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Skyway Open – February 21-23

Friday, February 21st, 2014

The skyways from IDS to City Center are buzzing with excitement for the 8th Annual USBank Skyway Open. Skyway My Way decided to do a little investigative journalism and find out what the USBank Skyway Open is all about.

First we spoke with Sam Maguire, Skyway Open Chairperson. (When he’s not organizing elaborate miniature golf tournaments, Sam is an Associate with Jones Lang LaSalle.) And then we talked with one of the student designers of the 16th hole, Nate McKewon.

Skyway My Way: What is the Downtown Network and why do you put on the Skyway Open every year?
Sam Maguire:

  • The Downtown Network is a group of professionals that work in downtown Minneapolis and get together on a monthly basis to network. The Skyway Open, sponsored by USBank for the last 8 years, features 19 one-of-a-kind miniature golf holes, and benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities. Golfers are invited to sign up on our website here:
  • This year the U.S. Bank Skyway Open is expected to bring over 1000 golfers to the downtown skyway system, and is designed to draw all ages – from downtown professionals to families looking for children-friendly activities. Friday’s participation includes access to the course and to the 19th Hole Celebration. Saturday will provide golfers with access to the course and many children’s activities & Sunday a last chance to hit the links!

SMW: Who designs the holes?

  • Architecture and design firms from the Twin Cities have designed most of the holes. And, this year we’re excited to have three student groups:
  1. American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) Minnesota (University of Minnesota School of Architecture)
  2. Dunwoody College of Technology
  3. The Art Institute of Minneapolis

SMW: What guidelines to you give each team?

  • This year’s theme is “Minneapolis Neighborhoods — Putt the City.” Each team was challenged to create 19 golf holes that capture the personalities of the city’s neighborhoods.

We also spoke with Nate McKewon, President of the AIAS-MN Chapter, and student of archtiecture at the U.

SMW: Tell us about your design.

  • We chose the Stone Arch Bridge as the centerpiece of our design. Golfers have a shot at a hole-in-one, but if the ball falls off the 6″-wide bridge it will land in the Mississippi River (folded blue carpeting). We wanted to focus on the idea of “bridging” and making connections between students and the professional community.

SMW: What is that trapezoidal shape at the beginning of the hole?
NM: It’s a plan view of Ralph Rapson Hall at the University of Minnesota.

Hole #16 Team: AIAS-MN

Hole #17 Team: Dunwoody

Hole #18 Team: Art Institute of Minneapolis

All three student holes as viewd from the skyway over Crystal Court

Here are few of the other holes:

Tangle Town

Another view of the Stone Arch Bridge

Old Maps of Minneapolis

Putt the City

Monday, February 17th, 2014
The flavors of different Minneapolis neighborhoods will be featured at this year’s U.S. Bank Skyway Open in downtown Minneapolis. The eighth annual miniature golf tournament runs Friday, Feb. 21 through Sunday, Feb. 23.

This year’s theme is “Minneapolis Neighborhoods — Putt the City.” Local architects and designers were challenged to create 19 golf holes that capture the personalities of the city’s communities. For the first time, this year’s course layout will include designs by architecture and design students from The Art Institutes, Dunwoody College of Technology and the University of Minnesota. Skyway My Way hopes to be able to interview one or two of the contestants to tell our fair blog readers about what goes into creating a miniature golf hole. Stay tuned.

The layout will cover much of the Minneapolis skyway system, including City Center and the IDS Center. The event is hosted by the Downtown Network and benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities. Online registration is now available through Eventbrite here. Register your foursome today (and bring your family on the weekend!)

White Way Cleaners (Soon to be St. Croix Cleaners!)

Monday, February 10th, 2014
One of the many services available in the skyways is dry cleaning. And, one of the dry cleaners with 5 skyway locations (IDS, City Center, USBank PlazaHighland Bank Court, and Campbell Mithun) is White Way Cleaners. Recently, Skyway My Way spoke with Kelley Nemec, Marketing Manager for St. Croix/White Way Cleaners.

SMW: Tell me about White Way Drying Cleaning and why the name change?

  • White Way dates back to 1895, when we delivered our dry cleaning by horse and carriage. Today, we have 20 locations and 110 employees. In 2010, St. Croix Cleaners bought White Way Cleaners. In the coming months we will be renovating our White Way locations and changing the name to St. Croix Cleaners.

SMW: What makes White Way unique?

  • We use environmentally friendly processes that doesn’t smell and won’t damage your clothes – not to mention the environment! For the last 7 years, we have won the prestigious “Seal of Approval” in Dry Cleaning awarded to cleaners who demonstrate a high level of professional expertise, customer service and consistent quality cleaning.
  • Our Campbell Mithun location offers 24/7 automated drop off and pick up. And, our other skyway locations offer text message and email reminders when your garments are ready to be picked up.
SMW: How can downtown professionals best take advantage of your services?

  • We offer a pick up and drop off services. Whether you’re a downtown professional or live downtown, we will come to your office/home, pick up your clothes and drop them off – with no extra charge!
  • Set up an account with us and we can bill you monthly – saving you time in the store. Just drop off your bag, pick it up two days later and we’ll bill your credit card.
SMW: What other services do you offer? And, what is “Treasured Garment Restoration”?
  • Alterations/seamstress – we’ll hem pants and make any other adjustments you need done. As for “Treasured Garment Restoration”, it is a specialty division of St Croix and White Way Cleaners.  We will take your mother’s wedding gown, for example, and update/modify it for today’s bride. But it’s not just wedding gowns, we work with the Guthrie and Minnesota Opera on their costumes – so bring us any important garment and we’ll help you clean and restore it!

