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Minneapolis Riverfront News

Covering life, work, and play in the Historic Mill District and Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront neighborhoods. Have an opinion, local news or events to share?  Contact us.

Entries by David Tinjum (481)


In the News - Downtown & the Riverfront Neighborhoods

Our weekly digest of stories about Downtown Minneapolis and the Central Riverfront neighborhoods:

WEEK OF APRIL 22, 2019

Trying for a new look for Twin Cities condo buildings
Two Minneapolis condominium projects strive for a distinctive look.

The redevelopment of what was most recently was a Macy’s in Downtown Minneapolis is moving forward and at full speed.

Remembering James Dayton, the man behind some of the Twin Cities' most eye-catching buildings
Through his eye-grabbing work, architect James Dayton made the Twin Cities a better, more beautiful place.

Minneapolis voted America's most underrated city
One would think that with Minneapolis' consistently high rankings in all manner of quality-of-life studies, our fair burg would have shed the descriptor of “underrated.” Such is the curse of being seated in northern Flyover Country.

Parking in downtown Minneapolis just got a lot less friendly
If you sensed a disturbance in the force on Monday, and you’re not ready to blame it on the blazing collapse of Notre Dame Cathedral, consider an alternate explanation: Minneapolis changed its downtown parking rules.

With meter rate changes, free parking vanishes in downtown Minneapolis
Chuck Henninger got an unpleasant surprise last Monday when he went to pay the parking meter in downtown Minneapolis. The price had gone up by $1 an hour.

Minneapolis raises rates on some downtown parking meters
Some of the 2,500-plus meters hadn't had a price change in 20 years.

Time-lapse: Snow to sun in 5 days
We took 96 hours of Minnesota weather and turned it into 60 seconds of zen.

Hennepin History Museum Curates Inventions and Innovations Exhibit
From the Bundt pan, to the pop-up toaster, to the "damper flapper," learn what inventions were made in Minnesota.

Public Functionary is having one last party before moving out
Northeast Minneapolis gallery Public Functionary has been at its current location since 2013, where it has hosted solo shows by local and national artists, and has been a go-to spot for social justice groups, artist collaborations, fashion events, and dance performances.

Guthrie Theater's current production covers stage in 12,500-pound pool of water
A Guthrie newcomer supervised the installation of a 6-ton pool for the Tony Award-winning "Metamorphoses."

Gallery: A look inside the revamped, newly-named Emery hotel in Minneapolis
The rebranded hotel opens its doors on Wednesday.

2019: Summer of the Bootleg?
It's about to get real minty up in here.

Bibuta could be your new go-to skyway lunch spot
If you stop by a new skyway spot and snag lunch for your co-workers, a very good sign is to get a text like this less than 24 hours later:

No more Au Bon Pain in the Minneapolis skyways
Au Bon Pain is bidding Au Revoir to the Minneapolis skyways, with its two downtown locations closing this week.

The 11 Hottest Patios to Bask in the Spring Sunshine
After heroic survival of another overly long winter, it’s finally time to head out into the warm sunshine. These new patios are where to flock when the weather cooperates.

WEEK OF APRIL 15, 2019

Twin Cities were once home to grand opera houses, one prominent in a murder trial
The Minneapolis Metropolitan became the scene of an alibi concocted by a notorious murderer. The architect of St. Paul's Metropolitan helped design Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

With reconstruction, Minneapolis looks to a safer, more vibrant Hennepin Avenue
One of downtown's main drags is due for a major renovation.

Click to read more ...


River Hub: News from the Minneapolis Riverfront

Our weekly digest of news relating to the Minneapolis Riverfront, in collaboration with The Great River Coalition:

WEEK OF APRIL 22, 2019

Watch & Read: April 2019 Flooding at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL)
Thanks to the flooding Mississippi River, with its 42,000 CFS (Cubic Feet per Second) flow, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory Research Associate Jess Kozarek was able to paddle a kayak on 22 inches of water covering SAFL's basement floor.

Minneapolis plans to refurbish aging 10th Avenue Bridge over Mississippi River
After 90 years, things start to wear out. That's the case with the 10th Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River parallel to Interstate 35W in downtown Minneapolis.

Sub-river water tunnel illustrates feats of modern engineering
Minneapolis will employ a boring machine to drill a 5-foot corridor deep beneath the Mississippi River.

Flying silver carp are discovered in the St. Croix River
Earlier this week, some commercial fishers on the St. Croix River, not far from Prescott, Wisconsin, hauled up their nets and found they’d snagged a little something extra.

Latest capture of silver 'flying' carp on St. Croix is 'disappointing' to DNR
An angler caught invasive fish in same area where one was found in 2017. The large fish compete with native species and are a potential threat to recreational boating.

#FindYourPark: Islands of Peace
There are three islands in the Mississippi River between Fridley and Brooklyn Center, known collectively since 1971 as the Islands of Peace.

Demonstration prairie planting on Nicollet Island
Working together on Nicollet Island, FMR staff and volunteers will dig in and plant over 600 native prairie plants! These prairie plugs will be planted in two 150-square-foot raised bed gardens along the newly installed pedestrian trail.

Click to read more ...


Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction Project

Fresh off completion of the Nicollet Mall reconstruction project, Hennepin Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis starts it's rebirth today, Monday, April 15, 2019.

Hennepin Avenue is both a street and a destination. On average, people make over 48,000 trips per day along Hennepin Avenue including 8,100 transit trips, 7,600 pedestrian trips, and 1,300 bicycle trips. Hennepin Avenue is also recognized by the City as a cultural district with multiple theaters, arts institutions, and entertainment venues. The existing right-of-way along the corridor varies between 88-100 feet with a typical street width of 59 feet.

The street was last rebuilt in 1986. After more than 30 years, the pavement is worn out and needs to be replaced. The current corridor also does not reflect current demand for a more balanced roadway that makes the corridor safer and more inviting for pedestrians, bicyclists, buses and cars.

The City is moving ahead with redesign and reconstruction of Hennepin Avenue between Washington Avenue and 12th Street. The reconstructed Hennepin Avenue will continue to accommodate all modes within the existing right-of-way:

- Sidewalk area able to support pedestrian activities with space for planting and furnishing zones

- One-way bikeways behind the curb

- Space for enhanced transit stops compatible with future Arterial Bus Rapid Transit service

- Generally four vehicle lanes, with Hennepin Avenue remaining a two-way street

The city is also preparing a public realm design concept that will cover the Hennepin Avenue corridor from the Sculpture Garden at the Walker Arts Center to the Mississippi River. The primary purpose of this exercise will be to gather public input that will influence the detailed urban planning and design for the 10- block reconstruction project. However, its findings will be applicable to future projects and improvements within the larger Hennepin Avenue Corridor area.

The reconstruction project, estimated to cost $20 million, is currently funded in the City’s five-year Capital Improvement Program. It will be funded with City, state and federal transportation dollars. Outreach began in 2016, and detailed engineering will be completed in 2019. Construction will begin in 2019 and continue through 2022.

Download: Detailed project layout map...

Download: Frequently asked questions...

Download: Get the initial update...



Absolutely drop dead views from windows facing four exposures. Beautiful renovation by MSR Architects, RoehrSchmitt Architects and Streeter featuring modern open floor plan, exposed concrete ceiling, feature walls of frosted glass and concrete, custom kitchen, discreet storage solutions throughout and thoughtful window seats capturing panoramic views of downtown Minneapolis skyline, Mississippi River and Nicollet Island. Two bedroom suites, office nook and beautiful touches throughout. Sophisticated, modern and very efficient, a must see.

2 bed | 2 bath | 2 parking | 1,740 sf | $800,000

View listing details online...


Downtown Living: Tower Lofts

Wonderful industrial loft in the heart of the North Loop. Concrete floors throughout, high ceilings, and large windows to bring in lots of natural light. The updated bathroom, bedroom, and light fixtures make this one not to be missed. Two indoor parking stalls are a unique bonus. Enjoy the community rooftop deck with over 5000 square feet with amazing downtown views. Open House: Saturday 4/13 from 11am-1pm

1 bed | 1 bath | 2 parking | $1,360 sf | $435,000

View listing details online...


Watch: Annual Eagle Survey on the Mississippi River

"Every year we monitor the park's bald eagle population by locating nests via helicoptor and assessing how many chicks are in each nest. Our annual survey is happening next week!

Throughout the week we'll post videos from previous surveys, which are part of the Mississippi River Visitor Center display at the Science Museum of Minnesota."

Water Works Update: Mezzanine Phase

First proposed in 2011, the Water Works project has seen several design concepts, finally settling on something fairly close to the original from December 2011 (watch video below):

The first phase of the project goes before the City Planning Commission on Monday, March 25.

Download staff report & site plan...

View full size images...

Project description below, excerpted from the staff report & site plan:

SITE DESCRIPTION AND PRESENT USE. The site was once occupied by the Bassett s Second Sawmill, the Columbia Flour Mill and the Occidental Feed Mill. Portions of each of these mills remain on the site. In 1961, Reiko Weston purchased the property. In 1967-68, she built the Fuji Ya Restaurant incorporating portions of the Bassett s Second Sawmill and Columbia Flour Mill into the design of the restaurant structure. The Fuji Ya Restaurant operated in this location until 1990. In 1990, the applicant acquired the property and the site has been vacant ever since. In 2017, the applicant selectively demolished portions of the Fuji Ya Restaurant and stabilized the remaining mill ruins in order to incorporate them into the design of a new park building that will be built on the site called Water Works.

SURROUNDING PROPERTIES AND NEIGHBORHOOD. The site is surrounded by residential developments of varying densities, office buildings, a variety of commercial establishments and the Mississippi River. The site is located in the Downtown West Neighborhood.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION. The Water Works project is designed around providing a mix of indoor and outdoor public spaces and will be broken into two phases: The Mezzanine phase and the Riverside phase. The Mezzanine includes a pavilion with indoor amenities, an outdoor plaza with seating, lawn and outdoor terraces, a small hillside performance venue, and a picnicking and play area. The future Riverside phase (date TBD) will complete the link between downtown and the riverfront with reconfigured trails, public river access, a sunken performance venue, and another plaza area with water features. The two phases are not mutually dependent on the other and will develop on separate timelines as funding is procured.

