fundamental flaw in the public and private economics of this form of land use.
That is good stuff, thanks. Assuming that everything you say is correct leads to 2 obvious follow-ups. 1) what to do with existing infrastructure/people and 2) given that we live in our reality with decades of built infrastructure is TCF’s decision to move within our existing reality really so bad?
I can’t remember who proposed it, but there is an old famous urbanist’s proposal out there the de-populate the midwest and plains for use as a wildlife preserve. Essentially moving everyone to the coasts outside of the Rockies to the West and the Appalachians to the East.
It almost sounds like you prefer a smaller scale of that solution for MSP-to de-populate the burbs and nudge everyone into living in the core. Which for me, would be hilarious since I live in the core and to a person my neighbors get fired up whenever any multi-family (or really single-family) structure of any kind is proposed on any scale. Needless to say I have my doubts that Minneapolis could add even 100k in population much less absorb the 2 or so million who reside in the burbs. I know we were over 500k then but had larger families in each unit etc etc.
Personally, people are free to live where they want and with the lifestyles they want. I just think they should be paying the full cost of their decision. Right now, we heavily subsidize the suburban way of life. There’s nothing wrong with the suburban way of life, just the subsidies.
We don’t need a grand plan to move people. We just need to seek value, especially within our local governments. Over time, the market will adjust to that new reality. Many people will move, many will not. People are resilient, and some suburbs will do fine. Plymouth will actually be in the middle of the pack or better, especially if they can build value through sprawl repair. Places with grids like Richfield, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, and Robbinsdale will do great. Old downtowns such as Chaska and Excelsior will do fine, as long as they aren’t dragged down by the rest of their municipality’s areas. Places on the fringe, like Rogers and Medina, will struggle immensely as we come to understand value dynamics of land use and infrastructure.
I’ll let Matt’s responses be the ones that actually answer yours as it speaks to more of the financial realities of sprawl as we know it, but here’s a few in return: How far out are 1) widespread use of clean/renewable energy sources and 2) driverless cars? How much damage will we do in the meantime? What negative factors are still present in a “clean, driverless sprawl” world (examples: land-use change, water use, runoff, larger homes encouraging more consumption of goods manufactured in non-clean countries, etc). Are we sure there are no unintended consequences of continuing the suburban development pattern with clean energy instead of simply reducing energy use via shorter distances and built-in efficiencies inherent with compact land uses?
Just food for thought.
In a clean-energy, driverless car world, my primary objection to suburban land use models are suburban land use models. Clean energy and driverless cars don’t make a land pattern more walkable – to get from home to work or shopping still requires traveling (albeit in a driverless car) on the same roadways.
I have a few driverless vehicles already – one is a light rail train, one is my own two feet, and the third is my bicycle (I ride it, not drive it). Minneapolis isn’t perfect, but it does provide a fairly walkable, bikeable grid of streets with a reasonable density ensuring I don’t need to travel excessive distances to meet daily needs. I don’t need a car (driverless or driver-more) for all my transportation needs.
I also have a fairly well-insulated home that is smaller than if I lived in the suburbs. Although not all my energy to heat and cool comes from clean sources (some wind power), but I’m willing to be my overall energy footprint is smaller today than some of the other free market choices out there. I predict in a clean-energy, driverless future this will still be the case.
Plus I just like trains.
I’ll get on my soapbox about driverless cars. There’s a lot of people having fantasies about moving away from the “one car one person” model with driverless cars, but I don’t think that’s going to happen, just because there’s already alternatives to that and they haven’t caught on compared to the old paradigm. Want a car ride but don’t want to own one? There’s a taxi, or car rental, including the new “cars by the hour”, or the new taxi alternatives.
A lot of people take pride in owning there car- being a guy in a suit with a Lexus or a teen with his $1000 clunker. And what if you have a kid that needs a car seat? What if you want to leave Aunt Martha’s present in the trunk so you can stop at her house after work. What if the kid in the car before it got to you was sick all over the seat?
As someone who was involved in starting a car sharing firm, I guarantee you these options are spreading like wildfire. The market multiplies every single year.
I’m actually with you on this one. Maybe someday far in the future driverless cars will be a revolutionary as some people hope, but I think that day is a long way off.
Now, maybe they can reduce demand for parking in the urban core by driving themselves to a waiting spot farther away during the work day, but I do not think they are going to quickly turn into fleets of driverless taxis that people use as their primary form of motorized transportation anytime soon. People will want to own their own and will not want to share.
Some of my best friends are from Plymouth.
Transit is indeed a region-wide issue, and it’s unfortunate that Plymouth does not participate with the region. Bus connectivity with neighboring cities is poor or nonexistant, and service outside of rush hour is also dismal. Unless you own a car, you’re limited to working only during the “normal” business hours and only if your place of employment happens to be within reasonable distance of the precious few bus lines in the city.
