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Buildings and Uses

POLICY

The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth

The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth

  • Building placement should allow light and air into the site and surrounding properties. (10.1.3 p. 10-4)
  • Provide maximum transparency of skyway walls in order to provide views to the outside that help users orient themselves. (10.3.1 p. 10-6)
  • The street level of buildings should have windows to allow for clear views into and out of the building. 10.2.2 p. 10-5)
  • Street-level building walls should include an adequate distribution of windows and architectural features in order to create visual interest at the pedestrian level. (10.6.5 p. 10-9)
  • Ensure that buildings incorporate design elements that eliminate long stretches of blank, inactive building walls such as windows, green walls, architectural detail, and murals. (10.2.3 p. 10-5)
  • Require storefront window transparency to assure both natural and surveillance and an inviting pedestrian experience. (10.10.6 p. 10-15)
  • Coordinate site designs and public right-of-way improvements to provide adequate sidewalk space for pedestrian movement, street trees, landscaping, street furniture, sidewalk cafes and other elements of active pedestrian areas. (10.9.4 p. 10-13)
  • Promote building and site design that delineates between public and private spaces. (10.9.2 p. 10-13)
  • Design the site, landscaping, and buildings to promote natural observation and maximize the opportunities for people to observe adjacent spaces and public sidewalks. (10.22.3 p. 10-29)
  • Provide on-site lighting at all building entrances and along walkways that maintains a minimum acceptable level of security while not creating glare or excessive lighting of the site. (10.22.4 p. 10-29)
  • Construct skyway stair towers at the edges of the Skyway System to facilitate interface with the sidewalk system and proposed green spaces. (13)

Access Minneapolis- Downtown Action Plan

Access Minneapolis- Downtown Action Plan

  • Promote building architecture and skyway bridge design in new developments to physically and visually connect the sidewalk with the skyway, through the use of highly visible vertical circulation and skyway concourses located along the outside perimeter of buildings, such as in the new Target store on Nicollet. (13)

Downtown East / North Loop Master Plan

Downtown East / North Loop Master Plan

  • Establish practices that maintain the right-of-way for pedestrians on sidewalks by minimizing the number and extent of driveway crossings / curb cuts. Access to and egress from parking ramps should be consolidated into a single curb cut. (56, 60)
  • Access to and egress from parking ramps should be located mid-block, at right angles, to minimize disruption to pedestrian flow at street intersections. (56, 60)
  • Maintain prohibitions of new auto-oriented uses such as drive-in restaurants, banks, and retailers with drive-up windows. (56, 60)
  • Design streets and buildings to eliminate long stretches of blank, inactive building walls. (56, 60)
  • Introduce building components that offer protection to pedestrians, such as awnings and canopies, as a means to encourage pedestrian activity along streets, especially where skyway alternatives don’t or won’t exist. (56, 60)
  • Establish practices that maintain the right-of-way for pedestrians on sidewalks by minimizing the number and extent of driveway crossings / curb cuts. Access to and egress from parking ramps should be consolidated into a single curb cut. (56, 60)
  • Access to and egress from parking ramps should be located mid-block, at right angles, to minimize disruption to pedestrian flow at street intersections. (56, 60)
  • Maintain prohibitions of new auto-oriented uses such as drive-in restaurants, banks, and retailers with drive-up windows. (56, 60)
  • Design streets and buildings to eliminate long stretches of blank, inactive building walls. (56, 60)
  • Introduce building components that offer protection to pedestrians, such as awnings and canopies, as a means to encourage pedestrian activity along streets, especially where skyway alternatives don’t or won’t exist. (56, 60)
  • Create points were highly visible vertical circulation is built to forge direct connections between the skyway system and downtown sidewalks. (59, 63)
  • Locate new skyways within the building in a manner that enables pedestrians to see the street from the inside (59, 64)
  • Proposed new construction in the Project Area should be evaluated for its sensitivity to preserving significant views of existing landmarks and/or enhancing view corridors that need further definition. The City should pursue formal mechanisms to ensure that property owners and developers have the necessary incentives to design and build individual projects in ways that respect and improve the overall built environment of Downtown. (96)
  • Enhancing the existing design context in Downtown East and the North Loop should be accomplished through the ideal of developing a “family” or collection of buildings. The whole of such a collection matters as much as the individual style of any one building. Consistent – but workable – standards should be followed for the siting, height, and mass of each new building. (99)
  • It is recommended that, on average 10%, of the developable area of every full block or half block project be set aside for public open space. Smaller, infill sites should be exempt from this prescription. This residual space should be designed specifically for public realm use, with decorative paving, street furniture, trees, public art, water features, pedestrian lighting, planted areas and other amenities. (99)
  • Prepare and adopt Standards for Architectural Building Design to establish the general principles for siting and massing of buildings. For example, building envelopes should be stepped back from front property lines above three or four stories to allow for preservation sunlight and views. (124)

North Loop Small Area Plan

North Loop Small Area Plan

  • Expand destination retail, services, and entertainment establishments along the Washington and Hennepin Commercial Corridors. 