The entire Water Works project area encompasses approximately 6.33 acres within the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)-listed and locally-designated St. Anthony Falls Historic District (SAFHD) and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) Critical Area Corridor. The milling era infrastructure, extant buildings, and structural remnants located within the Mezzanine Phase project boundaries are listed as contributing archaeological features to the SAFHD.


The design for the Water Works park pavilion is a two-story brick building built into the Basset Engine House and Boiler Room, as well as the void left in the southern portion of the Columbia Flour Mill ruin after demolition for a Fuji Ya addition in the 1970s. The pavilion contains the public park program, including restrooms, lobby, meeting room and a small lounge, as well as a restaurant and kitchen. The majority of park programming and some back-of-house spaces are located on the first floor; careful consideration was given to expose as much of the existing mill ruins in these areas as possible, including the foundation walls of the Columbia Flour Mill in the lobby, the historic walls and ceilings of Bassett Boiler Room in the lounge, and historic walls and barrel-vault ceilings of Bassett Engine House in the meeting room. The second floor is entirely new construction, which contains an upper lobby for circulating between South 1st Street and the West River Parkway and a restaurant comprised of a small dining area and the kitchen.

The applicant has indicated that they are treating the Bassett Engine House, Bassett Boiler Room, and Columbia Flour Mill ruin as found objects in a fundamental way - doing as little as possible to obscure the historic mills, while leaving traces of the Fuji Ya construction in certain places to illustrate the evolving uses of the structure. The existing ruins are an amalgam of many different constructions, both within the period of historic significance and outside of it, and they are preserving and exposing all of these moments within the project whenever possible.

The only modifications to the historic mills consist of four widened and/or new openings between the mills existing rooms to connect existing spaces for circulation and code-compliant egress. Everything else will remain as is.

The Bassett Engine House, Bassett Boiler Room, and Columbia Flour Mill contain a mixture of different materials in significant variation as they are currently found; there are at least three different bricks, two different hues of limestone, rusted steel, several different colors of stucco, and scars created by years of appendages, connections, and alterations. To create a clear delineation between the historic architecture and the new, and to keep the new architecture simple in its expression, the team has chosen an extremely pared-down palette of a neutral monochromatic brick and glass on the exterior, and glass, wood, brick and concrete on the interior. The neutrality of the exterior brick is to provide clarity between old and new, and not muddle distinctions between what is historic and what is contemporary through the introduction of extraneous materials. It also relates to the new
upper terrace through use of a neutral color palette and horizontal emphasis (brick coursing and exposed horizontal concrete formwork).


The Water Works landscape plan serves to reconnect South 1st Street with the riverfront, much in the same way the historic mills and infrastructure once did, through accessible pedestrian and bicycle circulation improvements. It also provides much-needed outdoor park amenities such as seating, terraces, a lawn, performance area, and play zones within the context of the historic mills and infrastructure.

Landscape Highlights:

- South Transition Space: At the south end of the Water Works site where 5th Avenue South and South 1st Street intersect, the south transition space provides a strong ADA compliant pedestrian route between downtown and the lower West River Parkway, a difference of more than 15 feet.

- Upper Terrace: On the north side of the pavilion, the exterior Columbia Flour Mill ruins are no longer part of the pavilion construction and will remain filled. This area of the mill will become an Upper Terrace accessible from the South 1st Street public sidewalk. It will function as outdoor dining and private event space.

- Main Plaza: A Main Plaza in front of the pavilion at West River Parkway level provides flexible outdoor seating for public use as well as overflow for the pavilion restaurant. The main plaza design has moderate changes which include more green space and surface paving of modular pavers in lieu of concrete.

- Columbia Elevator: This historic milling remnant originally was part of the pavilion but has since been integrated into the site design. A portion of it will be excavated to house a remote trash storage area accessible from the Main Plaza. Along its north wall, an exterior stairway will link South 1st Street to the Main Plaza.

- City Steps: North of the Columbia Elevator, the City Steps nestle into the Occidental Feed Mill footprint and provide additional flexible seating for gathering, picnicking, and performances.

- Mezzanine Lawn: In front of the City Steps and wooded slope, the Mezzanine Lawn allows for flexible park uses. Performances may happen at the edge of the Main Plaza or on the lawn in front of the City Steps.
Wooded Slope and Play Area: Further north of the City Steps, an existing steep Wooded Slope predating the district s period of significance will be largely restored. A two- to five-year childrens play area is embedded into the lower portion of the hill.

- South 1st Street: South 1st Street bounds the western, downtown edge of the Water Works site. It also includes a short metal bridge with cantilevered sidewalk on the west side of the street. The bridge dates to the period of significance spans over the Woonerf.

- Woonerf and Rail Terrace: At the far northern end of the site, the South 1st Street and Third Avenue Bridge intersection is about 33 feet higher than West River Parkway. The Woonerf (shared travel way) connection is a former railroad bed that links South 2nd Street (a block away) with the park under a small metal bridge on South 1st Street.


Block 1: Ryan Companies Downtown East Project

UPDATE: The City Planning Commission approved this project on a unanimous vote on Monday, March 11.