Plymouth may have gotten an award for being a great place to live, but we’re talking about working there, and on a website that talks about mobility and transportation. Plymouth MetroLink is hardly an example of regional connectivity.
A little history on why there are opt-out bus systems in the metro:
“Metro Transit does not cover the whole Twin Cities area. Bus service in the suburbs was being cut back the early 1980s, and suburb-to-suburb service was limited (an issue that remains today). In 1986, cities and counties in the seven-county metropolitan area were given the option to run their own bus services and leave the MTC system. About 17.5% of the area which has regular route transit service is served by these six other “opt out” transit systems. Also about 5% of the system is contracted to private transit providers.”
But Plymouth does participate – we work to make our routes as strong and viable as possible for commutes and reverse-commutes on limited funds, while connecting to the metro system.
Cities were given the opportunity to “opt-out” to keep some of the transit taxes their citizens were paying to provide suburban service where, otherwise, there would have been none.
I agree, the transit system is lacking for those that really want good non-auto options. A lot of us are working on that issue, but resources are limited.
Transit service was cut back and resources still limited to provide suburbs with all-day and suburb-to-suburb service for the simple reason that land use patterns and public infrastructure do not support it. As noted elsewhere here, a system of collectors and arterials that are hostile to pedestrians and have no solid connectivity paired with low population and business density with private land uses that also put cars first make effective transit a poor investment.
Kudos to Plymouth for running some reverse commute service to this significant, if low-density, job cluster. But this situation actually exemplifies a weakness in the opt-out system. Plymouth operates 5 reverse peak runs between Downtown and the Station 73 Transit Center from which riders transfer to shuttles that take them to their destination. But this express service duplicates 675 service operated by Metro Transit. If Plymouth instead used the 675 for its express leg, it would free up service hours for use on improved frequency for the shuttles. I’m assuming this situation is due to lack of coordination for service planning between the two agencies.
The problem isn’t that they moved to Plymouth, it’s that they clearly are downgrading their work environment. I wouldn’t call being surrounded by a freeway, a Home Depot, and a industrial park exactly a great move for their employees. Expanding their Wayzata building would have been a better spot because I would consider that to be more of an environment with nature.
But like Andy S said, I agree with his assumptions that they are probably doing this is to make them more likely to get bought out by a larger bank trying to enter the Minneapolis-St Paul banking market.
@ Judy Johnson
I think if you drink gasoline for a living then yea its the best thing since slice bread.
My car free experience left me angry and I have a public disgust for Plymouth.
These “trails” are glorified sidewalks. The streets are dangerous stroads. And the people all drink gasoline.
You can see this lovely stroad and sidepath here.
I tried to park my car somewhere for an overnight shift and ride my bike the rest of the way. The “city was against that notion” I couldn’t even park at the empty city hall.
I did find a church that was more than happy to help.
I was stuck at a job in Plymouth, because they have their own fantastic transit system. That means only express bus routes for those non-residents. I settled down in Crystal and rode my bicycle everyday for 2 years, because their was no public bus servicing my location. MORE needs to be done to your transit system.
And because I didn’t pay the high rental rates of Plymouth, I saved more than a ton of cash and now I live in another fine suburban hole called Sandy Utah.
“Last but not least, as a council member and resident of a suburb – and having been born in St. Paul and lived in Minneapolis, I have always believed in a strong, vibrant urban core as well as thriving suburbs. This region is united. We are all in this together and do not need to adopt any scenario that pits suburbs vs. core cities. I celebrate Minneapolis – it’s a fabulous city – so is St. Paul. All for one, one for all.” Judy Johnson
Yes, and keep in mind that these suburbs wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for Minneapolis and St. Paul and the law, which prohibits them from being able to annex their neighbors.
You cite the Luce Line Trail as an item of note related to the TCF move, but that will be of limited benefit during the winter. I know from firsthand experience (i.e. before and after the snowstorm 2 weeks ago) that neither your city nor Three Rivers Parks plows the Luce Line Trail. Not even in Minneapolis (by Wirth Park) was it plowed. The inability to bike to work plus the limited transit options cited by others will make it very difficult to do anything other than drive there during the winter months.
I am also not a TCF employee, but I do have a seasonal job that moved just up the road from the new TCF location a few years ago. The previous location for my job was also suburban, located at Highway 62 and Shady Oak Road, but the difference between there and Plymouth was transportation choices. My wife could drop me off at the old office for my evening shift and I could hop a bus home. Easy, and since we have but one car between the two of us it worked really well for our family.
Now? It’s a royal pain. The City of Plymouth has opted out of being part of the regional transit service, and in their infinite wisdom they have decided that the only people worthy of bus service are commuters into downtown. The lion’s share of Plymouth MetroLink is during rush hours only, and it’s small collector routes feeding express service from park and rides. Dial-a-ride ends at 6pm even. So, now I drive, but I leave my wife and kids hanging if they need the car. We’ve floated the idea of a second vehicle, but the expense isn’t justifiable for a seasonal job.
