Date: December 4 – 7, 2007
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sponsor: ULI Foundation
Chair: Maureen McAvey
Subject Area: Downtown Revitalization
Summary of Recommendations:
The ULI panel was asked to suggest solutions for better linkages within the separated districts of the city of Minneapolis. Improving the physical and social connection between the city’s two major economic engines, the Downtown Central Business District and the University of Minnesota, was a vital part of the panels proposal for “fixing” Minneapolis. Before this progression could even begin, a shared strategic planning process and vision between the University and Downtown was needed. The Washington Avenue South/Cedar Avenue/Riverside Avenue corridor was identified as the unifying link between the university, Downtown, and hospital (another major economic engine). The panel identified major activity nodes at Chicago Avenue, I-35, Seven Corners, and Cedar-Riverside along the corridor. These nodes needed to be enhanced with public realm improvements and redevelopment incentives. The Metrodome site and South Waterfront area could not be overlooked as potential mixed-use, mixed-income destination districts. By looking at other thriving university/community partnerships, Minneapolis could learn some valuable lessons that are applicable to its situation. The future of the city lied in lowering the barriers between the University and Downtown by creating better connections and communities between them. This linkage would create a strong economic asset, and open the flow of people, ideas, investment, and imagination within the city.