Ryan Companies is proposing a 25 story, 342 unit apartment building as part of the Vikings stadium driven redevelopment of a major portion of the Downtown East neighborhood. The project goes before the Planning Commission today, meeting starts at 4:40 pm. From the staff report (download complete report below):

SITE DESCRIPTION AND PRESENT USE. The site is located on South 4th Street between Park Avenue and Chicago Avenue. The site is currently vacant.

SURROUNDING PROPERTIES AND NEIGHBORHOOD. The site is surrounded by office and commercial buildings, residential developments of varying densities, The Commons, US Bank Stadium and structured and surface parking lots. The site is located in the Downtown East neighborhood

PROJECT DESCRIPTION. Ryan Companies has redeveloped the majority of five blocks on the east side of Downtown Minneapolis over the course of the last six years in four phases. Three of the blocks are bounded by South 3rd Street, 5th Avenue South, South 4th Street and Chicago Avenue South and the two additional blocks are bounded by South 4th Street, 5th Avenue South, South 5th Street and Park Avenue. The entire development has been reviewed as a multi-phased Planned Unit Development (PUD).

PHASE V - Current proposal: The fifth phase of the PUD will be a 342-unit residential building located on the southern half of the block bounded by South 3rd Street, Park Avenue, South 4th Street and Chicago Avenue. The building will be approximately 320,000 square feet in size and 25 stories tall. There will be ground floor lobby and residential amenity space and rooftop amenity space provided in the building. Some of the ground floor amenity space could also be used as commercial tenant space depending on the market. There will also be a ground floor parking and loading area. Access to this space will be from South 4th Street. There will be 120 parking spaces in the building. Access to the parking will be from South 4th Street, Park Avenue and the adjacent parking garage. The building will connect to the city’s skyway system. 

Download staff report, images (49MB)...



This is the one you’ve been waiting for at Humboldt Lofts. Award winning Julie Snow architecture blended with simple sophistication, this one bedroom corner floorplan is perfectly perched above the Mississippi River with the world famous Guthrie Theater as your neighbor Industrial chic, gritty and sophisticated, perfect for those who desire privacy within the most historic niche of the city. Twelve foot window walls capture uninterrupted views of the Mississippi River, and historic Gold Medal Flour elevators and Mill City Museum outdoor amphitheater. Two parking stalls and two adjacent private storage units included. Extra bonus includes Mill City Farmers Market and Spoonriver restaurant right downstairs. Easy to show. Open House on Sun. 3/24.

1 bed | 2 bath | 2 parking | 1,296 sf | $650,000

Visit this listing online for more details...


Upper Harbor Terminal Plan Approved

The Minneapolis City council approved the concept design & plan for what may be the largest remaining parcel of developable land in Minneapolis.

The 48-acre Upper Harbor Termianl (UHT) site is located along the Mississippi River in north Minneapolis and includes almost a mile of riverfront, generally between 33rd Ave. N. and about 40th Ave. N in the McKinley neighborhood. The site has many positive attributes, including its size, riverfront location and excellent freeway access. However, it also presents many challenges that have complicated the planning process. These include the electrical transmission lines that extend over the site, the rail corridor and Interstate 94 that divide the site from the nearby community, the lack of existing public infrastructure and utilities to serve development, and the presence of existing structures that are potentially eligible for historic designation. The site also is largely surrounded by industrial uses, which makes it more challenging to assess its marketability for potential non-industrial uses.

For the types of private redevelopment, the Concept Plan proposes the following components that would occur in Phase 1 of implementation:

  • An outdoor music performance venue just south of Dowling Ave along the river;
  • A hospitality mixed-use building just north of Dowling Ave along the river;
  • A residential mixed-use complex on the southeast corner of Dowling and Washington Avenues with both market-rate and affordable units;
  • An office mixed-use building on the southwest corner of Dowling and Washington Avenues;
  • An innovative mixed-use building dubbed “The Hub” along the river at about 36th Ave N; and
  • Parking to support the development.

Watch detailed presentation and discussion at City Council meeting:

Download the concept design & plan presentation (4MB):

More media coverage:

Minneapolis City Council approves concept plan for riverfront project
The redevelopment would be one of the city's biggest projects in recent years.

Mpls. council backs concept for riverfront development
The Upper Harbor Terminal plan concerns 48 acres of riverfront. It envisions entertainment facilities and affordable housing, and it would restore river access to nearby neighborhoods.

With Minneapolis' first amphitheater, city walks fine line between national and community attraction
Minneapolis riverfront plan has raised concerns for North Siders about their role in redevelopment.

Despite opposition, Minneapolis approves Upper Harbor Terminal amphitheater concept
Residents of North Minneapolis say their views have been ignored during the process.

Everything You Need to Know About Minneapolis' Upper Harbor Terminal Project—And What Happens Next
The massive plan to turn 48 acres of riverfront land into housing, businesses and an outdoor performance venue was approved Friday. Here's a look at the costs and the challenges ahead.


Downtown Riverfront Living: Lourdes Square

Full river & skyline views at Lourdes Square! Perched above the Mighty Mississippi, this classic townhome is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts & anyone with a green thumb! Private entry, screened porch, terrace, balcony & secret garden make this truly unique & perfect for gardening & entertaining al fresco. Fresh paint, open floorplan & main floor master suite. Attached garage, newly remodeled kitchen, baths & storage. Finished lower level features guest suite with private terrace & family room.