I know there are also people who have had to quit because of the move. They are the ones who actually depend on transit and don’t qualify for Metro Mobility like some of my other coworkers. Whereas my wife and I get by with one car because we’ve chosen to, those who simply can’t drive were left by the wayside in the move to Plymouth.
It’s unfortunate that TCF has gotten i to the business of making lifestyle choices for their employees. I don’t fault them for trying to improve their bottom line, but they could have picked a suburb that isn’t a transit black hole. Yes, some people prefer to drive, some bus, and some bike. But TCF has now made their choices car or car, and I doubt that they’ll give any compensation to employees that are impacted negatively by it.
For the first 5 years I lived in the Twin Cities, I worked in the building directly across Xenium from where TCF will now be located. I can see my old office in a lot of these pics. During those years, I lived in Downtown Mpls, near Midway stadium in St Paul, Uptown, and the Nokomis neighborhood. My experience was:
Pros – Biking there, while a fairly long trek, was pleasant. Going through Wirth Park is cool, and the Luce trail is quite nice and scenic. Crossing under 169 is no fun, but not bad. I had co-workers who I used to bike in with (except for that year I lived in St Paul).
On lunch breaks I would sometimes follow the Luce line out a bit further to Parker’s Lake, it wasn’t bad.
Cons – That industrial park there IS an ugly auto-centric wasteland. And unless you live out in Plymouth, even the most hardcore of cyclists are going to find themselves driving. There’s no way transit is going to accommodate the needs of a business this size relocating here.
The lunch options for the TCF employees have now been pared down to your typical national chains (and driving 5-10 minutes to get to them). Walking to grab a bit…forget about it.
All in all, I’m sure TCF will save a boatload of money, but the costs are going to be transferred to their employees. Sad.
Brian – Yeah. That’s always the catch with this deals: transferring costs to their employees. I am curious to see how Target’s employees will react after 6 months of being relocated to the Brooklyn Park campus. Regards _Nate
Definitely a victory for sprawl! My girlfriend will be working there, and it will raise the cost of working. She currently enjoys busing in and being the center of a very walk-friendly city. Now, she will likely be driving. The one amenity is Luce Line bike trail is right there, so she could bike. It would be long one, though. I’m sure she’ll use the trail for walks.
Lets be honest here. This move has nothing to do with urban/suburban or walk ability or commutes or employee preferences. This is the first step in divestment to make TCF a more attractive takeover target for a larger bank.
Spot on. That hadn’t even occurred to me. This may just be a pawn move rather than a mistaken bet on the resurgence of the suburban land-use model.
I do work for TCF and this is my guess, but I’m not an executive so I have no inside knowledge to back this up. We just saw this happen with the Star Tribune deal. While that was for owned land, not a leased building – I would suspect the downtown lease term is greater than a suburb ‘office park’.
This is my first time working downtown and I’ve avoided it all my life. Now that I’m doing it, I will not be following TCF back to the burbs. I love being downtown. No more commute stress and plenty of things to do and places to socialize.
The difference between 2-person tiny-cubicle-land and the brick & ivy CEO office mansion is what really struck me. Talk about showcasing the income divide between the top and bottom of the company.
As someone who has worked & lived downtown for the last 5 years… I have one general observation:
After being with many clients in numerous offices downtown, I am under the impression that you all think that the offices are clean, well-maintained and somewhat glamorous. You have US Bank, IDS and Target on Nicollet and then certain floors of the Wells Fargo Center, which can be immaculate; a majority of the buildings downtown are not, though. They are rundown, in terrible space, poorly laid out and antiquated. There is a reason they are tearing down part of the TCF complex downtown for a new tower.
In addition, the owners of the block, Franklin Street Properties, and their property managers, Ryan Companies, are the equivalent of corporate slum lords. I would feel confident that whatever TCF is moving to would be a significant upgrade to the quality of their current facilities.
I would tend to agree with the point of view of “run down conditions” in many so called class-a or otherwise office buildings. My brother use to be the building tech at the Baker Complex… That place was built between 1923-1930…. Many of the client spaces are ticky tacky, infrastructure rotting away and a patch work of “bubble gum, duct tape” fixes. Building management is stretched thin and tend to babysit newer assets (buildings) rather than overhaul older ones. A shame if you ask me.
A few years ago, I was ready to turn down a job I *really* wanted because it was located on the Bloomington Strip. I was looking forward to moving back to the Twin Cities from a smaller city, but I didn’t think I would like working in freeway land.
When the prospective employer told me they signed a lease to move downtown Minneapolis in less than a year, I accepted the job offer on the spot.
I found working off American Blvd to be pretty much what I was expecting. The office park was depressingly sterile. The cafeteria was mediocre (at best) and way overpriced. Going out for lunch was stressful as fighting traffic there and back took up most of my lunch break.
