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University UNITED  A Coalition of Midway Citizens and Businesses

University Avenue Urban Manufacturing Project

Overview of University Avenue Urban Manufacturing Project
Project Advisory Group
Stantec Market Study
Article from Finance & Commerce, December 16, 2011
University UNITED Reports on Industry/ Manufacturing/ Employment
New Report: Rethinking the Midway Industrial Area
Urban Manufacturing - A Report by Brookings Institution"
Economic Gardening
Manufacturing in the Midway, a presentation by Brian McMahon
Minnesota Transfer Technology District
Next Steps

Overview of University Avenue Urban Manufacturing Project
December 20, 2011

Greenpoint Model of Urban Manufacturing
Click on graphic below to view flyer
Click here for Project Flyer

Concerns of Displacement of Small Manufacturers and Creative Enterprises

A number of people in the community had concerns that the Central Corridor Light Rail Project and related development would create displacement pressures on small manufacturers and creative enterprises along University Avenue. Informal conversations led to the creation of a working group that would explore models for retaining this important sector on a more stable and sustainable footing. There were also more general concerns that the manufacturing sector represented only 5 percent of the employment in the Twin Cities and more needed to be done to expand blue-collar job opportunities and the middle class economy.

Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.

In September, 2010, a working group comprised of Councilmember Russ Stark, and representatives from Public Art Saint Paul, Asian Economic Development Association, St. Paul Port Authority, Midway Chamber of Commerce, and University UNITED organized a program to introduce the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center from Brooklyn, N.Y., to the St. Paul community. Funding was provided by the working group sponsors and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative to bring Brian Coleman, the Greenpoint CEO, to St. Paul for a series of presentations over a three day visit. These sessions were well attended and generated considerable interest in exploring the possibility of replicating the "Greenpoint model" in St. Paul.

Click here for Greenpoint Tennant Survey

Creative Enterprise Zone

This "Greenpoint" working group overlapped to some extent with a separate initiative, the Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ) working group, which was simultaneously exploring ways to support and stabilize the existing cluster of artists and creative enterprises in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood. This effort was initiated by concerns about possible displacement of the arts cluster at the Raymond Avenue node. The CEZ secured funding from the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative and the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation to create "a framework for sustainable, economically vital, creative community where people live, work, trade, and visit", building upon the cultural assets of the community.

Click here for Creative Enterprise Zone Plan

University Avenue Urban Manufacturing Project

The two initiatives converged, and after several meetings with about a dozen stakeholders, it was agreed to seek funding for a feasibility study for the potential of acquiring and managing an industrial building along University Avenue that would be rented to small manufacturers, artisans and artists. A collaboration comprised of University UNITED, Sparc, and the St. Anthony Park Community Council received funding from the Saint Paul Foundation and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.

A study is now underway to determine the market for stable and affordable work space for small manufacturers and creative industries and to identify optimally-located, affordable buildings that can feasibly be acquired and adapted. The focus area of the study is the University Avenue corridor extending from the Lowertown Arts District in downtown St. Paul through the historical Midway industrial area, including the St. Anthony Park neighborhood. A market study of tenants and businesses will follow a 'natural market' geography to give a more accurate picture of current conditions.

Over the next six months data will be gathered on approximately 100 industrial buildings, which will be analyzed with a variety of criteria. The pool of buildings will be narrowed down to one or two prospects that merit a full blown architectural feasibility analysis and a financial pro-forma.

Consultant Team

With funding in hand, the project team created a scope of work, and an Advisory Group, and have embarked on an ambitious six-month feasibility study. The Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center has been retained as lead consultant, and the local firm of Lunning Wende Associates, Inc., will provide architectural services. There will also be a real estate marketing study, with a consultant to be selected. University UNITED will provide overall coordination of the project, as well as data gathering, survey, and mapping services.

Consultant Bios

Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center

Brian Coleman became CEO of GMDC in 2003, taking over from its founder. He supervises a staff of twelve and oversees GMDC's building portfolio, organizational operations and real estate development. Prior to joining GMDC, Brian worked for Kilby Management in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he oversaw light manufacturing, retail and condominium management and development. Brian also served as the Executive Director of the Journal Square Restoration Corporation in Jersey City, New Jersey, a local Business Improvement District. Prior to that he held positions with the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation and the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation. He is a Brooklyn native and a graduate of Marist College.

Kyle Merker, CFO, oversees all financial systems and operations for GMDC and its subsidiaries. Prior to joining GMDC, Kyle was CFO/Controller for AEA Consulting, a management consulting and market research firm specializing in cultural organizations. He has also worked as a freelance consultant for both non-profit and for-profit companies, including Leveraging Investments in Creativity, Children's Television Workshop, Thomas Publishing, Permanent Publishing USA, Urban Climber Magazine, and The Ali Forney Center. He has also held positions at Fusebox, The Interep Radio Store, Arthur Andersen and The Plaza Hotel. Kyle has served on Manhattan's Community Board 5 for 10 years, and served as chair for four of those years. He has served on several boards in New York City, including several Business Improvement Districts, Political Clubs and Non Profits. He currently is the chair of the board of the Ali Forney Center. He is a graduate of New York University's Stern School of Business.

Paul Parkhill, Director of Planning and Development, is an urban planner with 17 years of experience in real estate development and community planning. Since joining GMDC in 1999, Paul has worked on all aspects of the organization's real estate, planning and renewable energy projects, and coordinated GMDC's response to the North Brooklyn rezoning. He has also worked as a consultant for a variety of organizations including the Citizen's Housing and Planning Council, Queens Community Board 2, the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Asian Americans for Equality, Safe Harbors on the Hudson, Civic Builders, and the Fifth Avenue Committee. Between 1994 and 1999, Paul worked as a housing developer for Common Ground Community, a Manhattan-based supportive housing provider. He is co-founder and co-director of Place in History, a non-profit that sponsors neighborhood planning, history and public art projects, and is the co-author of a recently published book on Long Island City. Paul holds a BA from Brown University and a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University.

