This morning, the North Loop was awoken by the sweet sound of pile driving as the Archive project started construction on a surface parking lot near the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The surface parking lot is one of the last in the area, with several being redeveloped in the last ten years into mixed-use properties.
The project will not reduce net parking on the property, there will be 240 parking spaces with three floors of underground parking to serve the 198 residential units and approximately 6,000 square feet of ground floor commercial/retail, although the developer is now advertising 7,000 square feet renting, so the true amount may be larger. The underground garage is accessible via Azine Way, the street between 1st St N and the Federal Reserve.
You can see on this satellite image from April 28, 2018, that after the Archive project is complete, there will be only a few surface parking lots left in the area. The Federal reserve is proposing to build a 800-stall parking ramp on one remaining lot, which is both bad for the climate and bad for commuting workers.
One of the highlights of the Archive project is a covered pedestrian walkway that will connect 1st St N to Azine Way. The building continues above the pedestrian walkway, creating a multi-story skyway between masses. I appreciate the effort to make the property fit into the character of the surrounding neighborhood and increase walkability between blocks. There is a similar pedestrian walkway with building above at the Brunsfield North Loop on Washington Ave N, but that walkway only connects Washington to a seating area for the apartments and Spyhouse Coffee and not another street. There is a driveway, an alley, and more parking blocking the way to a full connection.
For retail, there is about 6,000-7,000 square feet of commercial space with floor-to-ceiling windows on the street front, similar to the Maverick on Hennepin Ave. One can imagine yet another Spyhouse or Starbucks Coffee, clothing retail, or maybe even co-working space.
The whole project is advertised to be complete in “late 2020”. You can check out the full project docs with CPED here.
What do you think of the Archive project? What would you design into your ideal mixed-use development in a downtown or mid-rise area? Share your ideas in the comments!