City preservation panel OKs A Mill towers' redesign

Schafer Richardson added more brick to the facades of the towers the firm proposes to build on Main Street SE.

Wild public hearing was longtime staffer's last

It was love at second sight on June 13 as the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission unanimously approved the redesign of four condo highrises for the Pillsbury A Mill site on Main Street SE.

The panel had rejected the towers six months earlier. Then Schafer Richardson successfully appealed the decision to the city council, which asked the developer to redesign the project to better fit the St. Anthony Falls Historic District and return to the HPC.

Commissioners liked what they saw the second time around: more masonry, less glass and steel.

The feeling wasn’t shared by everyone in the room. Andrew Kolstad of Dinkytown and his father, John, of Seward protested so long and loudly that HPC chair Phillip Koski closed the public hearing. Amidst the commotion, longtime HPC staff person Amy Lucas was heard to say, “And this is my last public hearing.” After the vote, Koski confirmed that Lucas is leaving her job as a preservation planner after more than a decade.

Hers is the second departure of a longtime city planning official to be announced in recent weeks. Earlier in the month, Mayor R.T. Rybak announced that he will replace Nicollet Island resident and University of Minnesota Urban Studies Professor Judith Martin on the Minneapolis Planning Commission; she has been a member of the commission for 15 years and its president for the last eight.

last revised: June 14, 2006