From my office window, I could see a gleaming downtown Minneapolis rising up out of the urban forest like some sort of promised land.
When it was finally time to move, the city didn’t disappoint. The energy of downtown made a big difference to my disposition. I’ve been able to walk to work, ride transit, and bike (depending on where I’ve lived) since the move happened. The walkable lunch options are not easily exhausted. My family has saved a lot of money by getting rid of that second car thanks to working downtown.
Maybe it’s because I spent much of my childhood in the suburbs, but my attitude to that car centric, applebees-dominated, sanitized lifestyle is “never again”.
I am not a TCF employee, but currently work downtown after working down the road in Plymouth for 3 years. I truly wish I would have explored biking to the area, as it would have been a completely viable option for me even though I live in Saint Paul. I had drives home during rush hour that took 1.5-2 hours in the evening, and I could have easily done that by bike and enjoyed it.
I worked for a company based in Minneapolis (I lived in Minneapolis at the time and still do) that relocated to Cottage Grove and a brand new building.
Some people loved it. The St. Paul commuters, for instance. The building is gorgeous and there was so much space. Since they owned the building, they built a fitness room and a basketball court. It was a great company to work for, but my 5 minute commute turned into an hour (two hours in snow) and was unbearable.
There are a lot of reasons why I ended up quitting but that damn commute was at least the second, if not the first.
I worked at TCF Tower downtown about ten years ago while in college. I started while living in the west suburbs, later moving just south of downtown in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis. For a good portion of that, I worked regular office hours and took night classes.
When I was living in the west suburbs, it wasn’t too difficult to get downtown via public transit — about a 30-minute bus ride. When I lived in South Minneapolis, it was a 10-minute bike ride or bus ride. On days I didn’t take public transit, parking was about $10 a day. Being in the skyway system and right on Nicollet Mall, there’s an awesome selection of food options within walking distance: exercise and not having to hop in the car. A bus ride to the U only took about ten minutes, too.
The public transit accessibility and skyway location was essential, as TCF’s low wages were always a shared complaint. However, TCF did have an excellent tuition reimbursement program that I took advantage of several times. It made a lot of sense for them, as it built loyalty and aligned values with their partnership with the University of Minnesota (and later, the whole TCF Bank Stadium thing). I also took advantage of the discounted MetroTransit Go-To Card subsidized by TCF.
If TCF’s corporate location was in Plymouth when I worked there, it might have been more convenient when I lived near Plymouth, but I certainly wouldn’t have been able to get to the U in time for classes to start. In fact, there’s a pretty terrible selection of public colleges near their new Xenium Lane campus, at least worthy ones.
If you rely on public transit, Google Transit directions indicate it would take you about TWO HOURS to get to the University of Minnesota’s East Bank from their new Xenium campus around 4:15pm, and the last bus is at 5:01pm — miss that, and it looks like you’re sleeping in the bus shelter until morning, without some superhero-like transit hopping skills.
Worse, it would take you THREE HOURS to get from TCF’s new Plymouth campus to Hennepin Tech or North Hennepin in Brooklyn Park right after 4pm, or a little over two hours to get to Eden Prairie right before 5pm. Transit to and from Minneapolis seems to consistently take around two hours one-way. That might be worth it for a really awesome job that pays market rate and has an awesome culture, but I don’t think any of these things describe TCF.
I’m not completely anti-suburbs. I really enjoyed my time working at a software engineering firm in Bloomington, despite the 25-minute car commute or hour-long bus commute from my home in North Minneapolis. Had I been in college at the time, the U was an hour-long bus ride up 35W, or Normandale Community College was 25 minutes or a few miles via bike. Add a living wage to that, and it’s not so bad.
So, I view this as further destruction to TCF’s culture, a slap in the face to anyone who doesn’t own a car, and generally corrosive to their own recruiting efforts. Also, that parking lot does not look like it’s going to hold all the cars that will be required to support all their employees, so good luck with that, TCF.
We can talk transit and land use all day, the fact remains the metro exists like it does and it is permanently structured/scarred. We can only hope that suburban environs eventually piece-meal over time into more profitable and useful land patterns — for the metro to interlink and survive as a whole.
But I’m shocked that barely anyone here has touched on the economic and symbolic ramifications of TCF leaving. Yes, we all know TCF is kind of like that awkward family member we don’t really talk about because we know their inevitable outcome, BUT what does it mean right now that a rather iconic company of the Twin Cities leaves the core.
For simplistic sakes, lets say all 1,150 employees make an average of 50,000 a year, assuming two thirds is take home, thats $40 million dollars of human capital leaving Minneapolis. That’s 1,150 not spending $11,000 on lunch every day, on $3,340 on a latte every day. A thousand people not buying theatre tickets, getting after work drinks, shopping for clothes. They are removing an entire pool of economic possibility for the core. And we lose the cultural affinity, the possibility that some of them decide the City is a good place to live, to buy a house, to live here. We lose the reminder that Minneapolis is a grand city in its own regards. Minneapolis is now “that other place I use to work at.”
