Staff Updates

Housing Development Project Updates

Two major housing development projects in the Longfellow Community are preparing to begin construction. Longfellow Station, a long-planned apartment and commercial development at the Purina Mill site is set to finally move forward with construction later this year or early next year. Sherman Associates, the developer of the project, is currently performing sound testing on the site in accordance with requirements of the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is providing some funding for the project. HUD is concerned that noise from the nearby freight rail tracks may be a substantial nuisance; sound testing is being performed to determine what level of noise is generated by the train activity. If noise is found to be substantial, the building design and materials may be adjusted as a mitigation measure.

Another housing project in the neighborhood at 46th Street & 46th Avenue is also set to begin construction soon. The project by Master Development and The Lander Group received the necessary approvals from the Planning Commission in August. The project is utilizing existing building foundations that are in place from a previous condo project on the site that stalled soon after construction started due to a decline in the housing market. The project will include a “Hourcar” shared vehicle, which will be available for use by both residents of the new building and the general public (see www.hourcar.org for more info on the shared vehicle program).

LCC & LBA Bike Rack Program

Summer of 2011 was the end of a successful program by LCC and the Longfellow Business Association (LBA) to encourage the installation of bike racks at neighborhood businesses. LCC and LBA jointly provided matching funds to businesses to install bike racks. Participating businesses include: The Fix Studio, Jakubas Dental, AV Solutions, Peace Coffee, Trylon Microcinema, XY&Z Gallery, Affordable Energy, Harriet Brewing, East Lake Liquors, and Turtle Bread. The next time you head to one of these neighborhood businesses, consider taking your bike!

East Lake Street Market Study Report

In October, Sam Newberg of Joe Urban, Inc., gave an initial report on a market study of East Lake Street. Sam presented initial research findings to the Longfellow Business Association. The market study seeks to assess the commercial real estate market on East Lake Street (between Hiawatha Ave. & the Mississippi River), identify causes of high vacancy, and explore strategies to revitalize the street and opportunities for new business. The market study is being funded through a Great Streets Businesses Development grant from the City of Minneapolis. The Grant is also funding a project to install local artwork by the League of Longfellow Artists (LOLA) in vacant storefronts on East Lake Street.

Some of the initial findings from the market study include the following:

  • “Big box” retail and grocery stores (Target, Cub, and Rainbow) occupy a quarter of all commercial space on East Lake Street.
  • There is approximately 933,000 square feet of commercial space in the corridor, of which approximately 15% is vacant
  • The highest commercial vacancy occurs between 28th Ave and 38th Ave; this section contains 249,000 square feet of commercial space, of which 27% is currently vacant.

When completed, the market study will also assess demographics in the corridor, compare conditions on East Lake Street to other similar corridors, analyze the role of tax increases and special assessments on commercial property costs, and provide a detailed analysis of vacant properties.

Longfellow Faith Forum

Longfellow area faith communities are gathering on Tuesday, November 8 from 12 – 1 PM at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Volunteers, staff, and leaders of faith communities are all welcome to come to this brown bag lunch for networking, brainstorming and collaboration. Please RSVP to Joanna@longfellow.org.