Friday, August 23, 2019

Exploring The Twin Cities Light Rail Transit System--South Minneapolis Stations


Exploring the Twin Cities Metro via the Light Rail by Matt Eckholm, guest blogger.

With two lines and 36 stations, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro light rail system is a convenient way to get around the city. Though unless you’re regularly taking the train to a variety of places, it’s easy to think of the Blue Line as just the downtown to airport line, or the Green Line as the downtown to downtown line. In reality, those 36 stations offer connections to an incredible array of entertainment, shopping, food, and sights across the Twin Cities.

In the second part of this series on the
Twin Cities light rail , we’re going to look the Blue Line's South Minneapolis stations and the surrounding areas, including neighborhoods, sights, and destinations. In subsequent weeks we will explore the other sections of the Blue line which include Fort Snelling and Airport, followed up by Bloomington. After which we will switch to the Green line, divided into University of Minnesota, University Avenue, and Downtown St. Paul. The five stations shared between the Blue and Green lines in Downtown Minneapolis were covered together in a previous post. section. And finally the outlier of the Twin Cities rail transit family, Northstar Commuter Rail, will be covered in a separate article.

Blue Line--South Minneapolis


After leaving Downtown Minneapolis, the Blue Line serves several south Minneapolis neighborhoods on its way down Hiawatha Avenue. While at first glance it might be easy to sort these stations as local connections to destinations in Downtown Minneapolis or Bloomington, south Minneapolis has plenty of entertainment to offer visitors and locals alike.


First up is Cedar-Riverside Station, directly serving this eclectic neighborhood with the same name. It is home to renowned music venues like the Cedar Cultural Center and Nomad World Pub (and formerly the much loved Triple Rock), delicious cuisine at The Red Sea and Acadia Cafe, and access to sections of the University of Minnesota East Bank Campus and Augsburg University, this is a stop with a lot going on! As the name of the station implies, this station mainly serves the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, but since it’s also within walking distance of the Green Line’s East Bank Station, a stop at Cedar-Riverside can also include destinations at the U of M or Augsburg University.


Franklin Avenue Station is the next stop of the Blue Line, elevated above Franklin Avenue and the Ventura Village, Phillips, and Seward neighborhoods. Like the Cedar-Riverside station, its home to several well loved music venues, including Whiskey Junction and The Cabooze. To the east, you can find the Milwaukee Avenue Historic District, a neighborhood street that’s been frozen in time to preserve a piece of 19th Century Minneapolis history. And to the west, the station offers direct access to the Minneapolis American Indian Center, which features a library, cafe, and provides community and services to First Nations people in the region.


Lake Street Station is a link between the Blue Line and one of South Minneapolis’ major commerce streets. To the east of the station is the Corcoran neighborhood, home to a wide variety of small shops, museums, and cafes. Highlights include the Somali Museum of Minnesota, Ingebretsen’s Scandinavian Gifts & Cafe, Quatrefoil Library, and the fantastic Midtown Global Market, a former Sears receiving facility from the 1900s that’s been transformed into an indoor shopping center featuring goods and foods from around the world. To the west, Lake Street station is a gateway to the Longfellow Neighborhood, the start of the Minnehaha Avenue corridor of shops and entertainment. Here you’ll find Moon Palace Books, Peace Coffee, the Trylon Microcinema, and Minnehaha Scoop, a neighborhood summer favorite. Lake Street station also serves as the Blue Line’s connection to the Midtown Greenway, a bike highway situated in an old railroad corridor, that stretches from West River Parkway to Uptown Minneapolis and suburban cities to the west. 


38th St Station is a sleepier station than many of the other Blue Line stops thus far. No music venues or major commercial streets are connected here in the shadow of the old grain mills. To the east is the largely residential Standish neighborhood. Not much within walking distance of the station, but a few gems are the Standish Cafe, Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub, and the Hennepin Overland Railway Historical Society, a model train museum. Minnehaha Avenue continues to run parallel to the Blue Line to the west, meaning 38th Street offers another intersection of sights to see with this eclectic corridor. As you travel into the Howe neighborhood, you’ll find the Tapestry Folkdance Center, the Howe Daily Kitchen and Bar, Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater and School, as well as the Riverview Theater further down 38th.


46th St Station boasts two unique offerings to Blue Line travelers. First, the station offers access to the north entrance of Minnehaha Regional Park, making this the station to choose if you’re meeting friends at the beloved Sea Salt Restaurant, or want easy access to the falls themselves. A new development at this station has brought a small, urban format Cub Foods and walkup Caribou Coffee to the neighborhood, making this a great urban pocket outside of the larger neighborhoods of Minneapolis. 46th St Station also serves as the end of the line for the Metro A-Line rapid bus, which serves points along Ford Parkway in the Highland Park neighborhood in Saint Paul, as well as destinations along Snelling Avenue, all the way to Roseville in the northern metro suburbs. If your final destination is in Saint Paul, but its not served by the Green Line, the A-Line is a great choice to get you there quickly. This station also connects riders to Minnehaha Parkway, a part of the Minneapolis Grand Rounds park system,  as well as the Ericsson and Hiawatha neighborhoods.