What I truly fear and innately know is no one will actually lament leaving Minneapolis, other than to say perhaps it was an “interesting” place to be, for a while, ya know. Has any company actually in recent times ever signaled its desire to be in the core? There was plenty of vacant Downtown lots to house the 3,900 workers Target sent to Brooklyn Park in 2001.
So yes suburbs are evil ponzi schemes, duh, but also the urbans are not the synergy-filled dense “vibrant” intersections of culture, arts, capital, and technology that make them utterly desirable in the face of any economic decision. And the more Dinkytown hotels that get rejected by politicians, the more the urbans will remain an archaic and rigid complex that will never be the supposed promised land of sustainable urbanism.
That’s assuming that all the workers buy lunch, lattes, clothes, theater tickets, etc, downtown. I know a number of people that drive or take the bus or train to their downtown jobs, then immediately go home afterwords (and maybe pack a lunch), and go shopping at big box stores where things are cheaper near where they live. Not everyone prefers hanging around downtown for happy hour vs going home to the suburbs to take their kids to McDonalds and their soccer game. If I worked downtown I’d get out of there as soon as possible after work.
I realize it’s a faux pas to critique parenting styles, but it’s borderline child abuse to feed a child McDonald’s.
Im with you on that. Would rather feed my children from a food truck on Nicollet Mall than McDumpster.
Yeah, I’m not at all worried about it.
As for examples of companies moving the core, well, Wells Fargo is moving people from South Minneapolis to a new tower in Downtown East. The Star Tribune is moving toward the core (Capella Tower complex). I’m sure there are examples of smaller companies and continuing expansion by financial services and other professional firms.
Not an employee and don’t live in Minneapolis. I think it’s interesting that in the 70s and 80s, most corporate relocations to the suburbs were actually done to move the office closer to the management. This appears to be the opposite, basically a cold cost cutting measure that wasn’t really thought out.
Article today that was about exactly this issue: http://www.newgeography.com/content/004265-the-rise-executive-headquarters
My first four years of professional experience were spent working in the suburbs (first Golden Valley, then Richfield/Bloomington), while my second four years have been spent working downtown Minneapolis. There are benefits and drawbacks to both, though I have to say on the whole I strongly prefer working downtown mostly as a matter of personal preference.
I have traversed the Luce Line trail in this particular area of Plymouth on runs and via bike, and I do have to say that the immediate area is pretty bland and kind of depressing. It’s a somewhat dilapidated stretch of road that has a barren, industrial feel to it. To some, it doesn’t matter what their immediate work surroundings are like, and they prefer having easy access to their vehicle. However, both of the suburban settings I worked in were much more aesthetically pleasing and had easy access to good food options and shopping in addition to the free parking. One was a relatively new corporate campus and the other was an office in a denser surburban surrounding. This space is clearly much cheaper and, as a result, much less appealing in many ways other than free parking and easy access for those living in the western suburbs.
TCF is sending a message to its employees that its desire to cut corporate occupancy costs is paramount. This is keeping with TCF’s culture as a conservative, no frills regional bank. Employees working there should know this – it doesn’t make TCF a bad company by any stretch but rather confirms its culture and strategic direction.
Reading these comments reminds me of the old story of blind men describing an elephant – it clearly depends on one’s perspective. I worked in this building as well as worked downtown Minneapolis and in the midway area of St. Paul. Personally, there were advantages and disadvantages to each of these locations that are fairly well represented herein. I do have two thoughts:
1) One of the firms being displaced by TCF’s move is Aimia. They have announced an intention to move to downtown Minneapolis. It may be interesting to investigate the feelings of their employees regarding the move.
2) Suburbs consistently do a much better job of upkeep and replacement of their infrastructure and many have developed plans to continue this well into the future. Meanwhile, Saint Paul, for instance, needs $70 million (per Mayor Coleman) just to repair its twenty worst streets. Fault whomever you wish but the inner cities are falling apart. The streets throughout Minneapolis are in horrible shape, the snowplowing is horribly inadequate (especially in clearing intersections downtown) and the urban core cannot succeed without major funding from a state legislature that will continue to be dominated by suburban and greater Minnesota legislators.
