Thrivent HQ & Sherman apartments - 500 7th St S

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
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Nick
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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby Nick » August 9th, 2019, 6:37 am

I assume Multimodal is insinuating that a daycare is too boring/inactive of a retail use to bless the sidewalk frontage of this building (Please do correct me if I'm wrong and that's not what you meant). That's patently absurd. This area and most of downtown is an absolute dead zone with vacant ground floor commercial space or worse, no commercial space whatsoever, with no improvement on the horizon. I will literally take any ground floor commercial use that isn't a blank wall. Even some of the new hotels are a total disaster for ground floor activation (AC Hotel on Hennepin...WTF?!)
I don’t believe it’s patently absurd.

This isn’t a comparison between having a blank wall or a daycare; it’s, as you initially surmised, a comparison between daycare and a more active use.

I ask this because of experience in the suburbs, St. Louis Park specifically. There’s a lot to like about Excelsior & Grand, but that daycare really deadens one whole building. Likewise, between the internally-focused senior center and the daycare itself, TowerLight on Wooddale is not only a dead block, but a dead corner and dead plaza. The dark-tinted windows don’t help. It really isn’t much different from a blank wall.

All the fancy street lights, wide sidewalks, bike parking, big windows, and brick buildings in the world won’t make it feel any more active. It’s dead.
The original site plan for this spot had a daycare taking up a huge amount of street frontage and I would tend to agree that’s not great. Thought of the same example at Excelsior and Grand before I got to it in your post.

The Wells Fargo development is adding a lot of retail space and this area isn’t going to be as badly skywayed as Downtown West. Not that we can really regulate business types, I think it’d be nice to give some more active businesses a chance on the street level.

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby mattaudio » August 9th, 2019, 8:47 am

I've long thought the City could play a more active role in trying to focus retail onto certain corridors in "new" neighborhoods:
- Higher priority for incremental or CIP projects to improve bike/walk/on-street parking with a reduction in travel lanes.
- Carrots to encourage going above and beyond minimums.
- Mild sticks to discourage squatting on vacant retail storefronts (this should be citywide).
- Waive certain fees to encourage new businesses that activate the sidewalk: Waive SAC, sidewalk cafe permits, etc.

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby twincitizen » August 9th, 2019, 2:48 pm

I definitely agree on the "focusing retail onto certain corridors/corners". North Loop seems to be the exception to that, in that you can put retail on 1st, 2nd, Washington, 5th Ave N, 6th Ave N, etc. There's enough people around during the daytime and evenings to support it.

But for newly developing parts of downtown like DTE, which are mostly going to continue 1/2-block sized new buildings with some bad frontages, the city should be more thoughtful in planning which streets and corners are more appropriate for ground floor commercial and which streets serve more of a "back street" or "commuter funnel". By grouping that retail a little better at certain corners/corridors, these developing areas have a better chance to achieve the concentration of retail/restaurants/service necessary for it to feel like a "place". So like for example, I'd say 3rd Street (between Washington and 4th) in DTE is a pretty ideal "back street" that really shouldn't be a priority for retail. Chicago Avenue is a good street to concentrate ground level storefronts through DTE and Elliot Park.

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby Oreos&Milk » August 11th, 2019, 2:43 pm

Is daycare a good use for a first floor?
As opposed to a second or higher floor? Yes. Imagine trying to evacuate a daycare with infants and toddlers using stairs verses a door straight to the sidewalk.
I would say it's not a good usage of space on first floor, second floor would be more appropriate the horizon daycare on Hennepin comes to mind as not being very open to the street, but obviously they can't be for security reasons. That's why I think it was a lazy design, might have added a little to the budget to plan and design it to fit the space but our downtown would have been better. Still I see it as moot point retail will take time to come back and by then I'm sure they could redesign the space in 5-10 years based on the current tenants wanting space ideally by then it would be more density with retail and putting the daycare on 2nd floor.

Image

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby dajazz » August 12th, 2019, 8:03 am

https://www.apnews.com/c9c940d4b2544facaf60ea18dc03e0da

A fire killed 5 children at a daycare over the weekend. I get that it would be nice to stick something like this up on the second floor of a building, but there's a reason most daycare centers are located on the first floor. State regulations call for minimum staffing levels, so in a room full of a dozen 8 month olds there only needs to be 3 teachers. It's not feasible for a teacher to go down an evac slide holding 4 kids, and it's not safe for them to go down on their own. In a real emergency they would put all the small children in one or two of the cribs and roll them outside to safety, something doable if the center is on the ground floor.

Beyond looking at extreme situations like this there are day to day reasons why the first floor makes sense. Every daycare should have an outside area for children to play. Having it on the first floor makes it significantly easier for teachers to take those students outside. Now if you want to argue that the design should be different, or it shouldn't take up so much of the street frontage, or the play area should be tucked behind the building, that's fine. But I have 0 issues with this, or any daycare downtown, occupying the first floor.

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby Multimodal » August 14th, 2019, 7:08 am

https://www.apnews.com/c9c940d4b2544facaf60ea18dc03e0da

A fire killed 5 children at a daycare over the weekend.

