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Wedge LIVE! @WedgeLIVE
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TONIGHT: watch me become the first person to successfully complete 3 neighborhood association meetings in 3 consecutive days.
Nothing quite this impressive has been attempted since Georgi Dobrovolski, Viktor Patsayev, Vladislav Volkov became the first men to successfully die in space back in 1971.
Meeting is at 6:30. Textile Center, 3000 University Ave SE.
Line almost as long as the one to ride the witch's hat tower. But today we ride the concern!
You know what other building blocks the witch's hat tower? The deceptively short building this meeting is in.
"It's like a sport round here, attending meetings."
-@BuchbergerJm (I suspect reassuring a scared child that this is all completely normal)
Atmosphere is electric. Someone next to me: "this is gonna be wild tonight I think."
Still a line of people streaming in.
Still a crazy line out the door, as meeting begins.
Everyone gets a chance to talk, says president. "But if we all talk we'll be here all night." So "keep it concise."
Rep from Chicago-based Vermilion says this is beginning of "Concerted effort to invest in the Twin Cities." This will be their first project here.
Previous proposal for the site from different developer had a few curb cuts. Those have been eliminated. Task force from neighborhood association wanted them to "break up heights."
Developer touts 13k sq ft of new retail, 20k sq ft of preserved commercial space, preserving Art and Architecture building. "It was a major sacrifice" financially to get it into the project. Green space open to the public. A number of green roofs.
Developer: It was important to help existing residents "transfer to horizontal living." I think he means allow older people to sell their giant empty house and move into a condo.
Guy in the crowd: "you're taking a lot of time up, like, trying to sell us a condo..." Then he suggests we have the developer present at the end... Lol
Some eagerness to skip the details and get directly to the concern.
I hate details too. I want to hear 6 people ask the same question about dumpsters and snow removal.
Skinny buildings to let sunlight through. Pocket parks. Green space. "Friendly and inviting."
Where there had previously been parking, developer brags they are trying to be "good neighbors," have modified the plan to include walkup apartments.
Art and Architecture building is in orange. Apartments are built over and around the existing building.
Guy keeps calling it "a collection of buildings" broken up. Not a "monolith."
Developer takking about extensive back and forth with the neighborhood organization. Guy in crowd asks, "so did the neighborhood organization ask you to make it taller?"

Developer says he'll let the org speak to that.
How will it affect "view sheds" from the highway?
This is what it will look like from a "whirly bird" says developer. Not a view that's possible to achieve from a conventional vehicle.
This is what it will look like if you have x-ray vision. Very thorough.
Lady thinks this presentation is misleading. This doesn't sound anything like what she's heard on the neighborhood email list.
How will this new affect your tennis game? There's a slide for that too.
some confusion in the room about these renderings. Developer clarifying that things far away look smaller than things close up.
Guy asks, "Why does that big building look so small?"

Developer: "It's thousands of feet away." Lol
Presentation done. Concerns begin for real now.
Guy wants to remove a third of the tower. Too tall.
Another guy concerned about obscuring the witch's hat tower. He's used to seeing it on his way home on "280" (which I guess is a roadway of some kind."
"They're all gonna have cars and park them in front of my house."
Traffic concerns. Followed by @evanrobertsnz stepping in to tell people traffic counts have dropped significantly in the last 15 years. Reminds me of the kind of stunt @nickmagrino would pull.
Lady concerned about people using the spaces around the building to "urinate."
Concern that "unsavory items" will be left around the building.
Obligatory garbage concerns.
Did you know renters produce a lot of trash?
Lady says "you got off the rails when you got to the height of the tower."

Lotta claps.
"I ask you to significantly reduce the height of that tower."
Analysis: I don't know the answer to this question, but to what extent does shrinking this building and eliminating units mean you can't preserve the art and architecture building?
We got a comedian: "one of you used the word faulty a while ago, so is the name of the project gonna be faulty towers?"
Series of supportive comments... Some clapping. Supportive comments are boring.
Local mom @SerafinaScheel, says this is about the future and sustainability for future generations. "It's important to grow up, rather than grow out." Says neighborhood has a grocery store now because they've added more people.
"parking will be a bitch quite frankly"

"I'm tired of seeing architecture that doesn't blend in. It's just boxes."
Got not happy with building blocking everyone's view, he says. ends comment with, "Jesus, fucking idiots"
I think if you put my picture on the projector right now, people would rip this building apart brick by brick.
People now using the phrase "breaking the seal." 17 story building now means more 17 story buildings later.
Older dad likes all the neighborhood destinations. Heartwarming tale so far. I'm holding my breath. Don't know where he'll come down.

