Development update: North Loop Master Plan pilots a wiki

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December 7, 2009 // UPDATED 10:28 am - December 7, 2009
By: Amanda Kushner
Amanda Kushner
North Loop Master Plan pilots a wiki

In efforts to increase engagement in the North Loop Master Plan, a wiki will allow stakeholders to edit the document during the 45-day review period starting on Dec. 7, said David Motzenbecker, president of the city’s Planning Commission and a landscape architect with Oslund and Associates.

The North Loop Master Plan will set policy guidelines for land use and development in the North Loop.

Motzenbecker developed the idea when he began to notice a lower turnout at public meetings. He wanted to make the document available on a 24-hour basis so the public could review it while they’re having coffee on a Saturday morning or later in the evening when kids are tucked in bed.

“I think this kind of rekindles that ability of the polis, the people, to help influence decisions on where they live and engage in a new type of community forum,” he said.

The wiki will supplement e-mail responses and calls to drafts, which are other avenues in place to respond to the document, Motzenbecker said. Using new technology will target groups who aren’t targeted with standard participation methods — specifically younger generations that are accustomed to engaging in electronic medium, he said.

“Hopefully the goal is over time this type of process will help to create a better synergy in the public engagement realm,” he said.

The wiki is more than an opportunity to respond, it allows for participants to craft the document, similar to Wikipedia, he said. The wiki is open to all, and those interested can log in and then edit. Also the program tracks all changes, even if they aren’t visible in the most recently updated version of the document. This active record can help the city pinpoint areas that are constantly changed and also areas left untouched. While this is a supplement to the existing process the city will have the final say in edits or changes following the 45-day review period.

The wiki was tested on a smaller scale when an urban design chapter of a comprehensive plan was tested through the Minnesota chapter of the American Society for Landscape Architects. A personal request was sent to those in the design and planning professions to participate, and the wiki had more than 1,000 views and about 180 changes in six weeks, Motzenbecker said.

Motzenbecker’s personal goal is that a wiki will become a standard planning process where people are tapped earlier to help create ideas and agendas rather than just responding, he said.

“I strongly believe that public participation is going this direction, and I think cities and municipalities that don’t embrace this type of style of public engagement are going to be left behind,” he said.

The wiki is hosted on the North Loop Neighborhood Association’s website at northloop.org or go to northloopsap.wetpaint.com/.

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Looking for free space?


For any business owner looking for office space Downtown, check out the 701 Building give-away from CB Richard Ellis. The grand prize for the give-away is a free 2,010-square-foot office space with a signed lease in 2010 through the end of the year. The value of the space is $40,000.

“We are just trying to see what we could do to stimulate activity in the Minneapolis market,” said Erin Fitzgerald Wendorf. CB Richard Ellis devised the program based on what the government has done with other stimulus packages such as cash for clunkers and for new homebuyers, she said.

The 701 recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation where the landlord made improvements that catered to business operation needs, she said.

“This offer is really just an extension of that. It is just really doing what we as landlords can do to help the businesses in our building succeed,” Wendorf said.

Since announcing the giveaway there has been a groundswell of activity, she said.

The building has about 120,000 square feet of vacant space, and within that there are about six different offices ranging in size that could be leased as they are today.

Representatives can enter the give-away through Dec. 31 when they come for a showing. The winner will be determined Jan. 7 at a noon luncheon, and the giveaway is tied to a 3-year lease. For those attending that are not the winner a new tenant stimulus package is available. As part of the package tenants can choose free voice and data installation or reimbursed moving expenses.

To schedule an appointment to win call Wendorf at 353-2113.

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NAI Welsh to lease 100, 111 Washington Square

Hines has hired NAI Welsh to lease office towers 100 and 111 Washington Square. The 100 Washington Ave. building is 22 stories and is designed by Minoru Yamasaki, and 111 Washington Ave. is 12 stories and designed by BWBR Architects. Welsh is headquartered in Minnetonka.