REGULATIONS

Minneapolis Skyway System: Standards and Procedures Manual

Minneapolis Skyway System: Standards and Procedures Manual

  • Transparency: Skyway bridges shall be designed to be transparent in order to provide views in the system. (2.2.4)
  • Skyway corridors shall be designed to facilitate clear and easy access between street and skyway levels. Elevators, stairs, and escalators linking the street and skyway levels shall be located in such a way as to provide convenient, visible links to the skyway level from the adjacent street and sidewalks. (2.3.1)

Zoning Code: Site Plan Review for Building Design

Zoning Code: Site Plan Review for Building Design

530.120. - Building Design

  1. Building walls. Building walls shall provide architectural detail and shall contain windows as required in this section in order to create visual interest and to increase the security of adjacent outdoor spaces by maximizing natural surveillance and visibility. In larger buildings, architectural elements, including recesses or projections, windows and entries, shall be emphasized to divide the building into smaller identifiable sections. Blank, uninterrupted walls that do not include windows, entries, recesses or projections, or other architectural elements, shall not exceed twenty-five (25) feet in length. Exterior materials shall be durable, including but not limited to masonry, brick, stone, stucco, wood, metal, and glass. The exterior materials and appearance of the rear and side walls of any building shall be similar to and compatible with the front of the building. The use of plain face concrete block as an exterior material shall be prohibited where fronting along a public street, public sidewalk, public pathway, or adjacent to a residence or office residence district.
  2. Entrances, windows, and active functions.

    (1) Residential uses. Principal entrances shall be clearly defined and emphasized through the use of architectural features such as porches and roofs or other details that express the importance of the entrance. Multiple entrances shall be encouraged. Twenty (20) percent of the walls on the first floor and ten (10) percent of the walls on each floor above the first that face a public street, public sidewalk, public pathway, or on-site parking lot, shall be windows as follows:

    a. Windows shall be vertical in proportion.
    b. Windows shall be distributed in a more or less even manner. Minimum window area at the first floor or ground level shall be measured between two (2) and ten (10) feet above the adjacent grade. Minimum window area on walls above the first floor shall be measured between the upper surface of a floor and the upper surface of the floor above.

    (2) Nonresidential uses. Principal entrances shall be clearly defined and emphasized through the use of architectural features such as roofs, or other details that express the importance of the entrance. Multiple entrances shall be encouraged. Thirty (30) percent of the walls on the first floor and ten (10) percent of the walls on each floor above the first that face a public street, public sidewalk, public pathway, or on-site parking lot, shall be windows as follows:

    a. Windows shall be vertical in proportion.
    b. Windows shall be distributed in a more or less even manner.
    c. The bottom of any window used to satisfy the ground floor window requirement may not be more than four (4) feet above the adjacent grade.
    d. First floor or ground floor windows shall have clear or lightly tinted glass with a visible light transmittance ratio of six-tenths (0.6) or higher.
    e. First floor or ground floor windows shall allow views into and out of the building at eye level. Shelving, mechanical equipment or other similar fixtures shall not block views into and out of the building in the area between four (4) and seven (7) feet above the adjacent grade. However, window area in excess of the minimum required area shall not be required to allow views into and out of the building.
    f. Industrial uses in Table 550-1, Principal Uses in the Industrial Districts, may provide less than thirty (30) percent windows on the walls that face an on-site parking lot, provided the parking lot is not located between the building and a public street, public sidewalk or public pathway.
    g. In multiple tenant buildings, each individual ground level tenant space that faces a public street, public sidewalk, public pathway, or on-site parking lot shall comply with the minimum window requirements of this section.
    Minimum window area at the first floor or ground level shall be measured between two (2) and ten (10) feet above the adjacent grade. Minimum window area on walls above the first floor shall be measured between the upper surface of a floor and the upper surface of the floor above.

    (3) Ground floor active functions. Except for industrial uses in Table 550-1, Principal Industrial Uses in the Industrial Districts, the first floor or ground level of buildings shall be designed to accommodate active functions by ensuring that parking, loading, storage, or mechanical equipment rooms are limited to no more than thirty (30) percent of the linear building frontage along each wall facing a public street, public sidewalk, or public pathway.

    d. Parking garages. The exterior design of parking garages shall ensure that sloped floors do not dominate the appearance of the walls and that vehicles are screened from view. In addition to compliance with the minimum window requirements of this article, principal and accessory parking garages shall comply with provisions of this article requiring active functions on the ground floor. In the downtown districts, the more restrictive parking garage provisions of chapter 549, Downtown Districts, shall apply.

