Territ Downs

Territ Downs is, sadly, a fictional community. This post is looking for the buildings in Minnesota that belong in Territ Downs. Buildings for which a surface parking lot compares favorably. Not simply buildings which are minimal but functional, but buildings which are hostile to the rest of the world. Buildings you wonder how got approved. Post your nominations in the comments.

Teamsters Local HQ, University Avenue, Minneapolis

Teamsters Local HQ, University Avenue, Minneapolis

28 thoughts on “Territ Downs

  1. Scott Walters

    Laura and Phil were really close, but missed the worst by just a couple of blocks. Midway Marketplace – right on University Avenue, but almost impossible to walk from a bus (or now a train) stop to any of the stores. The entrance to the Cub Foods is the most egregious, about 1 meter from the driveway to the door, with no pedestrian protection whatsoever. It looks like they intended people to be able to drive in and shop without ever leaving their cars.


  2. Kyle

    While I don’t necessarily think it should be torn down and I certainly would mind a penthouse apartment in the sky at this location, I’ve always found 740 River Drive Apartments http://740riverdrive.com/Home.php just north of Ford Parkway on Mississippi River Blvd by the old Ford plant is really out of place for the neighborhood, and also oriented wrong. Someone needs to rotate it 180 degrees so the big views are east/west, not north south like they currently are…..

  3. Alyssa

    Northstar Ramp on 7th Street in downtown Minneapolis, between 2nd Avenue and Marquette on the north side of 7th Street. Why not completely reroute a downtown sidewalk mid block so you can build a sloping driveway entrance for a parking ramp in the middle of the sidewalk instead? Pedestrians won’t mind being shuttled through the dark, cold, concrete underpass created by the driveway, inhabited only by smokers getting their quick nicotine fix.


      1. Alyssa

        Matty, I fold on your mention of Alliance Bank in downtown St. Paul. For my nomination, I really struggled to decide between the Northstar Ramp and that whole area around Alliance Bank. With the Macy’s ramp canceling out Northstar (what do you suppose the chances are they were designed by the same group?), Alliance Bank is a surefire entry into Territ Downs!

    1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

      Also I just realized that they already tore down the other ramp that had this kind of design (diverting pedestrians under the ramp entrance), at 4th and Nicollet.

    2. Sean Hayford OlearySean Hayford Oleary

      Although it’s not the most attractive, it is safer for a high-volume ramp than a traditional sidewalk crossing.

      It’s also definitely not the ugliest of these designs in downtown Minneapolis. The worst I know of is the ramp at 7th St and 5th Ave S. Northstar Ramp at least has some reasonable frontage, and is a suitable width inside the tunnel. This ramp-diverted sidewalk is about 5′ wide, concrete berm to concrete berm, and has nothing to look at other than the inside of a parking ramp.

  4. Sean Hayford OlearySean Hayford Oleary

    I nominate the Hennepin County Library, Southdale, at 70th and Xerxes on the border on Edina and Richfield.

    This building hates street frontage so hard, it is not only surrounded by surface parking on three sides, but it also has no proper ground floor. Only a ground-level lobby which provides elevators to enter the human levels above. Even the upper levels look like a blocky animated spaceship that has descended on the parking lots of humankind.

    1. Ted Hathaway

      The building has never worked. The story is that it was designed by a CA-based architect who did not understand that sticking a building up on stilts so it is exposed on four sides in our god-forsaken climate is probably not a good idea. The Library has rebuilt the interior countless times trying to make it function better, but the design flaws in “Rohlf’s folly” are so fundamental that the most effective alterations would likely be administered using a wrecking ball.

  5. Ted Hathaway

    City Center. A hideous building whose lower levels have been a graveyard for most retail and restaurants. For this they tore down the Dyckman?

    1. Alex CecchiniAlex Cecchini

      By Lyme do you mean Lime Apartments in Uptown? If so, I’ll disagree.. The frontage on Aldrich certainly leaves something to be desired, but the Greenway and Lyndale facings are wonderful (setting aside personal taste for the colored panels).

      IDS is also an odd choice. It’s a skyscraper with skyways, yes, but I’d say ~80% of the sidewalk-facing frontage is pretty high quality. Doors and windows along most of 8th, most of Marquette, all of 7th, and all of Nicollet Mall. The SE corner is basically the only not so great spot with a parking entrance and blanker walls, but the Crystal Court more than makes up for it. If every single-block skyscraper was this good, Minneapolis would be a much better place for pedestrians than it is.

  6. Betsey BuckheitBetsey Buckheit

    Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce http://goo.gl/maps/v8cDo

    The building seems to be an agglomeration of unrelated bits with odd details like the “shutters” on the second story and the sloped roofs on the ends. The entrance to the parking lot is invisible making it difficult to see how to arrive by car (and the sidewalk doesn’t connect either) and the overall stroad-scape add to the sense of unreachability. That this structure houses the Chamber of Commerce makes it even more unfortunate. Welcome to Northfield!

  7. Janne

    I walk past this monstrosity whenever I bus to my office. I walk on 4th Street South from the Central Library to Minneapolis City Hall. This is across from the Hotel Minneapolis, next door to the City’s Public Service Center. It belches exhaust from cars and the entire building across the sidewalk. Staff shovel the driveways but not the sidewalks in winter. (When asked during the rush hour, the staff guy said, “Gotta get my bosses spot shoveled out before he gets in.”)


      1. Janne

        They do clear the walks, but poorly and seldom in time for rush hour — it’s most problematic after a fresh snow (obviously?). I don’t think they could get cited for it, although if ever they can, and I’m walking that day, I’ll make a 311 report.

        I think that when maintenance staff arrive at work (8am, maybe?) they start by clearing the curb cut/driveway for the building manager first, then the main entrance, and finally the sidewalk. That would mean the sidewalk happens 8 or 9:30. (I think that because once when a guy was out shoveling the driveway, I asked why he wasn’t doing the sidewalk, and he said, “I have to take care of my boss’s parking first.)

        1. Janne

          Ok… Rereading the three-comment thread, it’s obvious I have a bee in my bonnet about that dude’s parking space taking precedence over the hundreds of pedestrians who walk by.

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