Cassandra Smith, Project Manager, is a planner and preservationist who manages real estate and planning projects for GMDC. Cassandra joined GMDC in the summer of 2006, and has played a critical role in the historic rehabilitation of 221 McKibbin Street. While in graduate school, she worked in marketing and research at Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners. Prior to graduate school, she worked with community organizers at Partnerships for Parks, a jointly funded program of the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation and the City Parks Foundation from 2000 until 2003. She was an assistant construction site supervisor for Habitat for Humanity in both New York City and Oakland, CA from 1998 until 2000, where she was part of the team that supervised one of the organization's Jimmy Carter Work Projects. She holds a BA in Sociology from Mills College and dual Masters Degrees in Urban Planning and Historic Preservation from Columbia University.

Lunning Wende Associates, Inc., Architects

Bob Lunning has over thirty years experience in community planning, building design, and urban design, as a Principal with Lunning Wende Associates. His building designs include numerous single and multi-family residential projects, a range of educational and cultural facilities, and historic building renovations. Bob has participated in numerous community planning efforts along the Central Corridor as well as Payne-Phalen and District del Sol neighborhoods in Saint Paul. He led the predesign planning for a city-state partnership that resulted in the $250,000,000 State of Minnesota offices and laboratories project in downtown Saint Paul. His designs have been recognized in local and national competitions and have received awards from AIA/Minnesota, Committee on the Urban Environment, Minnesota Preservation Alliance, and New York Home Best in Green Building. Bob has served on the City of Saint Paul's Planning and Heritage Preservation Commissions. In addition to his environmental design practice, Bob is a consultant with Forecast Public Art focusing on art-based community development.

Scott Wende has practiced as an Architect and Urban Designer for the past 36 years. Drawing upon his experience with community and neighborhood planning, Scott has led planning efforts in the Elliot Park, Phillips, Payne-Phalen, and District del Sol neighborhoods. His interest in the revitalization of warehousing/industrial districts started with his participation in the re-use study and inventory of the Minneapolis Warehouse District. In addition, recent projects have focused on the "green" and sustainable aspects of urban redevelopment. Scott has managed and designed complex projects ranging from mixed-use developments to educational facilities. He has served as Chair of the Urban Design Committee of the Minneapolis Chapter of AIA/Minnesota and also as President of the Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association. Scott's community planning and urban design projects have received awards from AIA/Minnesota and the Committee on the Urban Environment.

Funding: Saint Paul Foundation and Central Corridor Funders Collaborative
Project Partners: Sparc - University UNITED - St. Anthony Park Community Council

Advisory Group:

Stuart Alger, Esq., Leonard Street Deinard, and Chair, University UNITED
Eric Batiza, Colliers International Real Estate
John Bennett, Western Bank
Jeff Dahlin, E&L Bindery, Business and Property Owner
Catherine Reid Day, Storyslices, LLC, and Chair, Creative Enterprises Zone
James Garrett, Jr., AIA, 4RM+ULA, Architects
Louis Jambois, President, St. Paul Port Authority
Marcia McEachron, Metal Sculptor
Paul J. McGinley, Loucks Associates, and Chair, Midway Chamber of Commerce
Christine Podas-Larson, President, Public Art Saint Paul
Russ Stark, City Councilmember, St. Paul
Fred Zimmerman, Retired Professor of Manufacturing at University St. Thomas

Project updates will be posted at For additional information, call Brian McMahon at (651) 647-6711, or at
Information on the "Greenpoint model" can be found at

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University UNITED Reports on Industry/ Manufacturing/ Employment

Midway University Business Retention and Expansion Program
Study and report for University UNITED in partnership with the Minnesota Retention and Expansion Strategies Program, Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota, 1996
A community Task Force did an in-depth study of 31 manufacturing firms to identify concerns so that local business climate could be improved.
Click here for report

Study of Midway Manufacturing Trends
University UNITED, 2003
Extensive employment analysis documenting the loss of manufacturing jobs over the previous decade.

St. Paul Industrial Midway Framework Plan
Prepared for University UNITED by Dan Petrik, June 2004
Summarizes overall manufacturing trends, provides extensive site analysis of over 600 acres of the industrial Midway, and presents a planning vision for future development. This report complements the Southeast Minneapolis Industrial Plan (SEMA) from May, 2001.

Freight Village: Creating Compatibility Out of Conflicting Land Uses As An Urban Village
Prepared for University UNITED by Christopher Ochs, 2006
This is a development vision that builds upon the continued use of the Midway industrial area as a major transit hub and introduces a mix of new land uses.

Analysis of Future Transportation Needs on St. Paul and Minneapolis Industrial Areas Under Proposed Development Scenarios
Prepared for University UNITED by Transportation Policy Institute, 2005
This report analyzes transportation impacts of anticipated future development and compares to current and planned transit capacity.

A Conceptual Plan for Fairview and University
Prepared for University UNITED by Hokanson/ Lunning/ Wende
January, 2005
This architectural firm did a schematic master plan that demonstrated development opportunities and challenges at this intersection.

Rethinking the Midway Industrial District
University UNITED, August 2011
This report presents a conceptual vision of how land use in the industrial area can be intensified and employment densities increased by utilizing a variety of strategies including mixed-use development, conversion of existing factories, creation of a "Greenpoint" type project, utilization of liner buildings, and an enhanced infrastructure.

St. Anthony Park Arts Study
Peter Mathison, for University UNITED, 2010
A baseline survey was done of artists' workspaces and analyzed in the context of the Twin Cities.

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