July 2019 BLUH Meeting


We had a full and informative Building, Land Use, and Housing (BLUH) meeting in July!  

Find presentations on the Downtown Improvement District, the renovations to 600 9th Street, and the proposed North Central University Academic Commons building here.   Questions?  Call or email the EPNI office. 


Overview of Downtown Improvement District (DID) Function & Services

Jesse Osendorf, Director of Operations, gave an overview of the DID. Celebrated 10 year anniversary, introduced themselves as a special service district and nonprofit 501(c)6 entity. Charges individual property owners proportionate to the costs to deliver services. Mission is to create an attractive, competitive downtown where businesses, employees, residents and visitors can thrive. Accomplish through:

  • Ambassadors (patrol 120+ blocks of downtown/year, provide general hospitality, vigilance, and maintenance of areas)
  • Livability Teams (provides resources to the needy, connects them to social services, outreach groups, property owners, law enforcement using incident management system).
  • Safety Communications Center (operates 7 days a week, respond to ambassador street calls, weather/emergency notifications, RadioLINK connects 60+ building security and command centers, BarLINK enables communication between bars and night clubs)

Nicollet Activations: Pop-Up office at Gavildae Commons offers sidewalk games, public piano, seating, tents & heaters, Ambassador hosted info cart. Also involved in Farmers & Makers Market, Nicollet self-guided GO tours, StoryTime, upcoming Downtown Street Art Festival.

Maintenance: on Nicollet, provide winter/summer greening, trash/recycling services, streetscape elements, snow clearing & removal, holiday lighting.

Q&A: $6.7 mil budget, 5 year renewal due 2023, funding sourced mainly within the map boundaries, interest in additional trash receptacles from current southern border to the highway, a la carte style, summer jobs posted the U.


Maddy Wilson, Executive Assistant at Pulse, gave an introduction to Pulse Movement. Currently renovating 600 S 9th St. Building. 8000 sq. ft for 35 employees. Wide open floor plan, windows will remain unblocked, top area will be converted to mezzanine. Basement will be used for parking and as a creative studio down the road. Waiting for final details to be locked in before certificate of authenticity, due to open in September. Pulse partners with a large variety of churches as an evangelical outreach organization. Welcome to all denominations. Mission statement: “to awaken culture to the reality of Jesus.” Main function is to promote events, will offer discipleship programs down the line.


North Central University Academic Commons Project

Dick Strassburg, with the TEGRA Group, North Central University Owner’s Rep, proposed a new Academic Commons Building at Chicago Ave & 14th Streets. Team analyzed the entire campus and looked for biggest need. Science classrooms, event area open to the public, student housing. Looking at developing a master plan that will have steps towards institutional and neighborhood needs.

Nate Miller introduced conceptual landscape plans for the proposed building. Site Plan: just under an acre, some 1-story buildings will be removed, public alley vacated. Entry level contains lobby, event center, lecture space. Working with the city to have 14th Street more pedestrian friendly. Bus stop on Chicago will be moved one block north. Are currently considering on-campus parking solutions, including Metro Transit incentives, contracts with existing parking ramps, and/or disallowing freshmen from having vehicles on campus.

Project Schedule: goes to planning commission COW July 25th. Development of land-use application submitted August 23rd. Scheduled to have planning commission hearing October 21st. Site is OR3, conditional use permit. Corridor 6 build form, allowed 6 story building up to 84 ft. Will request variance to reduce on-street parking from 21 to 0.  Setback requirements: work with city on variances. May have admin review of plaza if it is more than 2000 sq ft.

Motion to create a task force with NCU and EPNI representatives for further work on the NCU master plan AND approve the conceptual design of the Academic Commons project with the expectation that NCU will bring details to the BLUH Committee as the project further develops.  M. Jagodzinski/Anderson.  Passed.


  • 11th Avenue Pedestrian Improvements: new pedestrian crosswalk on 11 Ave S & 15th St E. 10ft median in center serves as island for pedestrians, funneling traffic through the curvature of the intersection will do more to slow down crossing vehicles.
  • Vacant Storefront Task Force: to research and brainstorm as a group. Schedule is open-ended. No volunteers offered during meeting.
  • Anger Funeral Home: property is for sale. Ideal to find suitable tenant for the building.
  • Torri Hampton shared her email and offered anyone to contact her about concerns about events and issues regarding transportation and MNDOT. I94 enhancements will be made to the expressway; road surfaces, traffic flow, focus on Rondo Bridge community.


  • August BLUH meeting CANCELLED – join us at the Franklin Steele event!
  • August 6th: National Night Out Events: Alliance (719 E 16th): 4-7 pm, Franklin Steele Park (1600 Portland): 5-8 pm, Elliot Twins
  • August 7th & 21st: EPNI drop in hours, Segue Coffee, 4-6 pm
  • August 15th: Back to School Event @ Franklin Steele Park, 5-8 pm
  • September 21 – ART POP! Block Party @ 10th Street & Centennial, 12-6pm

The meeting adjourned.