3 bed | 3 bath | 2 parking | 3,862 sf | $1,899,000

Visit this listing online for more details...


Opinion: Act to Protect the “Power of the Falls”

By Cordelia Pierson

Growing with Integrity to Protect Our Historic Mississippi Riverfront

Our elected officials will soon decide how our Mississippi riverfront community will grow, as they review a proposal to redevelop the General Mills Riverside Technical Center, just one block from the Mississippi River.  Despite a 15-17 story height maximum, Doran/CSM is proposing a 32-story tower for the 311 2nd Street SE project, transforming two full city blocks between Second Street and University Avenue.  The site is next to the Pillsbury A Mill complex, a National Historic Landmark, in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District’s Water Power Character Area, where the historic mill buildings define the district on both banks of the Mississippi River.  The 32-story tower would dwarf the historic industrial buildings surrounding the Pillsbury A Mill, now prominent features in the protected “key viewshed” from the Mill City Museum and Stone Arch Bridge.

Now is a great time to ask our elected officials to vote to protect the “Power of the Falls” by supporting growth that honors this riverfront area’s integrity.

What is the “Power of the Falls?”

What places do you choose when you are welcoming visitors from other countries or cities here?

The Stone Arch Bridge? Mill City Museum and the Guthrie Theater? Perhaps Gold Medal Park?

All of these places are along the Great River Road, in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District.  The Great River Road is an 80-year old National Scenic Byway, connecting communities from the Headwaters at Lake Itasca to Forest History Center in Grand Rapids, from Oliver Kelley Farm to Fort Snelling, from Oheyawahi (Pilot Knob) to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.  Along the Great River Road, people can experience beautiful views and nature; learn about American Indian culture today; discover stories about how farming, sawmilling and grain milling here changed our state and nation; and enjoy biking, paddling and walking.  I serve as regional commissioner on the Mississippi River Parkway Commission, which protects and enhances the Mississippi valley and the Great River Road.

Here in Minneapolis, by the Mississippi River’s only falls, our riverfront boasts an incredible blend of all those values – scenic, natural, spiritual, cultural, historic, recreational.  We are lucky to have two National Historic Landmarks – the sister mills facing each other, one now the Mill City Museum, and the other affordable artist housing at Pillsbury A Mill.  We can easily see these mills and grain elevators that define the area’s “Water Power Character” area, at the heart of this national and state-designated St. Anthony Falls Historic District.  This protected, historic character makes this area unique, and private and public investment – well over $2 billion - has followed. 

While we have a National Scenic Byway Great River Road that is hundreds of miles long, we have only one national park on the entire length of the Mississippi River.  Our Mississippi River in the metro region earned its National Park status – the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area - because of this concentration of amazing, diverse assets at the falls.  Standing on the Hennepin Bridge and looking downstream at night, you can see “Gold Medal Flour” towering over the West bank, and “Pillsbury” atop the Red Tile Elevator on the East bank.  These mill complexes define this Water Power Character area, tying us to our sister communities in Greater Minnesota, where grain elevators dominate the landscape of rural towns. 

So why the “Power of the Falls?” That phrase captures more than the hydropower we draw from the Mississippi here.  It is the title of the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board’s interpretive plan for the area because the “Power of the Falls” also captures the area’s spiritual, cultural, historic and natural significance and inspires new plans for the area’s future. “The enduring sense of place that drew people here many hundreds of years ago is prompting new generations to embrace the riverfront and care about its future.”  According to the plan,

  • Spiritually significant place for indigenous people: This relationship with the river is felt by many and is inspiring a new understanding of the river among others. St. Anthony Falls continues to be a place of homecoming for Dakota people.
  • Historically significant: The Mississippi River’s steepest drop attracted waterpower for industries that helped build a city, shape the region’s economy, and change how we eat.
  • Uniquely scenic: This is an urban landscape shaped by human and natural forces. The dramatic tension between these two forces resulted in a setting that is unlike any other in the region.

This is indeed a place of power – unique, and worth protecting, investing our lives in, and sharing with our visitors from afar.  Did that power draw you, too?

What does “Growing with Integrity” mean?

The City of Minneapolis adopted St. Anthony Falls Historic District Guidelines to protect the integrity of this area and the “Power of the Falls.” These rules apply to all private and public development here – parks, like Father Hennepin Bluffs Park, now in planning for $1M in 2019; public facilities, like WaterWorks and the Lock and Dam visitor center, now proposed; and private development, like the General Mills Riverside Technical Center redevelopment.  The City has also adopted a Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area plan, which applies to the entire historic district as well. 

Our elected officials are charged with applying these rules to all developments, private and public.  Everyone considering whether to invest here knows about both the historic and river protections. 

A key test for whether to grant permission to build here is whether the project “will ensure the historic district’s continued integrity” as well as being “compatible with the historic designation” and “consistent with the spirit and intent of preservation policies and laws.” 

“Growing with Integrity” means two things:  following the rules that apply to us all, and ensuring the historic district’s continued integrity. 