Suburbs can’t maintain their infrastructure without massive bailouts. Whether it’s CSAH funding, TIF, redo as part of state-funded interchange projects, federal grants, using transit dollars for roadway expansion/redo (such as Apple Valley’s Red Line) or the ever-famous Growth Ponzi Scheme…. suburban roads are a dismal economic failure on their own, and a primary cause of the increasing number of municipal bankruptcies. http://www.strongtowns.org/the-growth-ponzi-scheme/
I’d refer you to the street replacement funds in Shoreview as a demonstration that suburbs do NOT require massive bailouts, unlike the massive bailout that Minneapolis is asking for a single street – Nicollet Mall. Again, compare the municipal streets in any of the suburbs to those in the core cities. Those same bailouts you claim for the suburbs are the same ones used by the core cities. The recent upgrade to 694 had no significant positive impact on Shoreview. Rather, it was done for overall metropolitan and interstate traffic benefit. Like core cities suburbs fail because of poor financial management and lack of proper oversight.
Most suburbs require massive bailouts.
There are exceptions — suburbs which are occupied entirely by the rich.
Your second proposition is highly dubious to say the least.
And you have the flow of funds exactly backward.
I’d like more details about the ‘flow of funds’ debate. Which funds? Where and how are they transferred?
Having done work for cities in road construction, the 2nd statement is incomplete. (Pat Kessler would say “That’s not the whole story”). Most of the urban infrastructure is not failing due to surface flaws but that the base and subgrade materials have reached the end of their lifespans. I have yet to see any suburb do massive reconstruction projects of residential neighborhoods, or of old arterial streets. The major construction is usually CSAH or MSAH projects in these suburban communities.
In 50 years when reconstruction comes in the suburbs, I hope to be saying the same things to people who are living in the core and laughing about the suburban streets.
In 50 years the streets in residential neighborhoods in the outer ring suburbs will be allowed to convert to gravel. You read it here first.
The exception will be extremely tony suburbs occupied by the 1%. Those have existed for thousands of years and always do fine for themselves.
Suburbs for the masses… not really sustainable.
Identifying my community with “extremely tony suburbs occupied by the 1%” is absolutely ridiculous and, frankly, offensive.. The median home value in Shoreview is $235,400 and median household income is $80,762. That’s a long way from “tony” and far removed from the 1%. The difference, simply, is good planning, accompanied by sound financial management. It takes awhile to get sound practices in place but it can be done anywhere.
Shoreview is officially the #39th most wealthy city in MN, just below Woodbury and Lake Elmo. It is halfway between Eden Prairie and Bloomington on the “tony suburb” spectrum. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Minnesota_locations_by_per_capita_income
Okay, Bill, you have clearly proven Shoreview is “tony” because it ranks 39th on Wikipedia’s list!. However, that same list shows we are still lagging far behind the much tonier communities of Minneiska (21), Northrop (29) and Tamarack (31). Oh, wait, other sites ( http://www.city-data.com, U.S. Census Bureau, etc.) show results far different than the source you cite.
Meanwhile, do you really believe that a per capita income of $32,399 makes a city “tony”? That’s interesting, especially when the top rated cities shown in your source show per capita incomes exceeding $90,000. I don’t exactly see that in the same ballpark.
I never said it’s “tony.” I don’t even know what that word means.
I grew up in the suburb of Mendota Heights (#20): low taxes, high property values, a golf course enclave where professional athletes live. Now I live 3 miles away in Saint Paul (#202), ranked next to Otsego and Ostrander on that list. Saint Paul is (relatively) huge and has the most concentrated stretch of poverty in the state.
The point is to be aware of how social inequity is exacerbated by city boundaries and suburbanization. Most of the poverty is concentrated in the core cities. That three miles makes a big difference.
Joseph, I can only speak with authority on my community but I ask you to reference Shoreview’s “Comprehensive Infrastructure Replacement Plan and Policy” before you conclude that no suburb has a plan. About $2 million a year is set aside for reconstruction and that effort does include adequate base and subgrade materials. The street I live on was originally built 45 years ago (with a base and subgrade mandated at that time). It has already been reconstructed, as have a significant number of streets in our community. Minneapolis, on the other hand, has the vast majority of its residential streets with absolutely no base nor subgrade materials.
Matty, your prediction is interesting but you provide no basis for your forecast. How do you conclude that core cities, facing a host of other issues in the next half century, will be able to adequately budget for street replacement (neglected for the previous half century), while, at the same time, all the outer ring suburbs will somehow ignore their infrastructures?
My point is that, regardless of your choice of wheeled transportation, a road surface not crumbling and not marred with potholes is critical. To maintain this infrastructure requires planning and the core cities, for whatever reason, have chosen to ignore the issue. At this stage it would seem the only option is a vast infusion of state and/or federal funds. Is that a political reality in the near future?
Bob- I forwarded Shoreview’s plan over to some other policy analysts in the StrongTowns community and there’s some discussion about it going on right now. It looks like Shoreview may actually have a good grasp on the reality of long-term liabilities, municipal cash flow, and infrastructure finance. If so, that places Shoreview in the minority… the engineers and planners I’ve talked with have rarely, if ever, seen such an analysis.