50th St/Minnehaha Park Station provides a second opportunity for Blue Line riders to enjoy the beautiful Minnehaha Park. This station provides access to the Minnesota Valley State Trail, allowing riders to start their bike excursion to the Fort Snelling area and beyond. Apart from that, this station also serves the Minnehaha neighborhood of Minneapolis. Unfortunately, the restaurant directly adjacent to the station is closed, but we’ll see how long that remains the case.

VA Medical Center Station is the final station located in South Minneapolis. Directly connecting to the major hospital and Veterans Affairs Department, this station also connects to local bus routes and serves the Morris Park neighborhood at the southern end of the city of Minneapolis. From this point onwards, we’re looking at a series of stations that serve important functions in the Twin Cities region as a whole.
Stay tuned as the next installment will be a tour of South Minneapolis via the Blue Line.


Ready to make your move to a home near the Green or Blue Line?  If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2019 terieckholm.com

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Exploring The Twin Cities Light Rail Transit System--Downtown Stations

Exploring the Twin Cities Metro via the Light Rail by Matt Eckholm, guest blogger.

With two lines and 36 stations, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro light rail system is a convenient way to get around the city. Though unless you’re regularly taking the train to a variety of places, it’s easy to think of the Blue Line as just the downtown to airport line, or the Green Line as the downtown to downtown line. In reality, those 36 stations offer connections to an incredible array of entertainment, shopping, food, and sights across the Twin Cities.

In this series, we’re going to look at every single Twin Cities light rail station and the surrounding areas, including neighborhoods, sights, and destinations in the surrounding area. Each line will be divided up into sections - the Blue line will be divided into South Minneapolis, Ft. Snelling and Airport, and Bloomington sections, while the Green line will be divided into University of Minnesota, University Avenue, and Downtown St. Paul. The five stations shared between the Blue and Green lines in Downtown Minneapolis will be covered together in one section. And finally the outlier of the Twin Cities rail transit family, Northstar Commuter Rail, will be covered in a separate article.

Downtown Stations

Downtown Minneapolis is the common shared point between the Blue and Green light rail lines, meaning all five downtown stations are served by both lines. These five stations serve both as transfer points between the two light rail lines, but also as gateways to the incredible density of entertainment destinations in Minnesota’s largest city.

The current end of the line, Target Field Station, is intended to be the interchange between the current light rail lines, the planned Blue and Green line extensions, future commuter and intercity rail, and the new C-Line Rapid Bus service to Brooklyn Center. In short, it’s a hub of Minnesota transit activity. Surrounding the station is the North Loop, a trendy neighborhood that reclaims industrial warehouses into boutiques and lofts, which continues to grow up and out. If the name didn’t tip you off, Target Field Station has two platforms that directly serve the Minnesota Twins stadium, making it easy to step off the train and into the ballgame. The station will soon be home to a 2000 seat music venue, hotel, and apartments, meaning there’ll never be a dull moment nearby.

The next station is Hennepin Avenue/Warehouse District, in the middle of Minneapolis’ entertainment district. From here, it’s a quick walk to the Hennepin Theater District, First Avenue, the FIne Line Music Cafe, and a variety of restaurants and nightclubs. Sports fans can also enjoy a block walk to Target Center, home of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, which recently got a much needed facelift. Providing access to Hennepin Avenue also provides access to the Hennepin Avenue Bridge, which connects Downtown Minneapolis to Historic St. Anthony.

Nicollet Mall Station provides easy access to the city’s pedestrian mall, a hub of shopping and restaurant activity. A recently completed street renovation has provided a backdrop for some of Minneapolis’ skyline defining properties to do renovations of their own - the Dayton’s Project is a new retail concept coming to Minneapolis in 2020 that opens up a historic department store into a modern, street focused shopping experience. Further down, you can find Peavey Plaza, the Minnesota Orchestra, and Loring Park. Nicollet Mall connects to the West River Parkway to the north, which gives train riders access to the Mississippi River, Stone Arch Bridge, Mill Ruins Park, and the world renowned Guthrie Theater.

Government Plaza Station is a stop on the seat of power in Minneapolis. Hennepin County Government Center looms over the plaza, with Minneapolis City Hall on the other side. Coming soon, Minneapolis will be consolidating city operations in a new tower on a third side of the plaza, and Hennepin County will be moving some of its spread out operations to a recently purchased tower adjacent to their current one. This station also places riders close by the District Court of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Passport Agency, and bustling Washington Avenue.