New Look for the New Year

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Happy belated New Year to all of you.

In case you didn’t notice, we (think) we’ve improved the layout of the home page so that you have better visibility within the skyway map.  We first developed the site over three years ago, so it was time for a face lift.  Expect more improvements over the next year, as the new year always invigorates us to do more!  Plus, it’s too cold to do anything else but sit inside and try to be productive.

Let us know what you think of the new look.

Soo Line Skyway Now Open!

Monday, October 21st, 2013

The skyway from the Fifth Street Towers to the Soo Line Building is open again! And although the mural we liked is gone (see below), the new lobby and staircase certainly does make an impression. According to the nice lady at the front desk, the new apartments are already 50% occupied. So, if you want to live here, you’d better act fast. With studios starting at $1,050 and two-bedrooms starting at $1,750 and amenities like a “Sky Club” on the 20th floor, skyway connection, and wine bar/restaurant (Meritage?) going into the main level in the “spring timeframe” – seems like the place to be.

If want to take a look at an apartment, you’ll need an appointment. Call Marissa Benthin at 612 808 6820.

Soo Line Lobby

Old mural above staircase (artists: K. Blassingame and Elise Kinkead, 1993).

Before the Renovation

Removing those hideous louvers and bringing back the arched windows

Built in 1915

Whither the Skyway?

Friday, September 6th, 2013

With so many apartments, condos, and businesses moving into the warehouse district, one of the most common questions we get is where is the closest skyway entrance?

If you’re north of Second Avenue, the best entrance is probably the C Ramp – but that means you have to walk 2,500 feet (half mile) through the barren wastelands of C Ramp, B Ramp, Target Center and Block E before you get to City Center. A better alternative is to enter through the Lumber Exchange building on Hennepin and Fifth Street. First of all, the Lumber Exchange building is the oldest building on the skyway (built in 1886) and worth a visit. Second, the Indian buffet at Copper Pot and gyros at Trieste Cafe make great destinations in themselves. Third, after you enter through the spinning brass doors off Hennepin Ave, the marble-clad lobby (see photo below) is a joy to inhabit. The well-worn stairs (127 years of feet carving deep divots) and the carved newel post make the Lumber Exchange possibly the best kept secret entrance to the skyways. And, once you’ve made it to the Lumber Exchange building, you’re only 844 feet (.16 miles) to City Center.

Lumber Exchange Lobby

Lumber Exchange Newel Post

C Ramp Entrance

Get Down!

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

An awesome new video from the Minneapolis Downtown Council.

A Skyway for Bikes

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

A London architect has proposed a Skyway for bikes. We love the idea! However, points out that ”this could be a big win for bikers, graffiti artists, and people who like to pee on the side of the road.”

Yamasaki’s Minneapolis Parthenon

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

One of our fair readers pointed out that in our blog post below we omitted Yamasaki’s ING building at 20 Washington Ave as one of the better structures emerging from the destruction of the 1960s. We totally agree and seek forgiveness based on the fact that there are no skyways to 20 Washington Ave – so we rarely make our way over there.

The Minneapolis interpretation of the Parthenon, the ING Building terminates Nicollet Mall on the north end. In 1964, Seattle-born architect Minuro Yamasaki (best known for his design of the Twin Towers in New York) designed the temple-like structure for the company that when then known as the Northwestern National Life Insurance Company (later Reliastar, and now ING).

There are two other Yamasaki buildings that are less beautiful but are skyway connected (100 and 111 Washington Ave – all three were sold in 2008 to a partnership of Hines Interests and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System). In fact, 100 Washington reminds me of the Pixar short where a big bird lands on a telephone wire, where the skyway stretches unbowed by the weight on its way to The Churchill apartments.

Lobby, “Sunlit Straw”above, a sculpture by Harry Bertoia

100 Washington Ave

111 Washington Ave

An Ode to International Style

Friday, September 21st, 2012

With the recent renaming of One Financial Plaza to Canadian Pacific Plaza – we thought this would be a good time to take a moment and reflect upon the building’s architectural style and the fact that it is an example of something done right in a decade when many architectural gems in Minneapolis were torn down. Built in 1960, the building’s International Style, an unadorned name for an unadorned style, came about in the 1920s and 1930s and was defined by Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson in a book based on the following characteristics:

  • the expression of volume rather than mass
  • the emphasis on balance rather than preconceived symmetry
  • and the expulsion of applied ornament

Designed by Holabird Root & Burgee, with Thorshov & Cerny, and the only International Style building in Minneapolis, Canadian Pacific Plaza has all of the requisite traits beginning with minimalist detailing and a low-slung 5-story base and a slim 28-story tower off-set favoring the Second Avenue side.

It looks diminutive and almost tucked away amongst its towering neighbors of USBank Plaza, Capella Tower, and the Fifth Street Towers. But, it must have seemed very modern as the first big building in post-WWII Minneapolis. The only other notable building built downtown in the 60s is McGladrey Plaza (formerly Midwest Plaza) — and notable only because it was the fictional office of Mary Tyler Moore.

Part of the renovation in 1981, the spacious plaza was clipped but still allowing for a tennis court to fit during the Aquatennial - one of our favorite lunch-time activities in July.

Next door is the Soo Line Building, where 400 CP employees had been officing (since 1915) and have now moved to Canadian Pacific Plaza. Meanwhile, the Soo Line Building is being renovated into condominiums.

While One Financial Plaza was opening it’s doors, just two blocks down the Metropolitan Building was being razed. What a contrast.

1961 demolition of the Metropolitan Building