But even if Shoreview’s neighborhood streets are properly addressed, its collectors and arterials are subsidized by the county and state (MSAS/CSAH) through programs that disconnect the value proposition of the investment amount related to the return on that investment.
I agree with your comment regarding snowplowing, BUT with the exception of Bloomington, the suburbs don’t have the amenities that either Minneapolis or St. Paul have. They don’t have to deal with people from Minneapolis or St. Paul utilizing their infrastructure in order to get to museums, professional and college games, theaters, etc…
Too bad neither Minneapolis nor St. Paul have the right to annex their neighbors like several cities have done and are doing throughout the country. Perhaps infrastructure upkeep wouldn’t be such an issue.
Also keep in mind the reason why snowplowing is so much easier in the suburbs is that most suburbs prohibit on-street parking during the winter. They require higher numbers of off-street parking. So there’s private real estate devoted to the storage of automobiles, duplicative of the public streets that are wide enough to also store these automobiles. Thus the tax base is lower, density is lower, and amenities are lower.
TCF is on the way down. Poorly managed and this just adds to that. It’s a commercial finance company masquerading as a bank. Not a good position in the market. Any move to the burbs will be temporary before they become part of another finance enterprise. Their CEO is a hoot at client events, though. High on the irreverance scale. Right up there with Rich Meewsen at Badger Meter (BMI) in Milwaukee. But Rich is creating shareholder value while this TCF guy is eroding it.
Go Pack Go. Do you know why the Vikings are purple? You would be purple too if you were choking for 40 years.
+1 for the Vikings joke. (Go Pack Go.)
So people in their 20s and 30s are still willing to commute to some random suburb for work? I’m in my mid-30s and the majority of people I know (20s – 40s) prefer either Minneapolis or St. Paul to the 300+ suburbs. They like having options – transit, food, and other amenities. I’m sure Plymouth is nice if you are one who is either a) wants a house that looks like every other suburban home, b) afraid of the city, c) afraid of minorities, d) from outstate MN, the Dakotas, Iowa, or WI, or e) all of the above.
Maybe not the best data point since I live in the suburbs, but everyone I know in their 20s and 30s outside of work lives in one suburb and commutes to another.
This is fantastic news! TCF really shows how much it values its employees by providing parking. Frankly, it’s insulting to their employees to tell them to take the bus or making them pay to park. It’s insulting to their bottom line and insulting to the freedom to live in the many suburbs and exurbs that make Minnesota the special place it is, as many of their employees do.
This is incredibe forward-thinking on TCF’s part. Suburbs are the future and TCF is leading the way.
I am a TCF employee who will not be affected by this move, because I currently live in Minneapolis and work downtown but am moving home to South Dakota before TCF’s move to Plymouth. I thought I’d share some of the thoughts and feelings my coworkers are expressing about this news.
Some employees will have a much more difficult commute to work (or they will, if the transit routes stay the same as they are currently) but TCF is working with Metro Transit to find solutions to these issues. With that many employees being moved out of downtown and a fairly infrequent route traveling to Plymouth, Metro Transit has the potential to lose a significant amount of commuters if they don’t work on finding transit solutions that will work for a large numbers of the affected TCF employees. Everyone that I’ve spoken with rides the bus for at least a portion of his or her daily commute, as expected. Only a few employees that I’ve talked to will have an easier or shorter commute, lucky dogs.
If I were going to be a part of this move, I think I’d miss everything that downtown has to offer. I’m able to use my break times to take scenic walks, whether it’s outside or through the skyways, run to the bank, stop at Target for those odds and ends on my shopping list (if I’m comfortable enough to carry them on the bus with me), not to mention all the different food options. I do agree, however, with one of the previous commenters that said they’d prefer having free parking and being able to stop for groceries or run other errands on the way home from work. Once I’m home after a long day of work and commuting, I rarely feel the energy to get into my car and battle the Minneapolis traffic in order to pick up my groceries. I’d much rather make that stop on the way home, and then relax and know that I’m at home to stay for the rest of the evening.
Being from South Dakota, I’m quite used to having to drive to work every day and having to drive somewhere if I want to do some shopping on my lunch break, so I don’t understand what the fuss is about. Of course, many of my coworkers have probably never had to do that before; they’re used to having everything within walking distance. And while that has indeed been quite the convenience for me as well, I miss my drives to and from work every morning. They were quite therapeutic. The drive home at the end of the day gave me a chance to just be alone, listen to whatever music I wanted, and unwind and let go of work thoughts before I got home.
You must be one of the rare zen motorists out there. I’ve heard people describe bicycle commuting as therapeutic and a way to jest be alone, unwind, and let go of work thoughts before, but it’s very rare I hear rush time motoring referred to in that way. Most people use that time in the car fighting a constant rising blood pressure. Well done on your part.
I used to listen to a cassette tape of ocean sounds when I drove.
