The Midtown Greenway Bike Trail running through south Minneapolis has seen significant revitalization since the early 2000’s. Once an abandoned railroad corridor, it now represents a “bicycle superhighway” for commuters and bike enthusiasts. The real estate on both sides of the trail has experienced significant development, including a number of upscale apartment building. The Bike Trail is at an elevation that is about 20’ below the street level, and thus retaining walls to stabilize the slopes for the developments above have become common place.
In 2014 construction began on the Elan Apartment complex. The developer wanted to utilize the Recon Old World product, to match existing Old World walls along this corridor.
The walls would be 21.33 feet in height on both the east and the west ends of the property, but the center 100-foot long section of the property was being designed to accommodate a terrace system to (a) allow residents to view the bike trail below from a large open courtyard that was in the center of the new apartments, and (b) have access from the courtyard to the bike trail. Between the two 21.33’ tall retaining walls on the east and west ends of the property would be a pedestrian bridge that connected the pedestrian sidewalk that runs along the corridor at the elevated street level.
Given that the real estate footprint for the walls was limited, it was decided to build this wall with a zero-degree batter. The layout of the walls and their construction according to plan was critical, given the bridge that spanned between them. In addition, certain areas of the project required that Recon supply the Old World face as a veneer, so that it could be attached around doorways that were a part of the building itself, but match the retaining walls that came right up to the doorways. The retaining walls were constructed using geogrid reinforcement. The result is a project that is a showpiece on the Midtown Greenway Bike Trail.
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