The proposal Doran/CSM submitted in December 2018 does not meet that standard. 

  • Height: The rules clearly require a maximum height of the Red Tile Elevators, which is 15 – 17 stories, and a 32-story tower does not meet the requirement of being “compatible with the character area.”
  • Visual impact: The rules list specific “key view opportunities” to gauge visual impact, particularly from public ways, and require new structures to be low to maintain views, such as from Mill City Museum and West River Road, our Great River Road.  Whether the project reduces the prominence and scale of the historic resources is the key test.  The 32-story tower would loom over the Pillsbury A Mill complex, and indisputably impact these historic resources.

Other towers have been approved in the historic district, close to the activity center along University and Central Avenues.  To use them as an excuse for allowing excessive height closer to the National Historic Landmark Pillsbury A Mill and deeper into the historic district and residential neighborhood is simply to abandon the design guidelines that aim for building compatibility in height, mass and scale. Previous loss of integrity underscores the importance of adhering to the guidelines and maintaining the integrity that remains in the district. 

Act to Protect the “Power of the Falls:” Urge Our Elected Officials to Support Growing with Integrity

You were drawn to the “Power of the Falls.”  You can act to protect it.

Members of the Heritage Preservation Commission on January 22 said they would deny permission for the 32-story proposed, and the developer agreed to return on February 19 with a revised proposal.  The City of Minneapolis now has until April 12 to approve or deny the developer’s project, a planned unit development.

Contact our elected officials – Council Member Steve Fletcher; Zoning and Planning Committee Chair Jeremy Schroeder; Council President Lisa Bender; Mayor Jacob Frey.

Encourage them to deny approvals for this 32-story project.  Encourage them to ask the developer to submit a revised proposal that preserves the integrity of the St. Anthony Falls Historic District by meeting historic district guidelines, including honoring the Red Tile Elevator maximum height (15-17 stories) and meeting visual impact requirements. 

Learn more at Power of the Falls – East Bank Development Task Force of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association.

Join me in acting to protect the “Power of the Falls” and welcome growth with integrity.  And the next time you tour the area with a visitor, you can be proud that you have helped protect the future of our Mississippi riverfront, leaving an inspiring legacy for generations to come.

Cordelia Pierson, Mississippi River Parkway Commissioner, Metro Region

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cordelia Pierson, 1st elected to the Mississippi River Parkway Commission in 2011, serves as Vice Chair. Contact Cordelia at


2019 Event Planner: Downtown Minneapolis & Riverfront Neighborhoods

Updated on Monday, February 4, 2019 at 8:55AM by Registered CommenterDavid Tinjum

Our first annual event planner for Downtown Minneapolis & Riverfront Neighborhoods is a list of 20 top events for 2019. We'll be adding to the list during the year as event dates & details become available. Did we miss your favorite event? Let us know, click here to submit event info...



Mill City Farmers Market is Minneapolis’ trusted source for healthy, local and organic groceries, bringing a wide assortment of fresh food, cooking education and live entertainment to one beautiful space.




View artwork of nearly 800 artists in every medium at more than 60 locations throughout Northeast Minneapolis, including studio buildings, art galleries, homes, storefronts, and local businesses. The artists’ open studio tours may include demonstrations, mini workshops, installations, and special exhibitions. Studio tours offer a great opportunity to ask questions, discuss techniques, experience art first-hand, and purchase unique artwork directly from the artists.





Northern Spark is known as an all-night arts festival that lights up the Twin Cities. In early June, tens of thousands of people gather throughout the city to explore giant video projections, play in temporary installations in the streets, and enjoy experimental performances in green spaces. From dusk to dawn the city surprises you: friendly crowds, glowing groups of cyclists, an unexpected path through the urban landscape, the magic of sunrise after a night of amazing art and experiences. Experience the artful magic of Northern Spark for two nights until 2 am!




A huge celebration of art and music on the Mpls Riverfront! Join 200+ artists, live music on 3 stages, family fun, food trucks, beer/wine gardens and the Art of the Car display.



Click to read more ...


Downtown Living: Stonebridge Lofts - 1120 S 2nd St #908

It’s all about the VIEW. Full unobstructed views of Gold Medal Park and the Mississippi River from this Stonebridge gem. Corner location and prime orientation allow for sunrise and sunset views from all windows.Two private balconies and open floor plan featuring 2 bedrooms and den, hardwood floors, and many thoughtful details. Bright and cheery with fresh paint throughout. Lovely amenities and new art exhibit in the lobby make this property a very special place to call home. Walking distance to the Light Rail, Trader Joe’s, Farmers Market, U of M, and US Bank Stadium.

2 bed | 2 bath | 2 parking | 1,640 sf

Visit this listing online for more details...


Great River Coalition Weighs in on 2040 Plan

Dear Minneapolis City Council Members, and Mayor Frey:

The Great River Coalition (GRC) is a member-supported 501 c3 nonprofit organization. Our mission is to advocate for preserving, protecting and promoting the historic, commercial and environmental vitality of the Mississippi River, the Metropolitan area and its relationship to the people and our communities. GRC appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Minneapolis 2040 Plan draft.

