Destination Motley – A New Type of Minneapolis Neighborhood

It wasn’t until a month or so ago when I first heard about Motley. It’s the neighborhood, gateway, destination area thing just east of the U. That was my understanding, anyway. There was a U of M + Motley Open Streets in September and many including myself were just wondering exactly what is Motley? Here’s a quick IG photo of the community promoting a neighborhood with bright vision.

Motley Team at Open Streets Mpls

Motley Team at Open Streets Minneapolis

Their website explains it well as a gateway from the University to the broader community.

Motley is a new kind of complete, mixed-use district where the University of Minnesota and community collide

On Sunday, it was time to just walk the grid to check it out. It really is a mixture of everything from older homes, apartments, multiplexes, new student housing buildings, serene river views, newer businesses, pedestrian friendly mall, a chic area of Washington Ave SE, Light Rail, and sport venues. Oh, there’s also that Clinics and Surgery Center (CSC) complete with a grand player-piano in the front lobby.

Clinic Surgery Center

U of M Clinic and Surgery Center

Across from the clinic, 2 photos on Essex St. SE. One of them in the fall, and the other in the winter which is a good reminder to advocate for the Minneapolis Winter Sidewalks Maintenance plan.

Sidewalk Fall

Clear Sidewalk in the Fall


Uncleared Sidewalk in the Winter

Behind the clinic now lies a square block of a surface lot 13. I was really hoping it would be something else, but do know that employees there often have to park many blocks away.

Contract Lot 13

U of M Contract Lot 13

On the SW corner at Fulton and Ontario is right by the CSC entrance where they really, really need a stoplight. It turns out drivers don’t feel like slowing down for patients who walk across the street to get inside the clinic.

Fulton And Ontario

Cars don’t like to slow down here

Erie St. is a favorite of mine. It’s a street of older single-family homes, multiplexes and apartments, and one really cool tree that stands out.

Looking North and that Tree on Erie St

Looking North and that Tree on Erie St

A big push for all of this redevelopment is for sustainability. Of course this is promising, if only because it makes the newer Motley cleaner and prettier. Also, they want to ensure their master plans align with the city’s 2040 goals which has often been discussed here on Streets.

Many of us have heard about the University of Minnesota Foundation buying lots where Stub & Herbs and Jimmy Johns subs stand now. Just recently they also purchased the lot where BK and many other businesses stand. What does this mean for these businesses? I’m not sure. Nonetheless, a fun fact: There’s always one loose french fry in your side order of onion rings.

One Fry in the Onion Rings

One Fry in the Onion Rings

More photos during this walk were taken which you can see on this Google Photo album. Do check it out!

Paul Jahn

About Paul Jahn

Ward 3 Mpls resident, virtual tours and 360 photographer, and you can find him at LocalMN, also on Twitter and Facebook. Volunteer for Streets for People and love urban walks. Music grad at Central Washington University.

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