It's been months since the public has seen any new design details for The Commons park in Downtown East Minneapolis, but elements are slowly trickling out through public documents.
Images of the cafe and pavilion – as well as rough sketches of the park support services structure – were presented to a Minneapolis Planning Commission committee Thursday evening. Developer Ryan Cos. and its architect, Minneapolis-based VJAA, are seeking variances and site plan approvals for the third phase that includes construction of the permanent structures for the 4.2-acre park.
The park support station includes maintenance storage, a park office and public restrooms. It will be positioned next to the Great Lawn on the block nearest the lightrail stop.
It's worth noting that the current plan includes four single-stall restrooms between the two structures.
The commissioners raised questions about pedestrian traffic across Portland and Park avenues. City staffers said the Minnesota Vikings intend to build a plaza between U.S. Bank Stadium's front door and the park. This plan would involve sloping the grade in order to remove the large height gap between the parking garage roof (under the lightrail station) and the street level on Park.
City staff also said the $7 million raised so far of the $22 million required to execute this design covers the underground utility and remediation work. Ryan Cos. is in the midst of demolishing the former Star Tribune building on the southeast end and is making visible progress on construction of the Edition apartment building that will sit on the park's northwest edge.
The lead landscape architect, San Francisco-based Hargreaves Associates, is expected to present final design images to the public sometime this fall.