US Bank Stadium Station is the final shared stop between the Blue Line and the Green Line in Downtown Minneapolis, and is generally the station riders choose to use as a transfer point between the two. As the station name helpfully reminds us, the focus of this station is US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings and one of two bank named football stadiums in Minneapolis. But in recent years, this station has become more than just a drop off point for game-day fans. The Commons park, stretching across two city blocks, has become the center of a new neighborhood called East Town. The old Minneapolis Armory has been renovated into a world class music venue, developments to the north and south of the Commons have brought hundreds of new residents to downtown, and it’s a stone’s throw from popular restaurants and theaters along Washington Avenue. This station also serves the Elliot Park neighborhood and Hennepin County Medical Center, and with the new Samatar Crossing, is directly connected to bike routes to South Minneapolis.


Stay tuned as the next installment will be a tour of South Minneapolis via the Blue Line.


Ready to make your move to a home near the Green or Blue Line?  If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2019 terieckholm.com

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Weekend Adventure--Train Days at Union Depot in St Paul MN

This past weekend I attended Train Days at Union Depot. This is a fun family event held annually at this historical downtown St. Paul train station.  It is a chance for train lovers of all ages to view walk through the beautifully renovated Union Depot and see vintage train engines and even stroll through restored dining and passenger cars of yesteryear.  There was an outdoor kid play area with food trucks and indoor events included model train displays, art activities, vendors and abundant photo ops.


One of the events was the opportunity to tour the Metro Transit Light Rail’s Green Line Operations and Maintenance facility. It is astounding to realize there are 46 trains that make up the Green Line along with an additional 46 trains being maintained at a similar facility on the far western end of the Blue Line. The Green Line trains are cleaned, maintained and housed at the Operations and Maintenance facility adjacent to CHS Field where the St. Paul Saints play their baseball games. It was an eye opening walk through viewing the pits and towers where teams of transit professionals keep everything moving from St. Paul to Minneapolis with many stops in between.

The metro light rail system is something that I am often asked about when home buyers are considering relocating to the Minneapolis/St Paul area. As anyone who knows me knows, I live in the far northern suburbs and have little chance to experience the light rail train system. To be honest, the tour was the first time I actually stepped foot onto one of these trains that are such an integral part of the cities transit system. 

With so many recurring questions I wanted to be able to share more about the light rail routes; specifically where do these 90+ trains go daily? To answer this important question,  I enlisted an expert in Twin Cities light rail travel to write a about the metro light rail system. This is a guided tour of sorts including highlights of all the stations along both active lines. I will be sharing these articles
in series of posts over the next couple of weeks so please check back to learn more about the Minneapolis/St. Paul transit system.

Ready to make your move to a home near the Green or Blue Line?  If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2019 terieckholm.com

Monday, June 3, 2019

Rent VS Buy? High Rents in 2019 Add to Homebuyer's Dilemma

Living in Minnesota is not as affordable as it once was. Home prices are continually increasing in the Minneapolis/St Paul metro. And to make things more stressful, rent costs in the Twin Cities are among the highest in the nation. Monthly rent costs for one and two bedroom units are nearly $1500 and $2000 respectively.  Check out this June 2019 report on rent prices nationwide.  

This leads many renters to ask, “Should I Buy instead of Rent?” It is a continuing dilemma facing many would be first time homebuyers. It also creates a lot of discussion and sometimes debate. So why is “Rent vs Buy?” such a tough question to answer? There are many variables in a home purchase investment. The biggest is location which can often determine the price of a home. We used to be blessed in the Minneapolis/St. Paul with reasonably affordable real estate. It wasn’t long ago where a first time homebuyer could get into a solid starter home for under $200,000. Now with higher rents and extremely low housing inventory, those homes are snapped up as soon as they list and often with multiple offers.  This low inventory has driven prices up but as rent continues to increase, it still makes a home purchase very attractive. 


But as mentioned earlier, several other factors do come into play when deciding whether renting or buying makes more sense to an individual’s needs. Taxes, insurance costs, maintenance, utilities, mortgage rates and how long you plan to stay in the home are a few of the things that need to be added into the rent versus buy equation. 


So, how do you best decide whether Renting or Buying is the best choice for you?  Check out the NY Times Rent VS Buy Calculator. This is an interactive tool where you will be able to adjust the graphs to what is happening in your market, your life and your future. The tool calculates where the breakeven rent versus buy point would be for you. 


Need additional help to decide if buying a home is right for you?   If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2019 terieckholm.com





Sunday, May 19, 2019

Speechless Sunday (Almost) Plant a Butterfly Garden



Walking through a park in Maplewood, Minnesota last summer, I came across directions posted on how to plant prairie butterfly garden.  Follow these simple directions to attract bumble bees and butterflies this spring and summer by planning your own blossom filled oasis. Black-eyed Susans, cone flowers, prairie phlox and clover are just a few of the native plants that are perfect additions to your landscape...if it ever stops raining, that is!

