October BLUH Meeting Update

This month's meeting was packed with two projects for both businesses and residential buildings in our neighborhood. Find the presentations on Thrivent HQ's Sign Variance and the Elliot Twins Modernization Project here!  If you have any questions or comments, please call or email the EPNI office!

Thrivent Headquarters Sign Variance 

Kirsten Spreck, on behalf of Johanna Harris of HGA, presented Thrivent’s pursuit for a signage variance for a monument sign at the new Thrivent Corporate Center at 600 Portland Avenue South. 

Highlights include:

ETC (East Town Coffee) will be added on Portland Avenue. 

People on Portland and S 6th St should clearly be able to see entrance to Thrivent.  

Monument sign is black granite and will rest on a partial wall. 

Motion to support Thrivent’s application for a sign variance at 600 Portland Avenue South.  M. Anderson/Nasi.  Passed. 

Project Update: Elliot Twins Modernization – Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) 

Laura Dykema, Director of Development, presented MPHA’s plan for a comprehensive modernization project for the Elliot Twins, addressing all deferred maintenance, including plumbing, electrical systems, and other building systems. MPHA will also update unit kitchens, bathrooms, and finishes. To improve resident comfort and the energy efficiency of the towers, the buildings will be re-cladded with insulated metal panels. Additionally, new energy efficient windows, roofing, and heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems will be installed. The project also includes construction of a new one-story link between the two towers with enhanced community space, offices, an exercise room, and larger laundry facilities. The current first floor spaces and portions of the second floors of each tower will be repurposed, allowing MPHA to add a total of ten new units compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, increasing the total number of units at the site to 184. Estimated completion is November 2020.

Construction Relocation Phase: All residents will be offered a unit on-site throughout construction. Can choose off-site options, but all will have guaranteed right-to-return. 

Work will be completed in 2 stacks of vacant apartments at a time until one building is complete. Work begins on the other once the first is done. 

Financing: tax-exempt bonds, low-income housing tax credit program, traditional debt. 

The group asked questions about landscaping, vacancies, moving reimbursement and right-to-return.


Status of 2020 budget: With recent news of the Neighborhoods 2020 budget being developed, Vanessa shared that the final approval for a city consultant is pending but nothing has happened yet. Right now, we know that the mayor has committed to funding neighborhoods for 2020 at least the same level as this year.  

Crime on 11th St: With the rash of recent burglaries and vandalism on 11th Street, we offered the idea for all affected businesses to have an action meeting. Additionally, we proposed a separate informational meeting for residents including a representative from 311 so we can remain vigilant.

CVS Location: We had continued concerns about how future vacancies of main floor retail sites will be handled. We noted that we should continue to be proactive in finding ways that these retail spaces can be filled. Vanessa noted that there was a projected 40% increase of incoming residents that should lead to increase in retail base.  The group discussed opportunity for the community to create incentives for businesses and potentially a survey to generate useful data for potential retailers.  

See the full meeting minutes here!

We hope to see you at our next BLUH meeting on November 21st, 6:00 PM at the Elliot Park Rec Center!