City Grain

2013 Hines Competition Honorable Mention Award: Honorable Mention Team Number: 5813 Schools: North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Position: Graphic Designer Team Members: Ana-Maria Drighi, Tyler Parker, Stephen Bell, Soroush Khajegi, Parsa Beheshti Shirazi, Eric Thomas, Damon Cory-Watson, Christopher Rumbley

City Grain is a wellness-oriented development initiative designed to catalyze the growth of complete communities throughout Minneapolis by implementing asset-based and ecosystem interventions into the Downtown East district. Wellness is implemented in four major realms: physical, environmental, community, and economic.
Design Strategy
Environmental Wellness
Honoring  Minneapolis’s historical orgins on the Mississippi, City Grain
Project invites the vitality  of the river into the heart of Downtown East by visually  and ecologically managing stormwater as an asset. Collecting rainwater in storage cisterns, plaza pools and engineered wetlands  that undulate  through  a linear park along Portland Avenue, the neighborhood returns biofiltered water to the river and strengthens
pedestrian connections to the riverfront. A combination of solar pv and thermal systems supply much of the energy and heating needs for the neighborhood and its larger institutions, increasing energy resilience.
Physical Wellness
Home to University of Minnesota’s renowned  Medical Research  Center and the displays  of athleticism at the Vikings stadium, physical  wellness in Downtown East precedes this project.  Collaborating with regional partners, City Grain seamlessly integrates athletic, fitness, nutrition and local food centers.  A greenway-oriented bike hub prioritizes bike transit options  and access to riverfront amenities  to maximize  a preventive health culture.

Financial Strategy
Approaching a pattern of fragmentation in the Downtown East District of Minneapolis, City Grain initiates a four-phased catalytic development program  designed to strengthen and build
City Grain extends the creative economy in the Mill District  and incubates green micro-enterprises in the Elliot Park area, spreading wealth and wellness  throughout the broader community. The introduction of a
major food hub to Downtown East District  pivots around adaptive  reuse of the historic Armory as a fresh market serving surrounding neighborhoods and becoming  a destination for the broader metro region. Developing  along a viable local foods corridor,  the hub includes an urban agriculture and culinary  training  center, composting facilities, a local food aggregator and distributor, and a commercial community kitchen  for value-adding products and food truck preparations. Related micro-enterprises grow to serve mixed-use  corridors along Portland Avenue, 5th Street and Washington Avenue as a core part of City Grain’s economic  plan.  Each phase of the development program  is aimed at activating these corridors in ways that rebuild ownership and investment in the neighborhood.  Additionally, a mixed-use  hotel captalizes on the adjacent  and newly revitalized Vikings stadium becoming  an economic engine for the neighborhood as well as a destination and beacon for Viking fans and travelers  from around the world.

Community Wellness
Partnerships, collaborations and good neighbors are vital to creation  of community wellness. City Grain prioritizes public/private partnerships that broaden investment in the master plan.  Wellness  initiatives vitalize the development process by improving the lives of residents  while creating  amenities  that will attract new residents  toward a densifying neighborhood. New residential development emphasizes the creation of mixed-income live/work buildings walkable to new schools, local food, cultural  experiences, greenspace and multi-modal transit  options connecting to the metro region and beyond.  Design strategy  for new construction emphasizes responsiveness to existing  architecture and form that is customizable for individualized lifestyle  as well as adaptable for future growth and uses.  A vision for the new Vikings Stadium encourages a year-around activated park/plaza that invites participation from surrounding neighbors and becomes public space that serves game day and every other day.
Site Plan
PRE-DEVELOPMENT: Community Activation and Investment
Preparing  for sustainable growth, 2013 operationalizes a network  of strategic  partners  established to share investment in the implementation and benefits  of City Grains’ positive  growth strategy.  Major partners include:
The Guthrie Theater
University of Minnesota Medical Center
Hennepin County Hospital
Homegrown Business  Development Center
Mill City Farmers Market
The Hub Bike Coop
The City of Minneapolis Minneapolis Public Schools Valspar  Foundation
Vikings NFL Team
Mutual investors in a vision that embraces  living well in a historic  and twenty first century downtown neighborhood, this public/private support scaffolds City Grain’s $15.8 million  upfront purchase  of outlying properties necessary  for a phased development, future sale and reinvestment strategy. Before new construction, with funding  healing arts public charter school. The Amory Market becomes a familiar  host to a wide range of creative community uses and events, many of which move into newly constructed buildings after phase II development.
PHASE I: Mixed-Use  & Mixed-Income Amenities
2015 kicks off a $242,000,000 development phase with over 300,000 square feet of community-oriented amenities. A major bike ‘ramp’ along the Hiawatha  greenway  receives $15 million  in funding  from the Federal Transit Authority’s MAP 21 program  and a state of the art
wellness  center is developed  adjacent  to the Hennepin County Hospital overlooking Stadium Plaza.  The USDA Community Foods Project, Homegrown Business  Development Center and Growing  Power support a local food hub that assists  urban and rural farmers in marketing
their products.  90,000 square feet of green infrastructure, including ecological storm water systems and solar thermal systems are developed along a Portland Avenue linear park along with 482 mixed-income
residential units extending from the Armory toward the river.  New mixed use construction is home to the public charter school temporarily in the Amory, a library, athletic  and fitness center, artists  live/work lofts and street level retail.

PHASE II: Mixed-Use & Hospitality
With a strong absorption rate and national attention on the newly minted Minnesota Vikings Stadium, 2018 begins phase II of City Grains’ development strategy by establishing a mixed-use high rise tower adjacent to the stadium and the Downtown East light rail station.
In addition to 667 hotel units, the tower incorporates plaza, retail and restaurants, offi ces, including the relocation of Star Tribune’s administrative offi ces, and market-rate condos. This $490,000,000 development phase continues the trend of diversifying the community with mixed-income residential, including 62 affordable rentals, 30
affordable condos.
SALE: Form-Based Code & ReInvestment
Through a strong 10 year period of development and absorption City
Grain’s investors netted a leveraged IRR of 11.36% and increased
the total project site value nearly ten fold. The unique character of
architectural design and creative placemaking strategies initiated by City
Grain help to establish a set of form based codes for the Downtown East
District to create a cohesive and unifi ed pattern of urban living.
Back to Top