Zoning Code: Plaza Standards

Zoning Code: Plaza Standards

535.810. - Development standards for all permitted plazas.
All plazas with at least two thousand (2,000) square feet shall be subject to the following standards:

(1) Placement.
a. The placement of plazas shall not detract from and shall enhance natural surveillance and visibility of adjacent spaces and public sidewalks and facilitate pedestrian access and circulation.
b. Plazas shall be designed to enhance interaction with occupants of adjacent buildings and uses.

(9) Additional amenities. Plazas must provide at least one of the following additional amenities. Plazas in excess of five thousand (5,000) square feet shall provide a minimum of two (2) of the following additional amenities:
a. Living wall. Provide a living wall on at least one (1) building façade directly fronting on the plaza. The living wall shall be composed of panels that total a minimum of fifty (50) percent of the wall area on the building façade. A portion of the plantings shall provide greenery year round, if possible.
b. Water feature, including but not limited to, fountains, reflecting pools, children's play features and waterfalls. Water features shall be designed and maintained for year-round functionality and aesthetics.
c. Art feature. Art shall strive to promote quality design, enhance a sense of place and be maintained in good order for the life of the plaza. The art shall be located where it is highly visible to the public. The art shall be valued at not less than one-fourth (.25) of one (1) percent of the capital cost of the principal structure.
d. Moveable chairs. Such chairs shall be equivalent to twenty-five (25) percent of the minimum seating requirement. Moveable chairs may be removed during the nighttime hours of 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
e. Game tables and associated seating. A minimum of two (2) game tables and associated seating shall be provided.
f. Kiosk. Such kiosk may be no greater than one hundred (100) square feet in area and may only be occupied by uses permitted in the underlying zoning district.
g. Public drinking fountain. Such public drinking fountain shall be visible from an adjacent public street, public sidewalk or public pathway.
h. Stormwater functionality. Provide capacity for infiltrating stormwater generated onsite. Such stormwater amenity may be counted as two amenities if done in an artistic and educational manner.

Zoning Code: Nicollet Mall Overlay

  • 551.910. - Building placement.
    The placement of buildings shall reinforce the street wall, maximize natural surveillance and visibility, and facilitate pedestrian access and circulation. The first floor of buildings shall be located not more than eight (8) feet from Nicollet Mall, except where a greater yard is required by this zoning ordinance or where the building is separated from Nicollet Mall by outdoor open space that conforms to the standards for the urban open space premium, established in Chapter 549, Downtown Districts. In the case of a corner lot, the building wall abutting each street shall be located not more than eight (8) feet from the lot line, except where a greater yard is required by this zoning ordinance or where the building is separated from the lot line by outdoor open space that conforms to the standards for the urban open space premium. The area between the building and the lot line, and all other areas not occupied by buildings or used for parking and loading purposes, shall include amenities such as landscaping, tables and seating. Buildings shall be oriented so that at least one (1) principal entrance faces Nicollet Mall. The main lobby of the building and main elevator access shall be located at street level. On-site accessory parking facilities shall be located to the rear or interior side of the site, within the principal building served, or entirely below grade. (Zoning Code: Nicollet Mall Overlay)
  • 551.920. - Building height and scale.
    In order to minimize the impact of shadowing and wind currents upon Nicollet Mall, and to maintain pedestrian scale and character, portions of buildings over ten (10) stories or one hundred forty (140) feet, whichever is less, that comprise more than two hundred (200) feet of frontage on Nicollet Mall shall be set back from Nicollet Mall not less than thirty (30) feet. Such setback shall begin no lower than the third (3rd) story or forty-two (42) feet, whichever is less, and no higher than the tenth (10th) story or one hundred forty (140) feet, whichever is less. Where the first floor of a building or a portion of a building is separated from Nicollet Mall by open space, the required setback shall be reduced by the depth of such open space. (Zoning Code: Nicollet Mall Overlay)
  • 551.930. - Building façade.
    (a) In general. Building façades shall provide architectural detail and shall contain windows at the ground level or first floor in order to create visual interest and to increase security of adjacent outdoor spaces by maximizing natural surveillance and visibility. The exterior materials and appearance of the rear and side walls shall be similar to and compatible with the front of the building. The use of plain face concrete block as an exterior material shall be prohibited where visible from a public street or a residence or office residence district.

    (b)Windows. At least forty (40) percent of the first floor façade that faces the Nicollet Mall or other public street shall be windows or doors of clear or lightly tinted glass, including display windows. Windows shall be distributed in a more or less even manner. Display windows shall be illuminated until at least 1:00 a.m. For purposes of this section, minimum window area shall be measured between the height of two (2) feet and ten (10) feet above the finished level of the first floor. (Zoning Code: Nicollet Mall Overlay)

Last updated Apr 3, 2015

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