Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist

Lake Street Station Plan

Dateline: 10:09 am July 16, 2010 Filed under:

I recently participated in the creation of a master plan vision for a prominent transit-oriented development site at the southwest quadrant of Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue. The master plan vision/development concept is a collaboration with the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization, the BKV Group and a team of developers. I represented my firm, Joe Urban, Inc., in largely a market research role. You can view the plan here.

The driving objective of the master plan vision is to build on past plans and provide the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization with a means of helping to inform the approvals process when the Minneapolis Public Schools issues an RFP for the six-plus acre site, located immediately adjacent to the Lake Street light rail station. This site is one of the biggest TOD potentials nationwide.

The existing and beloved Midtown Farmers Market, which operates seasonally on a parking lot on the site, is perhaps the main driver of the plan. Under this guide plan, it will be located on an attractive public square, surrounded by a variety of housing and a high-quality public realm.

From the market offers some challenges, particularly in today’s economy. But we must remember that whatever plan is ultimately approved will be built over a period of years and perhaps a decade, so we must consider long-term demographic trends and not just the current reality. Furthermore, it would be easy to dismiss the area as simply a place for affordable housing. Not so. There are plenty of examples of market rate housing built recently in Midtown and other similar urban locations that have defied conventional wisdom and are successful. Furthermore, I attended nearby South High in the early 1990s, and if you told me then that in 2010 I’d be sitting on the sidewalk patio of the Town Talk Diner, located a couple blocks away, I wouldn’t have believed you, given the condition of Lake Street and its environs back then. But there is a lot of positive momentum in the area, and add the fantastic rail connection to downtown Minneapolis and the airport, and you have a lot of upside potential.

At this time, there is no way to predict who will respond to the Minneapolis Public Schools’ RFP, and with what development plan. For now, the master plan vision we helped put together provides a compelling example to be followed.


  1. […] been involved on a pro bono professional basis on this project, as I originally reported at Joe Urban and updated last year.  I was brought in to be part of the BKV design team starting in 2009 […]

    Pingback by Joe Urban » Blog Archive » The Midtown Farmers Market – Can a TOD Happen? (Take 2) — September 11, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

  2. […] in fits and starts. Those visions, hopes, and disappointments were chronicled in several posts in 2010, 2012 and […]

    Pingback by Joe Urban » Blog Archive » Can Minneapolis Finally Pull off a High-Quality TOD? — April 2, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

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