Now if you want to argue that the design should be different, or it shouldn't take up so much of the street frontage, or the play area should be tucked behind the building, that's fine. But I have 0 issues with this, or any daycare downtown, occupying the first floor.
I’m sure you could find a news story about seniors dying in a fire, but they live in multi-story buildings despite being in wheelchairs, walkers, & assisted living. Fire departments are bored because modern buildings have such good fire suppression.

As to your second point, that could make sense. Design the first floor so that the daycare part mostly faces the back or interior of the building, leaving more retail/services facing the street. Doing it this way for some buildings would even encourage new small businesses, as the spaces and rent would necessarily be small. You could even design the daycare in the shape of a T, where it faces the street only in the middle of the block, leaving the highly desirable & visible corners to retail & services.

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby bapster2006 » August 18th, 2019, 10:42 am


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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby luigipaladio » August 19th, 2019, 10:36 am

I will give Thrivent credit for a crisp and sleek office structure, though I’d like to hear why the architects opted to band he structure in a way that makes it seem like a bloated four story building rather than the eight story structure it actually is. It’s also good to see the new ramp almost completely covered by apartments. One more floor of them would have made the coverage complete. is the structure on top of the ramp strictly mechanical space or does it include amenity space for the apartments? Also, where does the latest proposal for the other portion of the new Thrivent HQ block stand in the approval process?

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby Blaisdell Greenway » August 19th, 2019, 11:56 am

This one is turning out much better than the renderings. The taller banding gives it a more stately feel, especially compared to the busier surrounding residential facades. I think it will look really nice at dusk with all the lights on. There are still vertical mullions to be added on a few sides.

Going with 8 stories here instead of 15 was the right idea. The future adjacent building(s) on the south half conceivably could (and imho should) be much taller, at least matching the height of the WF "towers." This would provide a nice step down into the Commons park, creating visual interest within both the park and neighborhood buildings.

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby luigipaladio » December 11th, 2019, 11:55 am

I hadn’t seen the new Thrivent headquarters for some time and was surprised to see the vertical raised mullions they’ve added to the modest tower. The addition took the building from bland, blank box to a structure with interesting texture and motion. The property looks much better and the strong vertical lines give it a less squat feeling from the street. Now if they can just find something good looking to plant on the other half of the block.

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby amiller92 » December 11th, 2019, 1:58 pm

It looks perfectly nice but remains weirdly small.

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby rhettcarlson » January 31st, 2020, 10:33 am

Image

Image

Quick photos taken last night from approximately the Armory box office. The interior office levels look mostly built out.

I agree with the comments on the mullions above. They do seem to give it more verticality and texture. I wonder if the horizontal bands/vertical columns are actually stone/tile or just stamped concrete - would hope the former.

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Nathan
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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby Nathan » January 31st, 2020, 10:53 am

I wonder if the horizontal bands/vertical columns are actually stone/tile or just stamped concrete - would hope the former.
The building is clad in a stone called Alabama silver shadow. A natural limestone. One of my favorites, actually. It will have natural marble line veining when clean and dry.

Thanks for the pics as well from a now long distance follower!

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby SurlyLHT » January 31st, 2020, 11:18 am

The skyway connection to HCMC seems to be a long-term goal versus near reality? I'm kind of excited for it given that it will give many downtown residents who aren't highly mobile easy access to care.

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby Silophant » January 31st, 2020, 11:44 am

My understanding from the DMNA presentations of this project is that Thrivent is building this building to be ready for a skyway connection, so the ball is in HCMC's court once they decide what they want to do with that half-block of surface parking and the ramp next to it.

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby rhettcarlson » January 31st, 2020, 11:56 am

I wonder if the horizontal bands/vertical columns are actually stone/tile or just stamped concrete - would hope the former.
The building is clad in a stone called Alabama silver shadow. A natural limestone. One of my favorites, actually. It will have natural marble line veining when clean and dry.

Thanks for the pics as well from a now long distance follower!
Great to know! Thanks!

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby seanrichardryan » February 1st, 2020, 10:44 am

Move-in is planned in April.
Q. What, what? A. In da butt.

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby lordmoke » February 20th, 2020, 4:44 pm

Apartments for the other half of the block are back. Eight whole stories. What a waste.

https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/download ... 207th%20St

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby SurlyLHT » February 20th, 2020, 5:15 pm

I agree, the economics lacking to go higher? I see they are using light gauge steel isn't that capable of greater heights? Portland Tower still has ads begging people to move in.

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Re: Thrivent Headquarters Block - 6th St and Portland Ave

Postby Silophant » February 20th, 2020, 5:25 pm

What's interesting is that they are going beyond stick construction - it'll be light-gauge steel like the recently proposed building on the MS Society site at 12th and 2nd. Per the Bizjournal article about that project, that construction type can go up to 11 stories by code.

It'll be interesting to see if the CPC and Z&P are as anal-retentive about the 2040 height minimums (ten stories in Transit 30 and Core 50) as they were about the FAR maximums when they blocked the Dinkytown redevelopment a little bit ago. They better be.


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