Dear Minneapolis City Council Members, and Mayor Frey:The Great River Coalition (GRC) is a member-supported 501 c3 nonprofitorganization. Our mission is to advocate for preserving, protecting and promotingthe historic, commercial and environmental vitality of the Mississippi River, theMetropolitan area and its relationship to the people and our communities. GRCappreciates the opportunity to comment on the Minneapolis 2040 Plan draft.

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Downtown Living: Phoenix on the River

Phoenix on the River prime floor plan! Corner location flooded with morning light & panoramic views. Floor plan features 2 bedrooms and den, 2 bathrooms, open layout, private balcony, loads of custom storage & walls of glass. Perfect eye-level view of the recently renovated Pillsbury Flour sign & illuminated water tank atop the Pillsbury A-Mill. Walking distance to U of M campus, groceries, movies, great restaurants & bars, nature & best of riverfront festivals.

2 bed | 2 bath |2 parking | 2,100 sf | $1,150,000

Listing by Cynthia Froid Group

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Book Launch: "Double Exposure - Images of Black Minnesota in the 1940s

Minneapolis Central Library

Saturday, October 6th, 2-3pm

Doty Board Room, 2nd floor


After serving in World War II, John Glanton returned home to Minnesota and used his camera to capture the sights and scenes of everyday life for African Americans in Minneapolis, highlighting black-owned businesses, the music and club scene, weddings and other family occasions. Glanton's photos in Double Exposure: Images of Black Minnesota in the 1940s offer a rare look into the lives and lifestyles of families and individuals often left out of histories of Minnesota's past. Books will be available for purchase.

Music by the George Scott Trio.

Light refreshments will be provided.

This program is being co-sponsored by the Minnesota Black Community Project.

Register online


Opinion: Finger Pointing will ensue if "14 Boss" Plan for Police Passes

Submitted by Joe Tamburino

Dear Editor:

The Minneapolis City Council is about to decide whether to allow the city’s charter to be amended by ballot question in November to give the council shared power with the mayor over the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).  Mayor Frey and Chief Arradondo strongly oppose this amendment and argue that the enforcement of laws must remain the prerogative of the mayor’s office - they are absolutely right.

The city’s charter, which has remained intact since 1920, is the foundational law of the city.  It directs the mayor (executive authority) to be responsible for the police and the council (legislative authority) to institute policy and legislation. The proposed charter amendment would drastically change these sound and well-established governing rules and permit the 13-member council to govern the MPD.  This would be a disaster.

One can imagine the finger pointing that would occur if the council obtained even partial control over the MPD.  For example, if something goes wrong and someone, a police officer or citizen, is harmed or injured, any council member can blame other council members, who can then blame the mayor, who can in turn blame the 13-member council.  No one is ultimately accountable. 

Interestingly, this imprudent proposed amendment, in its current form and wording, hangs by a thread.  Its passage appears to depend on one person - Council Member (CM) Steve Fletcher of the Third Ward, our council member for downtown.  Thankfully, CM Fletcher has publicly stated his position and opinion that all executive authority over the MPD must remain with the mayor. We should expect him to keep his word. 

It is concerning, however, that CM Fletcher has also supported language in the current proposal that gives the council the “authority to adopt policies, rules and regulations of the police department subject to the approval of the mayor as defined in section 4.4(c).”  Section 4.4(c) allows the council to override a mayor’s veto on any proposed law by a two-thirds vote. In other words, the council would still ultimately control all of the rules, policies, and regulations of the MPD. 

I have been practicing law for 29 years, have litigated thousands of matters in court, and have argued many cases in the appellate courts.  I can unequivocally state that CM Fletcher’s position that the mayor should have all executive power while the council would have all regulatory power over the MPD is what’s called a legal incongruity. It’s literally contradictory.

By definition, executive authority makes and enforces rules over a government agency.  The mayor cannot have executive authority over the MPD if the council dictates the MPD’s rules and regulations.  The council’s authority is, and should remain, limited to making ordinances for the city.  The rules and regulations by which the MPD operates must rest with the mayor if the mayor is to retain executive authority. 

CM Fletcher has already stated his position that the mayor must retain executive powers over the MPD.  We should hold him to his word and urge him to vote against this proposal without any further amendments or changes.

Joe Tamburino
Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, Chair.
Neighborhood Alliance, Chair.
Hennepin Ave. Stakeholders Committee, member.
Hennepin Ave. Safety Committee, member.

Opinion: Mayor should retain executive authority, City Council should assume policy making authority, says Council Member Steve Fletcher

By Ward 3 Council Member Steve Fletcher

In the wake of the death of Thurman Blevins, Council Member Cam Gordon has proposed a charter amendment on the Mayor and Council’s authority over the Minneapolis Police Department. Before we have even seen proposed language, the debate about it has become highly politicized, and I think that is a shame.

Charter amendments should never be about the current Council and Mayor. These are choices that will impact governance ten mayors from now, and who knows if you’ll feel the same way about that Mayor or your Council Member, or not? Who knows what the political dynamic of the day will be?

Opponents of the amendment claim that shifting authority over MPD to the Council would cause complete chaos, and that the responsible thing is to maintain the status quo. Complete chaos sounds really bad. The status quo is really bad. I would not vote to put a choice between chaos and the status quo on the ballot, if that were actually the choice. I don’t think it is.

