Six historic stone medallions on the front of the Star Tribune headquarters will be removed beginning today.
Developer Ryan Cos. began steps to remove the medallions at 425 Portland Av., a precursor to the 95-year-old building's demolition. The demo will make way for Ryan's $400 million mixed-use development slated for land in downtown Minneapolis once owned by the media company. The company has not publicly announced where it will move, but the relocation is expected next year.
The removal of the medallions complies with the Minneapolis City Council’s requirements tied to Ryan’s demolition permit of a "historic resource." City Council placed a condition on the permit that calls for the medallions to be removed and re-installed elsewhere, and a qualified historian be commissioned to prepare a photo and narrative history of the building.
Ryan said the medallion removal is the first step in preparing the building for demolition.
The medallions were added during an expansion in 1947, which doubled the size of the building. The six medallions added to facade, representing the major industries of Minnesota at the time. The facade was designed in the unique Streamline Moderne style by Minneapolis architects Larson & McLaren.
“We are excited to be moving ahead with the necessary steps to make way for a new urban park,” said Rick Collins, Ryan’s Vice President of Development, in a statement. “This park will serve as a centerpiece for the Downtown East neighborhood as well as an important catalyst for continued redevelopment of the area.”
It's unclear how long the removal process will take "due to lack of original detailed plans on the building’s construction and the care required to keep the medallions intact," the firm said. Once removed, Ryan will store the medallions while the city’s Department of Community Planning and Economic Development approves plans for their re-use. A determination on how the stone "Star and Tribune" stone lettering on the front of the building will be removed from the front façade will take place after Ryan official evaluate how the letters were attached to the building.
The historic narrative, including photos, will be developed by Preservation Design Works LLC, and should be completed by May 1, 2014. Once completed, the report will be made available to the public.
If you want to envision what a 150-room hotel/200-unit apartment tower will look like in the proposed Downtown East complex, use your imagination. No renderings for the Ryan Cos. project have been released yet, although they do exist.
They surfaced at the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association meeting Thursday evening during a briefing by top Ryan officials.
Ryan and Golden Valley-based Mortenson Development have both pitched ideas to the city for the top of a 1,610-stall parking ramp, which is part of the $400 million mixed-use development near the new Vikings stadium. The rest of the project includes two office towers for Wells Fargo, 200 apartments, restaurant and retail space, and a nearly two-block public park.
But the space above the parking ramp, which will be owned by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, is up for grabs in a separate deal. "Clearly it will be the exclamation point for the rest of the development," Ryan Vice President of Development Tony Barranco said.
Ryan has proposed the upscale Radisson Red hotel for the space, and more apartments. The firm is partnering with Magellan Development Group (which is building LPM Apartments in Loring Park) and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Radisson's parent company.
The Ryan renderings shown to the neighborhood group picture a glassy building with the 10-floor hotel on the bottom portion (with the ramp) and the apartments (with balconies) rounding out the 27-story tower. The project is expected to cost about $101 million, with construction beginning in May 2015, and completion slated for August 2017. A green roof is expected to be part of the building's amenities, as well as a "pocket park" along 4th Street S. Average rent for the units, mostly studios and one-bedrooms, is expected to be about $2.50 a square foot.
Mortenson, meanwhile, was not at the meeting because the firm was celebrating its 60th anniversary. But it is proposing, along with Summit Hotel Properties, a $63 million 300-room hotel, dual branded as an AC by Marriott and SpringHill Suites, by the same chain.
The neighborhood group did not vote on the Ryan proposal, the meeting was strictly informational. City Council members will choose between the two later this month.
The new Whole Foods-anchored apartment complex in downtown Minneapolis, called 222 Hennepin, has been awarded LEED-Silver designation by the U.S. Green Building Council for environmental sustainability.
The $45 million project, developed by Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos., was awarded the designation in the Midrise Residential category. The 580,000-square-foot project contains 286 upscale apartments as well as the grocery store.
“We are extremely proud to be part of a project where energy efficiency and sustainability were key design goals,” said Tony Barranco, Ryan’s Vice President of Development, in a statement. “To be a part of the team that achieved this prestigious designation is an honor and embodies Ryan’s commitment to sustainable leadership.”
Some of the complex's LEED design features include motion-operated lighting in common areas, dual flush toilets, door and window frames made with more than 25 percent post-consumer recycled content, and a smoke-free atmosphere. In addition, reusing the existing 300-stall parking structure from the old Jaguar car dealership saved in excess of 20 million pounds of concrete and over 1 million pounds of steel rebar.
The project also earned LEED points for its convenient location near bus routes and bike and foot trails.
Rising home prices have put a serious dent in the number of people who owe more than their house is worth in the Twin Cities and beyond. During the fourth quarter of last year 10.2 percent of all people with a mortgage were underwater, according to CoreLogic, a national real restate research firm. That's down from 16 percent last year, but up very slightly from the previous quarter.
Nationwide, nearly 6.5 million homes, or 13.3 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were still in negative equity territory at the end of last year.
Negative equity happens when house prices decline and/or when mortgage debt increases. Across the country,the national aggregate value of negative equity was $398.4 billion for fourth quarter 2013, compared to $401.3 billion for third quarter 2013, a decrease of $2.9 billion.
Here's Mark Fleming's, CoreLogic's chief economist, take on the situation: "The plight of the underwater borrower has improved dramatically since negative equity peaked in December 2009 when more than 12 million mortgaged homeowners were underwater," he said "Over the past four years, more than 5.5 million homeowners have regained equity, reducing their risk of foreclosure and unlocking pent-up supply in the housing market."
To commemorate National Grammar Day (it was March 4), Redfin teamed up with the grammar experts at Grammarly, an automated online proofreader, to see if grammar mattered to home buyers. Here's what they found:
Here's what Seattle Redfin agent Chad Dierickx had to say about the survey: “When buyers are browsing homes for sale, everything about the listing has an impact on their experience,” he said. “Photos grab your attention, but the listing description fills in the gaps by helping a buyer understand what photos can’t."
And Allison VanNest at Grammarly, : “A home listing filled with misspellings or grammar errors sends a signal to potential buyers that details are not important.”
Here's a link to the complete survey, but I'm interested in the funniest/worst real estate listing misspellings you've run across. Include them in the comments section of the blog.
It's time to recognize your favorite project, individual or organization that has celebrated Minneapolis' heritage and historic character.
Preserve Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the city's Heritage Preservation Commission are seeking submissions for award nominations. Projects will be judged "on their careful attention to the quality of design, architecture, workmanship, and materials, as well as their positive impact on surrounding neighborhoods and community."
The selection team will consist of two members from each group.
Nominations are due by 4 p.m. April 4, and can be delivered to: AIA Minnesota, Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Awards, 275 Market St., Suite 54, Minneapolis, MN, 55405.
Last year's winners include: the Washburn Crosby Elevator No. 1, Basilica of St. Mary's Sacristy and Narthex restoration; 430 Oak Grove Apartments, the Copham Apartments and ElseWarehouse Apartments, the Minneapolis Grain Exchange Trading Floor (CoCo Minneapolis), in the Historic Restoration, Rehabilitation, or Adaptive Reuse category; Cedar Square West (Riverside Plaza) for the Recent Past award; Museum in the Streets – Lake Street for the Community Education and Advocacy award; the Hollywood Theater and Peavey Plaza for the Good Luck and Good Fortune award; and the late Chester Rog won the Steve Murray Award.
The awards will be presented at the 24th Annual Minneapolis Preservation Awards luncheon at International Market Square on Thursday, May 15. The ceremony is open to the public.
More information here.