"All those activities are gone, they've been forced out by redevelopment."

"We will no longer be able to walk to a daycare, a summer camp."
"we're gonna look like Central Park" surrounded by big buildings. Livability is gone.
Developer rebuts: they're preserving commercial space and adding even more. Neighborhood will have more destinations.
If @evanrobertsnz doesn't cool it, people are gonna tell him to take his accent back to wherever it is he's from.
Guy says there's no 17 story buildings in the residential areas of Paris and other great cities.

2nd guy tells him he hasn't traveled very much.
Lady liked the previous plan. wants shorter buildings, spread the development out and distribute the traffic more evenly.
UPDATE: we're gonna be here all night.
Neighborhood association guy going into extended explanation of the comp plan... Lotta people gasping.
You know all these short building fans hate 4plexes.
People really want to see the tower. Lady says make it three stories.

Analysis: maybe we need a walking tour so people can see all the places in the neighborhood where you can't see the tower.
I don't get the aesthetic concerns. It's not "like every other building." Seems like an especially nice looking building. Maybe it's coming from people who are too classy to gripe about height.
Prospect Park is like Catholics and JFK. Lady says you go into people's houses and they have pictures of the tower framed.
Guy says it's highly unusual for developers to spend so long working with the neighborhood org before going to the city. He'd much rather have this project, than take a chance on "crapshoot" with another developer.
Lady demands to know where this supporter lives.
People are gonna move to Minneapolis, even without our consent, says @vischalla. Would be preferable if we add housing to accommodate it. Uses the word "Livability."

Lady asks: does he think this project is livable? He does.
Is this the plan that will go to the planning commission? Will they revise?

Developer, coy: "we're listening."
Guy says lack of rental housing has led to a lot of upscaling and increased rents in older rental housing.
But he does have qualms about height. Likes that it's adding housing near transit. He wins most nuanced comment of the night.
Hamburg and Rome don't have buildings taller than six floors, says guy who lived in Hamburg for a while. Minneapolis doesn't need any either. Says we can only guess at future population projections.
I have never been more optimistic about the future to hear so many people embrace the "six-stories everywhere" vision of the future.
Guy: "Massive gentrification is not gonna save the planet."

@pyry points out this is a neighborhood of very expensive homes.
Lady: How much student housing will this become? Clarifies, she owns a triplex that houses older students. "But it's a house."

Developer: "this is not a student housing building."

BUT (BIG BUT): "We can't put up a barricade and prevent them from coming into the building."
Student: "we're not that bad. Don't be too afraid of us." Encourages people to think of the youth that aren't in this room.
Wedge LIVE salutes the youth.
Guy sweet talking the developer: "Please make it smaller... We'll be here for you."
Guy says witch's hat tower will go the way of the Foshay tower downtown. wants to know where the Foshay tower is right now. My producer @pyry is in my ear, tells me "It's still there."
Lady says she's about to cry. She looks alright to me.
Guy says if towers are really a "good" thing then why not have a second tower on the other side of the building? I'm stumped.
Lady doesn't want balconies watching what she's doing in her backyard. She's from New York City. Lived in Boston. When she has "tea on her deck" she doesn't mind hearing the light rail. Not looking forward to the shade though.
Guy just closed on a home two weeks ago. Gets applause for calling for eliminating the apartment aspect. Wants condo owners, not renters. People who will invest in the community.

Analysis: you just got here!
Guy asks why so tall? Is this about money?

Developer talking about process of negotiation with neighborhood org task force that has "sculpted" and "carved out view corridors" and public spaces, while retaining the density level of the original, shorter boxy proposal.
Lady says research shows people who live way high up in the air are less invested in things happening way down low on the ground.
Another person wants to "make the whole thing condos."
Neighborhood org guy says"ok, we've gone around the room once...."

Can we do it again!?
Another neighborhood org guy says the goal of their process thus far was to avoid the aesthetic of the North Loop. Preference is for "an assemblage of buildings with slots" that allow sunlight through.
And we're done! Support my tired fingers by becoming a patron.
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