Gardens and perennial flower beds boost curb appeal by making a home cheerful and inviting if you should ever decide to sell too.

Need more landscaping tips to add value to your Ramsey County home? Ask Me! I Can Help!

 Need More Ideas Home Selling Tips? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2019 terieckholm.com

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Selling Your Home in the Spring 2019? Don't Forget to Stage the Exterior!


There is no question, homes are selling fast in the Twin Cities this spring! In many cases, the sold sign is hanging within a day or two of the post being put into the ground. On occasion however, a home might linger due to lack of curb appeal.  A home that oozes curb appeal is the reason people say "Honey, Stop the Car!" and "This is THE One!" without even stepping foot over the front door threshold. It can also be a determining factor in why some houses will have half a dozen offers the first day while others linger on the market. 

But what does a homeowner need to do to make their Minneapolis/St Paul home a neighborhood standout? One key is staging. Homes with great staging sell quickly and for top dollar. Sunny warm weather has many buyers searching for their dream home both online and in person. Potential buyers drive by properties and check out the neighborhood. They do a slow pass in front of new listings to see what each home's exterior looks like in real life. During the winter a fresh blanket of snow and shoveled the sidewalk are enough to jazz up the exterior of a Minnesota home. But in May and June, Minnesotan's can really make their home's curb appeal POP! Here are a few quick ideas:


  • ADD POPS of COLOR Even if you don't have a green thumb, invest in some bright colorful hanging baskets full of annuals for your front porch. Or put some planters with assorted plants on your front stoop. However, if you think you will be too busy to water the plants, it might be best to get a colorful flag or entry wreath instead. Dead plants in the doorway will be noticed too.
  • Frame with MULCH Not time to weed gardens near house? A fresh layer of colorful mulch can really add some pizazz to the landscape inexpensively.
  • CUT the GRASS If you home is on the market you have to make sure the lawn is manicured to perfection at all times. In fact, it is a very good idea to make sure all trees and shrubs are trimmed to show of the home too.
  • PAINT the FRONT DOOR There are no excuses for having a dirty, scuffed up front entry with peeling paint. If you want to sell to an FHA first time homebuyer, you need to address the peeling paint issue anyway so why not make a great first impression with a freshly painted front door and entry?
  •  SEAL COAT the ASPHALT If the driveway is looking more gray than black, a fresh coat of sealant can make a world of difference.
  • JAZZ UP the "SHE" SHED! Have a garden storage shed in your backyard? "She" sheds are IN! It is a beautified "makeover" of a basic shed with bright paint, fun planters, lights and decor that breathes new life into a boring, old shed. 

Have more questions about your selling your Anoka County home? Ask Me! I Can Help!

Need More Ideas Home Selling Tips? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
 

Copyright 2019 terieckholm.com

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Walking the Dog in 20 Below? Roseville MN has an INDOOR Option for That

For the past few years or so, my household has been cat friendly and canine free. However, this winter we have a guest in our Ham Lake acreage home. Spencer is a St Paul resident who's normal life includes daily doggie daycare, keeping the bunnies out of his fenced backyard and sharing the sidewalks daily with his canine friends. Spending weeks in Anoka County without neighbor dogs to hang with has been boring. The squirrels and white-tailed deer that frequent our backyard are fun to watch from the window but when Spencer goes out, only the tracks in the snow remain.

This past week has been the worst. Brutally cold below zero wind chills have made tracking interesting scents a less enjoyable adventure. Spencer is not an winter dog. As a terrier mix, the cold makes him shiver. He has had to don not only a coat but four  little booties to keep his feet warm as well. Anything longer than a 5 minute walk can be rather painful.

So early this morning we packed up Spencer and drove south about 20 minutes to Rosedale for the weekly indoor dog walking event. As feline owners, we were not prepared for the hundreds of people and pets walking through the Roseville shopping center so early in the morning. The final lines from Dr Suess's Go Dog Go came to mind..."Big dogs, Little dogs, Red dogs, Blue dogs all at a dog party!"

Spencer was in heaven! Forty-five minutes later after taking three laps around the mall, we were all ready for heading back home.

While living on acreage is an adventure, visiting other areas in the Twin Cities has it's perks. And as a local real estate agent, I find many fun events in the areas I serve. Roseville, Minnesota and other north metro communities have much to offer and it is fun to explore whether it's warm and sunny or seasonably cold.

Thinking of buying a home in the Twin Cities? Call me and let me help you find the perfect home to meet your family's requirements (and your pet's requirements too!) 

READY to Make YOUR Move? It IS essential to have a knowledgeable agent at your side. If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call at 651-336-7073 or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
 
Copyright 2019 terieckholm.com