North Minneapolis amphitheater would feature marina, parks, 'residential towers,' giant glowing half-orbs

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At least they're not asking us to build new brightly painted half-moon things?

The public's getting a first look at a proposed amphitheater site that would instantly become a concert destination for artists and music fans in the Twin Cities.

If approve by the city government, the 10,000-seat outdoor concert and performance site would be the first and only in this area. First Avenue would handle management of the amphitheater space, and bookings would be handled with the help of Minnesota Public Radio's 89.3 The Current station, as well as the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Minnesota Opera. 

But the performance piece is only the glittering anchor of the broader project, which is aimed at revitalizing the defunct Upper Harbor terminal in north Minneapolis. (For reference: The site begins north and west of the Lowry Avenue bridge.) 

Other elements that could be coming to the 48-acre site owned by the city include roughly 1,000 units of housing in "residential towers," new city park land (featuring ice skating and rock climbing), "advanced manufacturing" business, and some sort of retail.

The water-facing side of the site would also feature a long, wide strip of cement for walking along the Mississippi River. 

The Business Journal notes that the plans submitted to the city have "what appears to be a marina." We at City Pages are going to go ahead and put these developers down for a marina -- an artist's rendering of a marina is a binding contract in some countries -- and wait for them to break our boat-loving hearts at a later date.

One of the most interesting visual elements of the artist's rendering turns out to be one of the least functional. That'd be the giant, brightly colored orbs sitting in the foreground; these half-moons will cast little rounded shadows in the park, and should make for a hell of a sight when concert-goers on hallucenogenic drugs turn away from the stage to catch a sunset. 

Turns out they're just nice-looking versions of the big ugly storage facilities that were used when the Upper Harbor was an actual harbor, and used to store stuff like coal or fertilizer. In the drawing, the domes have been redone with brightly colored paint, and one of them has stars  on it. 

Rock and roll!

As the planning document pitches it:

"The existing industrial structures are an incredible asset and an icon along the riverfront. We propose preserving and rehabilitation."

Sure. Plus they're probably expensive to take down and haul away.

Plans for building there (and what they're building) won't be finished until 2018, at the earliest, with "implementation" (read: building) beginning that year, and carrying on years into the future, depending on how many businesses and city folk express interest in relocating there.  

Click here to learn more about the artist's rendering and your ability to read small type.

Go here to learn more about public input on the proposal. Community members are invited to learn more and contribute their thoughts during a public meeting at Folwell Recreation Center on the evening of Thursday, November 3, or to fill out an online survey. 

The Minneapolis City Council and Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board are hoping to reach a decision about the project by March of next year. 


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