What if, instead, we focused on responding to the clear community demand for increased public oversight and transparency for the Police Department? What if the question we asked was: “How do we maximize Minneapolis residents’ access and voice in decisions about MPD?” I like that question a lot better.

The Mayor and the Council serve different functions, and giving either one “complete control” over the Police Department, as our charter currently gives the Mayor, misses the opportunity to take advantage of each office’s strengths. The City Council is, by design, a deliberative legislative body. We do our business in public, hold public hearings, hold our meetings at set times, televise our proceedings, and publish public agendas in advance. The cost of our transparent, predictable processes is speed. Nothing moves very quickly through the Minneapolis City Council. The Mayor, by contrast, is an executive, and much less encumbered by process. The Mayor can be decisive, and can fulfill their duties largely behind closed doors.

I am inclined to believe that shifting legislative authority to the City Council would increase transparency and public access to decision-making. Right now, policy decisions can happen between the Mayor and the Police Chief in a back room. The Council can hold public discussion on police-related issues, but the Chief has no formal obligation to attend our discussions in person or to enact policies recommended by the City Council.

Many of the people who have contacted me about this issue have incorrectly asserted that the Council already has legislative authority over the Police Department. The current charter clearly states that we do not. We can make recommendations, and use the budget for leverage, but cannot enact policy. Most of the constituents who call my office about police policy are asking me to change it - not asking me to politely ask the Mayor to change it. Shifting policy-making authority to the Council would bring public safety discussions out of the back room and into the daylight, and align the charter better with what, in my experience, many residents already assume it says.

I am also inclined to believe that the Mayor should retain executive authority -- that the chain of command should end with the Mayor. The Police Department is different from other departments. High-stakes decisions regularly have to be made very quickly, and the consequences of inaction are sometimes very high. Situations where lives are at risk, or that have huge, immediate public consequences can’t wait for a committee cycle. Having the Mayor in a strong executive role overseeing the police ensures that an elected civilian is involved in police oversight.

I have heard many people repeat the line that the Police Department should report to one boss rather than thirteen. I understand why people are concerned about that, but I think it misdiagnoses the problem. In urgent situations, instead of thirteen bosses, the Chief would, in practice, report to no boss at all. The Council would not be able to respond under our rules in a timely way to urgent situations, and quick tactical decisions would end up being made by the Chief alone. Taking the Mayor out of the executive oversight role would decrease police oversight by elected civilians.

My instinct is to seek to improve public oversight and transparency by working with my colleagues to craft language that preserves the Mayor’s executive power, while shifting legislative power to the Council. I think we owe it to our constituents to present a better choice than either chaos or the status quo, and I’ll vote in favor of the introduction on Friday to see if we can get that done. I think we can, though I am much less convinced that we can or should do it on the aggressive timeline necessary to put it on this year’s ballot.

Changing the charter is a big deal. I think it makes sense to give voters the choice to increase their access to our democracy by affirming the Mayor’s executive role and moving Police Department policy into the daylight of Council chambers.

Minneapolis Council Member Steve Fletcher


Editorial: Mayor Frey Correct in Opposing Police Oversight Proposal

Mayor makes the right call opposing the "14 Boss" plan

A proposal is working its way through the Minneapolis City Council that would have the Chief of Police report to 14 individuals - all 13 council members and the mayor. Presently, the charter provides the mayor with authority to “make all rules and regulations and … general and special orders necessary to operating the police department.” This proposal is ill conceived at best. To put it simply, no law enforcement entity can function with 14 bosses.

The stated reason for the change is improved accountability, but it's impact would be exactly the opposite. Right now Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Arradondo are the responsible individuals for the police department. It's clear to the voters, it's clear who to credit when things go well and who to blame when they don't. The proposal, however, would dilute responsibility by spreading it across 13 council offices.

Day to day policing decisions would also suffer because the Chief would not have clarity of reporting. Does the Chief report to a different boss depending on the ward? Are we creating a situation in which policing decisions in the 3rd Ward half of downtown are entirely different from those made in the 7th Ward half? These questions have remained unanswered.

The present structure of reporting also allows for the Mayor to make quick, decisive decisions in minutes if necessary. The council process (which is legislative in nature) would take over a month for the same outcome. There is a reason why no other large city in the country uses this structure - it simply doesn't work practically.

Mayor Jacob Frey has mounted an opposition to the proposal, and the Star Tribune reports that the council vote breakdown is relatively close, with 3rd Ward Council Member Steve Fletcher being the swing vote. Let's hope this City Council acts responsibly and recognizes this proposal for the bad idea that it is.


MILL CITY TIMES/COUNCIL MEMBER STEVE FLETCHER: Mayor should retain executive authority, City Council should assume policy making authority

STRIB: Mayor Frey speaks out about council bid for more power over police

STRIB: Minneapolis City Council bid for more oversight of police is wrongheaded

STRIB: Reject proposal to spread oversight of Minneapolis Police Department to City Council

SOUTHWEST JOURNAL: Seeking more oversight of police, council members eye charter amendment

FOX 9: Mayor Frey, Chief Arradondo speak out against proposed shared authority over police