Client Doran Companies
Location Minneapolis, Minnesota
Scope Residential redevelopment in an abandoned and historic downtown Minneapolis neighborhood.

Mill & Main

Project Details

Westwood’s Role 

  • Planning
  • Civil Engineering Site Design
  • Landscape Architecture

Overview

Transforming a neighborhood from abandoned to residential takes vision, and changing the character of a community in the presence of those who live there takes consistent communication and skilled coordination with all concerned. Add to this the location in St. Anthony Falls Historic District along the Mississippi River front in the City of Minneapolis and you get a lot of vocal and moving parts.

Entitlements and Public Involvement

Entitlements involved multiple rungs of comments and coordination to get the project approved – historic preservation board, nearby residents concerned about aesthetics of redevelopment, overseeing demolition of existing buildings which extended to the property line, coordinating remediation, contamination cleanup, and coordinating with the City and adjacent property developer to assure that the projects meshed.

Consistent Communication

Key to this project was being part of a broader team than just our client. With the concurrent redevelopment of the remaining A-Mill block by others, consistent communication with the adjacent project team made coordinating the grades and utility lines successful. Stormwater solutions were challenging because of the grade and required working closely with the City to gain acceptance and ultimately approval.

Working within Multiple Site Constraints

Site constraints on this project were multiple, beginning with the location: historic uses of the site required environmental cleanup and remediation prior to construction; maintaining the existing historic buildings on the adjacent property provided tight constraints between the two projects; the steep terrain made providing multiple building entrances a challenge.

Incorporating Existing Features

The existing building on the adjacent property made scrutiny high. An existing silo extended over the property line and needed to be incorporated into the design. Maintaining the historic value of inactive railroad tracks was creatively achieved by incorporating the tracks into brick surfacing and repurposing the granite pavers into the landscaping.

The historical nature of the area made this project unique. Its high-profile status made this project important to several different groups of people in terms of what they envisioned. Expertise, skill, and communication helped Westwood’s team transform a neighborhood while maintaining the character and feel of the area.