November 14, 2013 Mr. Chad Larsen, Chair Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission Public Service Center 250 S. 4th St., Room 300 Minneapolis, MN 55415 Dear Mr. Larsen, We are writing regarding the Ryan Companies’ application to authorize demolition of the Star Tribune Building, at 425 Portland Avenue. We strongly oppose this application and encourage the Heritage Preservation Commission to deny demolition and require a designation study to be conducted. We believe that the Star Tribune building can and should be preserved and reused, not as an impediment to the proposed Downtown East development but as an integral part of it. We’re disappointed that reuse has evidently not been more strongly considered as an option for this landmark structure.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune building is historic.
It is worthy of local designation as a Minneapolis Landmark and it is probably eligible for listing in the National Register. We agree with the State Historic Preservation Office’s statement in the Final Environmental Impact Statement. The CPED Staff Report is also in agreement that “The property appears to meet two of the significance criteria listed in section 599.210, thus the property appears to meet the definition of a historic resource.”
The building type and location make it a rarity
. It is an excellent example of Art Moderne architecture and one of the few surviving historic buildings in the neighborhood. In a neighborhood full of parking lots, it seems hasty to tear down one of the only existing buildings to create more open space.
There are other options for building a large park in this neighborhood without necessitating demolition of the building.
The CPED Staff Report’s findings note that the building is in sound condition and that “reasonable alternatives to demolition exist, but the applicant wishes to use the entire block as a park.” The proposed park, however, encompasses
blocks, and potentially could proceed even without demolition of this building—the park could flow around the structure, and with proper rehabilitation and reuse, the two could have a highly symbiotic relationship. It would require a bit of creative design, to be sure, but such challenges are common in any confined urban landscape. Indeed, it is the imaginative integration of the existing context—rather than simply tearing it down and starting anew—that truly elevates the best public spaces, giving them a singular sense of place.