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Showing posts from 2014

Neighborhood Spotlight - Minnesota Literacy Council

Did you know that 61% of low-income families in the U.S. have  zero  children's books in their homes? That is one thing the Minnesota Literacy Council is trying to change.   The MLC was started in 1972 by people who recognized that teaching a person to read is critical to their growth and self-sufficiency.  They have a great volunteer base and could always use more! Today this group reaches 90,000 persons per year helping young children learn to read, helping others obtain their GED,and teaching computer literacy  Located in The Foundry at 700 Raymond Avenue The MLC promotes the "Power of Learning"

Neighborhood Spotlight - Foxy Falafel

This might be your last week to enjoy Foxy Falafel out on the sidewalk  at 791 Raymond Avenue .  They have been a great addition to our neighborhood and a favorite stop for lunch.   This is the falafel salad with strawberry basil water.  YUM !!   I enjoy their cute storefront and great plants too.  It's always clean and cute.  You can follow them on Twitter to find out about their food truck locations.

There Goes the Old 661 LaSalle Building !

Looking east Why is it so fun to watch the big excavators?  I like this photo of one taking a big "bite" out of the last bit of the building that is still standing.   The operators can smash the wall of a building or pick up a small item - It is a real skill.   Bolander and Sons is doing the demoiltion for us and I can't believe how fast the building came down .  Now we can really stat working on putting together plans for our new building.  

Neighborhood Spotlight - Salon George

Salon George  856 Raymond Ave. Salon George has the most beautiful storefront flowers in the Creative Enterprise Zone.   Every year they have different plantings and each year they are amazing.   Inside the salon, you will find a beautiful peaceful setting too.   I love the renovated building and the unique art they display.   They offer hair, make-up, nail and many spa services.   Located just a few blocks north of University on Raymond Ave.

St. Anthony Park Community Foundation

I'm excited to join the board of the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation this fall.  And what a time to join this group!  At the 15th anniversary celebration last Friday, executive director Jon Schumacher  announced that our endowment has reached over one million dollars.  The foundation uses the endowment to support schools, the arts and other groups that help to make St. Anthony Park one of the best neighborhoods in the twin cities.   The well attended celebration was held at the Urban Growler, who were great hosts for our event. The Urban Growler

Neighborhood Spotlight - Hampden Park Co-op

Fall is a great time to discover Hampden Park Co-op.  One of my favorite spots for lunch! The Co-op started at 928 Raymond Ave. in 1979 and has been serving up great soups and sandwiches for lunch ever since.   Based on sustainable principles, the co-op offers local goods and  eco-friendly products. Sidewalk dining has just been approved, so we can still enjoy our lunch outside for a few more weeks.   ww

How Safe is Your Data?

2324 University I wonder if computer hackers could get into this?  With the news that computer hackers are stealing passwords and personal information, sometimes I think the old-fashioned way of safeguarding information was better! Many of our old buildings had safes in them - Midtown Commons has two. This is the upstairs safe. We hoped when we bought the old vacant building in 1989 that we would find some hidden treasures, but alas, the safe only held old ledgers and office supplies.  This antique safe in this photo now holds air conditioning duct work. We actually have an old safe in our office that we still use to hold valuable items!  In a locked office. With a security alarm. Keep your office safe with these tips: 1.  Do not leave laptops unattended. 2.  Keep purses in lockers or locked cabinets 3.  Store checks in a locked cabinet.  Keep boxes sealed that  you're not using. 4. Control your keys 5.  Use your security alarm - every night.
Here's a great little video that shows what I love about our neighborhood!

Green Space on the Green Line

700 Raymond really looks pretty on a summer day like today.  The rain garden area is growing great and the plants are doing well.   The potted flowers really add a pop of color.

Life is Good on the Deck

A little spot to have a cup of coffee is always good.   Especially on a day like today!

This Corner Needs Help!

I applied for a Knight Foundation  Green Line Grant yesterday to improve the corner of La Salle and University.    I think the corner is dull, uninviting and needs more landscaping.   I'm hoping they agree with me and grant me some funding to improve the corner.   It definitely needs Something! !   Trees, more brick piers, signs, art, bike racks, flowers. Almost anything would help. We need to work to make the Raymond Station area inviting and interesting.

Our Newest Project

Okay it doesn't look like much and frankly, we are going to tear it down, but we are buying a new property: This is 661 LaSalle, just one block from the Raymond Station. We are exited to start planning our next project.  Looks like we can fit a 14,000 to 20,000 sq. ft. office building on this site. The site is adjacent to the Foundry on Raymond and our 2300 Myrtle Avenue building, so we can really develop almost the whole block.  Pretty exciting!

Raymond Station is Open for Business!!

Everything went as planned for the Green Line opening - except for the weather.   That really was too bad because the Raymond Station celebration committee worked very hard to put together a great arts and music program.  It was just too wet and windy for a lot people to enjoy.  Many brave souls came out anyway and tried out our new trains.  I was excited to get to be a first rider with my dad Chuck McCann.  He has been instrumental in changing the area around the Raymond Station.   Thanks to Kelly McManus, Amy Sparks, Catherine Reid Day, Jon Schumacher, Jack Becker and many many more.  

