March 11 2013

The Broadway: Reclaiming and Re-Imagining Historic Warehouses through Creative Development in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Known as a predominantly industrial and blue-collar neighborhood, the Northeast Minneapolis District in Minneapolis, Minnesota has been experiencing a significant economic and physical transformation in the last few decades, and has become closely affiliated with sustainable living and its growing artist population. Historic warehouses and old factories have taken on a new purpose of artist quarters and local businesses, creating a powerful surge of successful revitalization in this traditionally working and immigrant class neighborhood.

The Broadway

The architectural detailing and façade of these historic buildings has attracted a number of creative developers who seek to reclaim the historical context and space through innovative designs and new uses. One of these new development projects, the Broadway, is doing just that. Located at the gateway to the NE Arts District, the 60,000 sq. ft. building (which once housed a paper warehouse) features the artistic and historic elements such as exposed brick and timber, large windows, hardwood floors, and impeccable views of the Minneapolis downtown skyline. The developer’s intent is to reclaim, reuse, and re-imagine while honoring the past by infusing a creative and inspiring environment.

Home of Sevnthsin, a digital creative agency

The building, which is still in the midst of construction, has acquired a number of local retail and office tenants such as 612 Brew, a craft brewery; Spyhouse Coffee, an artisan coffee shop and roaster; and Sevnthsin, a digital creative agency. In addition, the design elements of the building are being enhanced by the restoration of old hardwood floors, interior and exterior columns, 18 ft. high ceilings, a glass elevator, a central open wood staircase, and a sculptural amphitheater built using salvaged stones from the demolished Metropolitan Building.

Central Staircase

The developer’s intent of providing an imaginative environment through architecture, provoking thought and originality, has all the right objectives in mind. However, as with any new development, there are also certain implications. The tenants chosen by the developer will have to have the willingness to pay for the use of such an ingenious space. As a result, the said businesses may not always serve a wide population, especially in this primarily working and traditionally diverse neighborhood.

What are some thoughts in relation to urban planning and the overall impact of this type of redevelopment taking place in many historic and art districts across the country as the land becomes more appealing to new commercial, retail, and mixed-use development? Are there elements and/or initiatives that could be incorporated by developers in order to avoid any unforeseen long-term negative effects on the neighborhood?

Credits: Images by Jasna Hadzic. Data linked to sources.

Jasna Hadzic

Born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but having spent most of her adult life in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.; Jasna Hadzic has been greatly influenced by both cultures, most specifically in terms of architecture, planning, and design. The transition of living in a small European pedestrian-oriented city to a large and vehicle-oriented American city greatly influenced her interest in the field of planning. She came to appreciate the vibrant, culturally diverse and faster-pace of life, while also looking toward her native city as a paradigm of sustainable living with traditional architecture, multi-modal transportation systems, and pedestrian-friendly spaces and streets. A recent Master’s graduate in Community and Regional Planning and G.I.S from Iowa State University, Jasna’s Thesis focused on the analysis of the built environment and demographic factors that influence physical activity, while examining street connectivity and infrastructure. In addition, Jasna holds a B.E.D. in Environmental Design, with a minor in Urban Studies, from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Her most recent work experience as a Planning Research Assistant at the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, as well as volunteer work with the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has exposed her to new city projects, as well as community engagement. Her career goal is to not only work directly on sustainable urban design projects, but to also ensure equitable and sustainable planning practices.

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 11th, 2013 at 9:46 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Environment, History/Preservation, Urban Development/Real Estate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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