I question why Metro Transit would even try to help TCF find solutions for their employees – it seems like a waste and I suspect it is lip service. Metro Transit’s response to TCF should be “if you want good transit service, stay downtown where the density makes our service much more efficient.”
+1. The idea that all suburbs and all job centers *deserve* transit is a losing assumption. It forces transit to adapt to a car-oriented land use, and it does so miserably and with horrible economics. The reality is some land use patterns are not compatible with transit (or increased road investment, for that matter) and we ought to just cut them off.
You haven’t met me in person yet, Matty…:o)
I *am* a downtown TCF employee. I’m very disappointed in the move, as it will force me to drive to work, roughly 180 miles a week. I live in a Minneapolis neighborhood and my current commute is less than 50 miles a week. Sometimes I bus, sometimes I drive (for example, if I have an appointment and need the flexibility). Sometimes I bike (depends on weather and my schedule). It’s nice to have those options. MANY of my co-workers bus to Minneapolis, and I imagine that most will now have to drive, adding to the carbon footprint. Those who live in St. Paul and further east (Woodbury, Maplewood, etc.) will have a terrible time getting to Plymouth, seeing as they’ll have to get through two cities.
I’ll admit it, I’m a city girl. I dislike the suburbs, which I find sterile and charmless. I eat at locally owned restaurants and shop at mom ‘n pop stores, avoiding fast food/chain restaurants and big box stores. When I saw the stores and restaurants that surround the Plymouth facility, I wasn’t surprised but I was pretty depressed.
Something a lot of people don’t realize is that many TCF employees have worked downtown for DECADES – some for 20 years or more – and we’ve established relationships here. We have doctors and dentists just across the street in the Medical Arts Building; we use the post office just across the street; we drop off clothes at the dry cleaners in the skyway; we buy produce at the farmer’s market on Nicollet Mall every Thursday from spring through fall. (We have our favorite farmers, too, and look for their stalls every spring.) We walk to Target to pick up toothpaste (and then spend another $40 on stuff), or if we’re a bit ambitious, we walk down to the Central Library for a book or DVD. We listen to the buskers on the street corners in the summer and eat tasty lunches fresh from the food trucks just outside our doors. (Notice that ALL of this is walkable… no need to get in the car.)
We get to know the people who work in the skyway shops and restaurants and they get to know us – perhaps not deeply, but enough to smile and nod or say “Hi, how are you today?” or “You want the usual?” and exchange pleasantries. We’re a small town inside a big city. And now we will drive in rush hour traffic to sit inside a huge, windowless building in our cubes, drive to McDonalds or Appleby’s for lunch or grab something in the cafeteria (hope they have vegetarian/vegan options), then drive home in rush hour traffic. Do you see the difference? This is a profound change in our live, and it’s not all about the transportation issue.
Well, I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m happy to have a job. I’ve worked in the suburbs before and survived, and of course I’m free to look for work elsewhere – and many of us will. That may be the real point of all this – the executives (who are not moving) will see a “natural attrition” as employees leave the company, and therefore get fresh blood into TCF. Who really knows what their motivation is?
Downtown sounds nice.
I use to work for TCF Bank in their downtown MPLS location. It took me an additional hour to commute from home to work and work to home daily. Almost half my day spent on work. One hour to get to work. Spending eight hours at work. Then to spend another hour on the bus just to get home. If I was still with TCF and was involve with this move. I would’ve quit my job, luckily I’ve already have! I would’ve been stuck commuting an additional 45 minutes on top of the hour already spent get to and from work.
When TCF first moved their call center from the sub basement (yes, I said “sub basement” a basement below a basement) to Brooklyn Center. Half the employees were glad because it would’ve been a much easier commute, free parking & less downtown MPLS traffic. However, they struggled not being able to release any stress from angry customer calls (which was most 80% of the time customer complaining about services and fees they were getting) Employees seemed to have hated their job more than they had before moving from an old creepy sub basement to a new building. There was no stress reliver. Even though they had an actual window to look out of. There was no where to go to.
I hope with their move and new location. That TCF actually spend good money for some upgrades for their employees. I hope they don’t continue to use those old handy down, close out sold office chairs, hard drives, (multi-function) printers, cubes, office supplies, filing cabinets, monitors, laptops and etc.
Of course everyone is included in the move except the CEO. While he gets to sit in a fancy office with his office space fit to his comfort while the rest are struggling to keep their office chair upright with some duck tape and random size screws.
TCF takes “saving money” or “cutting loss” to another level and that level is going cheap ALL THE WAY! Some company are willing to spend a lot now to save more later. But not TCF! They haven’t quite understood the concept of running a steady office. At my time with TCF their hiring rate was so high because they were not listening and adjust to employees request of office comfort and work load. A lot of work but only a few people to take on the work load and ABSOLUETLY no over time allowed. But yet, get the twelve stacks of reports done between you and two other people before end of day.
TCF doesn’t care!