12.3.06

strib: Bloomington "Center"

The Strib published a front page bit about how much mixed-use development is happening around the Bloomington LRT stops. It's a compelling read.

The developers had a big chunk of land in Bloomington surrounding a planned light-rail station, and they thought they knew what do with it: Build hotels, office buildings, parking lots.

That's when a West Coast investor nearly laughed in their faces.

"He literally looked at [us] and said 'You guys don't know what you're doing. ... You need to get out of Minneapolis and get around the country and take a look at what is being done in other markets around a light-rail line,' " said Greg Miller, a manager with Roseville-based developer McGough Cos.

I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, I think that this is the kind of dense, mixed-use development that we need to see more of around current/future LRT lines. On the other hand, this particular area in Bloomington is a pretty bad place for TOD density. It's simply too small, bounded by 494 on the North, the Minnesota River on the East and South, and the MOA on the West. It's this tiny triangle that will not serve as an economic attractor for the region, unlike some of the other transit-dense places in Minneapolis (e.g. Hiawatha Avenue, or possible Northstar stops). Transit has the potential to vitalize entire square miles of urban area, with density and economic activity spilling into ajacent neighborhoods, but that can't happen with the Bloomington LRT.

A while back, Driver2165 suggested that there are already too many stops in Central Bloomington, and I'd probably agree.

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