Riverside Plaza, Minneapolis
Riverside Plaza is about to get a $65 million facelift.
When architect Ralph Rapson designed the Riverside Plaza apartments in the early 1970s, he envisioned a chic living space reflective of modernist design. At first the apartments seemed fitting with the time and were even pictured as where Mary Richards lived on "The Mary Tyler Moore" show.
But over the years the colored panels on the buildings have faded, and the apartments have aged. Now it serves as a symbol of Minneapolis' immigrant population, offering affordable housing in a neighborhood often referred to as "Little Mogadishu." It is the largest affordable housing development in the state, serving approximately 4,440 residents.
A shot of Riverside Plaza's modernist interior, circa 1973
Today formally marks the start of a project that will renovate 1,303 units as well as common areas, and expand the neighboring Cedar Riverside Community School. Improvements will include work on energy efficiency and public safety. It will even restore the exterior panels to their original colors.
Work actually began in February; 65 units are being renovated each month through October 2012. Meanwhile, affected residents are temporarily relocating to "hotel" units while their unit is under construction.
The renovation and refinancing of the Riverside Plaza is, according to the city of Minneapolis, one of the largest HUD-supported projects in the country, totalling $132 million. The project will create 200 construction jobs, of which 90 are reserved for Minneapolis residents, with an emphasis on employing residents of the neighborhood.
Riverside Plaza was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in December 2010. Architect Ralph Rapson is best known for designing the original Guthrie Theater, which was torn down in 2006
A design rendering of the Riverside Plaza by Ralph Rapson
1. No, Mary's house was *always* shown to be in a house near Lake of the Isles. SOMEBODY needs to go to the video store and rent a DVD.
2. This was the most misguided, bound to fail project in the Twin Cities. It's bad enough that Rapson's Brutalist style (that's the official name of the style he works in) is cold and forbidding, and that the scale makes it utterly impersonal. But . . .
3. Only certain sections of it were built to be upscale. Most of it was built to house the poor. As a result, as so often happens in this country, it was cheaply built, never maintained, and within a few years was falling apart. When I got here in 1975, the grad students living there regularly had broken pipes, heat going out in the winter, and rusty water.
4. Why on earth anyone ever wanted to put it on the National Register of Historic Places I will never understand. It can't, alas, be torn down, because the city needs affordable housing. Therefore, I'm glad it's getting the $65 million. Riverside Plaza won't be any less depressing, but it may become more habitable.
Daniel - I don't know what to tell you about no.1 - I've just skimmed through several episodes of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, seasons two and three (now available on Hulu, I've discovered), and as far as I can tell, you are absolutely right. I was using Wikipedia as my source... I'll see if I can get any more specific information as to where that tidbit is cited.
At the end of season 6 she moved to the river side apartments.
Shame on Daniel for being so matter-of-fact and shame on Marianne for relying on Wikipedia for journalism. ; )
By the way... I'm an unemployed soon-to-be journalism grad. Any fact-checking jobs at MPR?...
Daniel, the Riverside Plaza is indeed an example of brutalist architecture. But this is not the only style Rapson worked in. Look at the many homes he designed or co-designed around the Saint Paul campus. Also, don't blame the architect for the failed social experiment.
It was in the later seasons of MTM that they 'modernized' Mary and moved her to Riverside. She had the majority of her famously bad parties there.
It's nice that they are fixing it up. In a few years it will be an up to date dump. At least change the colors in the panels on the outside to a new fresh set of colors.What can you expect from a bunch of free loaders as far as keeping the place looking nice.
This is great! The outside of the building- it's appearance didn't look so good to me, so I'm happy that they're doing some make-over to these building. It's like a 35 year old never getting a shower up until now.
It WAS ugly.
It IS ugly.
It WILL BE ugly.
Let's remember there are people living there. The discussion seems be missing the fact that these towers mostly house victims of traumatic war and extreme poverty (and their children). Babies, children, mothers, fathers, grandparents. The building may be ugly, but is the infrastructure safe? It seems to me that we ought to insure a solid foundation for the children who live there so that they can grow to lead fulfilling and healthy lives. I am glad that the city is working on the towers to fix the problems, both the asthetic and the pipes, walls, etc. It is encouraging to read that the community spaces and the school are benefitting as well.
I would not call the residents, "a bunch of freeloaders" either. @Jim: have you experienced years of civil war, famine, poverty, and horrific violence? How are the conditions into which they were born the fault of the children who live there?
When we are all doing better, we are all doing better.
Check out these young guys who are currently taking a lot of pride in their home Cedar Riverside.
The location of Riverside Plaza is the heart of the twin City, next to the university of Minnesota, Carlson school of management & Augsburg College, so Sherman Associate has to take step forwad, federal money have been allocated , it is a tax payers money, this just needs to fullfill the towers rennovation, to fix the pipes, and heating system, I am saying that Shemann Associate told for Riverside plaza residents, with an emphasis on employing residents of the neighborhood,
this may need to work together in transparent, to be live in healthy enviroment, and access to the affordable housing by the low income families in MN
I think Riverside Plaza is dynamic, interesting modernism, and I'd love to live there. As long as the rehab retains its historic appearance, it sounds like a terrific plan.