Raymond Station is Ready to Open

Here's a nice photo of one of the installations at the Raymond Station.  We are located in a historic district due to the industrial and transportation focus the neighborhood has always had The art installed at the Raymond Station reflects the different types of wheels used for transportation or industry.   The orange is actually the LRT train in the station. I think it turned out really well.

Designing Work Spaces with Millennials in Mind

This video makes some good points regarding trends we are seeing along the Green Line.  When competing for great workers, we need to make our office spaces attractive to younger workers. Millennials  really value being on public transit .  Companies that want to attract these young workers should keep transit in mind when selecting a location for their office.   Maybe it's because this generation has seen the headaches of my generation - the expense of long commutes, not only with high gas prices but endless hours spent in the car.  They also value an open work space with many ways to connect and work.   I believe they are driving the co-working trend.   Younger workers don't want to feel tied to a desk. Computers and phones with cords are not tying them down.  The last thing young workers want is their father's bland old cubicle or an 8 x 10 office with no personality.  What if the break room was more like a bar?  What if they could work sitting on a couch or on a dec

Make New Friends and Keep the Old

Making New Friends :  I am excited that we have a new tenant moving into Midtown Commons.  In Site Architects will be moving into our building in the next month from their current location in Minneapolis. The Creative Enterprise Zone is a perfect place for them to be. Keeping the Old:   We are pleased to report that we have a number of tenants that renewed their leases this month: All Parks Alliance for Change Midwest Financial Search Alt-Kie Computer Consultants Total Music Systems

Welcome Minnesota Center for Psychology

Welcome to Minnesota Center for Psychology - our newest tenant at Midtown Commons - 2324 University Avenue.   Many different services are provided for adults, adolescents and children.  A beautiful suite painted in restful colors has both private therapy rooms and larger training/group rooms.  The clinic has been in the neighborhood already - they are moving from the US Bank building at Raymond/University. We think they will be a great addition to the Midtown Commons campus.

Long Time Connections

 Lately I've begun to think of myself as a "Midway Old-TImer."   After all, I was born in Midway hospital, and used to shop at the old Montgomery Wards store when I was little - both places are long gone.   Baptized and married in Jehovah Lutheran Church on Snelling, which is still there.  Attended kindergarten at Hancock Elementary, still there too.  As I get older I appreciate my long term connections even more. Update has many tenants that have leased from us for over 20 years - Midwest Sound, Midtown Chiropractic, Saunders Therapy Centers, Total Music, One Ninety Commons, Deneen Pottery, Forecast Public Art. We have many contractors and suppliers we have worked with for 20+ years as well. J.O. Thompson Paint and Carpet, Metzger Building Supply, Dorglass, Viking Industrial,  Midwest Chemical. And of course, our neighborhood institutions - Keys Restaurant, Hampden Park Co-op and the Midway Chamber of Commerce.   In a world where things seem to change overnight

The Green Line Opens June 14

After many years of planning and construction it's great to have an opening day set for the Green Line light rail.   I am excited to help plan the opening day celebration at the Raymond Station.  Rides will be free throughout the Twin Cities on buses and the blue line all day Saturday and Sunday.  First trains on University Avenue will start about 10:00.   There will be a celebration at the Raymond Station starting around 9:00 a.m. and lasting until about 4:00 p.m.  We will help host the Raymond event, which will include food and presentations. And knowing our neighborhood we will have a lot of cool creative things going on all day!!     

Lydia's Place

Lydia's Place is the newest tenant at 2300 Myrtle Avenue.   A co-working space with a special twist, Lydia's Place is a new ELCA ministry grounded in Word and Sacrament. The idea of working together, creating community and sharing talents and gifts is sometimes not part of the usual business model, but I think it is a unique opportunity. Although the suite is only a small one to start, I feel co-working is a growing trend.   I especially like the combination of a desire to "do good" while "doing business".    Scott Simmons, who is a Lutheran minister, is one of the founders.  He brings a real enthusiasm to this project and has already brought a number of co-workers together. I wouldn't be surprised if they need a larger space down the road.  

2014 Predicitons

2014 is going to be a positive year.  As I talk to people in our creative enterprise zone and the Midway business community I get a definite feeling of optimism.   Here are some things I feel are going to be great in 2014: The Green Line will open in the summer.  I think we will see lots of people using LRT and finding it convenient to use .Development will continue to grow along University Ave. as people will want to locate close by.  Craft brewing will continue to grow.  Urban Growler will open in the spring, Surly will work on its new campus.  St. Paul will start to catch up with Minneapolis's head start. Collaborative working will expand.  I sense a real interest in social innovation by working collaboratively.  I think there's  potential for new ideas and partnerships to come from new ways of working. I think we will see some of that happen in the creative enterprise zone. The Raymond station area will continue to grow as a creative hub.  I think our neighb