E-DEMOCRACY | The Book House in Dinkytown: Threatened by rezoning?

From: Alan Muller Date: Jan 11 18:40

Are people aware that the continued existence of The Book House in Dinkytown, at least at it's current location (36 years, I think) is threatened by a proposed rezoning?

Some on it here:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Book-House-in-Dinkytown/157131333943

am

From: Dean Carlson Date: Jan 11 19:14

I can add a little:

The people who own the building(s) that is home to House of Hanson grocery store and the Book House is interested in selling. I think Opus has an option on purchasing the building but they want to build residential units on the site, no reuse the building as is. They would need a rezoning to do that. However according the the facebook page, The Book House is saying that Opus wants to rezone all of Dinkytown to Residential. That I hadn't heard of and think it would foolish for a variety of issues, including for Opus. But I don't know the issues surrounding the rezoning proposal.

Bottomline: House of Hanson and Book House site in big danger of being redeveloped for residential, with other potential impacts on Dinkytown.

Dean E. Carlson
Ward 10, East Harriet
(overlooks Dinkytown from my office)

From: Jim McGuire Date: Jan 11 19:24

There's a lot of information on The Book House page on Facebook that Alan links to (which is a public page). You don't have to have a Facebook account or friend The Book House to see it.

Nonetheless, since someone asked, the basic information from The Bookhouse states that owner of the building (and The House of Hanson) would like to sell. The building contains The House of Hanson, The Book House, and The Podium (and, I believe other businesses). The Opus Group is planning to buy the building and have requested a change in Zoning. They would like to raze the building and build more housing - presumably more luxury dorm rooms since that seems to be the only thing ever built in that area.

Even if they plan to have commercial property on the street level, and I don't know that they do, this is a big change (again) to the character of Dinkytown. I just emailed Diane Hofstede and cced Kevin Reich (my own City Council Person). A phone call is probably a better way to contact them, so I may do that as well.

Regardless, any further details anyone could provide about this proposal would be appreciated.

Jim McGuire
SE Como

From: Kay Nygaard-Graham Date: Jan 11 20:28

Connie,

I've downloaded a few posts I found for those of you who may have a similar non- relationship with Facebook. This first one is from Foster Morgan:

An update on the situation in Dinkytown: It is clear now that this issue is much broader than simply saving the building that we occupy. What the Opus Group would like is for Dinkytown to be re-zoned from a strictly commercial district to residential. This would be a drastic and unnecessary change for this little four block area that has meant so much to us and many other folks. Please write to City Hall and Alderperson Diane Hofstede and tell them you do not support altering the fundamental character of Dinkytown to suit the desires of one private business. Thanks for your support!

Hello to all of Al's friends and friends of Dinkytown. We would like you to contact the Minneapolis mayors office and Alderperson Diane Hofstede regarding the sale of the building that houses; The House of Hanson, The Podium and the Book House. These institutions, to the North of Al's, are awaiting the possibility of the wrecking ball as the owners of the House of Hanson are looking to sell. An interested buyer will tear it down and put up housing. We believe housing should not be put in the main business district. We are asking that the historic look of Dinkytown be saved. Minneapolis has lost so many wonderful building and areas to unsightly new buildings and housing is being built everywhere you look around Dinkytown. Please call 311, ask for the city hall number and voice your concern. Thanks.

Thanks Alan for the heads-up!
Kay Nygaard Graham (not smart enough not to have a FB account) CARAG

From: Jack Ferman Date: Jan 11 21:20

Thanks Alan for bringing this up. The content of the leading Facebook remark is:

"An update on the situation in Dinkytown: It is clear now that this issue is much broader than simply saving the building that we occupy. What the Opus Group would like is for Dinkytown to be re-zoned from a strictly commercial district to residential. This would be a drastic and unnecessary change for this little four block area that has meant so much to us and many other folks. Please write to City Hall and Alderperson Diane Hofstede and tell them you do not support altering the fundamental character of Dinkytown to suit the desires of one private business. Contact information is in the comments below. Thanks for your support!"

It is clear that Hofstede is medeling in other peoples' affairs. Lets hope Cam Gordon works to block her land give away.

Sent from my iPad
John Ferman
Kingfield Neighborhood
Minneapolis, MN
Email in header

From: Emilie Quast, SE Como Date: Jan 11 21:32

Al's Breakfast is at risk too, then.  IIRC, their north wall is that building's south wall

Dinkytown without Al's???

Or am I not seeing the boundaries correctly

From: Bill Kahn Date: Jan 11 22:21

The Podium should have historic landmark status by now;-) I guess it is really no joke since Dinkytown does have a unique character that will change, is changing, with more residential development, mixed use or not. I'm not sure what to think about it, but I suppose the whole of Dinkytown should have some kind of status or a plan other than the special service district. I won't be directing anyone to The Podium after a time, I guess. I bought my first and last guitar there (my playing stinks; arthritis and a lack of talent, I guess), and I can picture the layout of the place even now because I've been there often enough. I can imagine Bob Dylan there singing "Times They Are A-Changing" there as well (must've did some little ditties there as he once frequented the place; maybe he might buy the building if he felt some nostalgia).

It really doesn't look like much of a building. In fact, it looks like two small buildings with parking in back which I assume would go away with dorm or condos in favor of secure underground parking. Still, it is the Dinkytown landmark I remember. I don't suppose any of the businesses will get space in the retail part of the new mixed use building if they succeed in changing the zoning; we'll see a whole new mix to serve up stuff today's U folks and other visitors go for.

A look at the Hennepin County properties map shows that the building is owned by a couple, Laura and Terry Bauer of Columbia Heights, and a real estate company with their name owns the parking areas behind the building fronting 5th St. SE and extending well towards 4th St. SE, so I sort of wonder if Opus has more or is pursuing more options on this block than we are discussing now. Goodbye Al's for Breakfast? All the tabs and mugs on the wall, gone (they're up against the far side of the next building, Emilie, with a different owner).

Opus had/has some Stadium Village stuff in the works as well that required rezoning (approved); the building housing the Oak Street Cinema was demolished for one of Opus's developments. Now I can shop at CVS and get a gyro at Dino's around the corner from where the cinema was; I don't know what's gone up in the cinema spot (I'll pay attention next time I pass by); maybe it was just Oak St. SE access for the big one on Washington Ave. SE.

From: Madeline Douglass Date: Jan 11 22:36

Alright folks...start your engines!!!!

http://www.barnbuster.net/DinkytownRedBarnprotest.html

Opus was going to destroy the old Red Barn and peace garden site in 2008...took til 2011 for Doran Co. to get the okay to destroy the Oak Street Cinema and I assume what was left of the Red Barn site.

http://www.mndaily.com/2011/03/07/housing-set-upstage-cinema

Bye Bye Dinkytown?

Madeline Douglass
Kingfield
Stadiumzilla East!

From: Matt Steele Date: Jan 12 17:25

Not really sure why this is a big deal. Honestly this is a traditional neighborhood, and it merits a traditional development pattern. Euclidian use-based zoning gets in the way of the traditional development pattern, whereas form-based zoning would allow for residential over commercial, or any other combination of uses that follow a predictable development form.

The landlord wants to sell to a developer. If the current land use is so important to so many people, nothing is stopping them from creating an offer that would buy out Opus' option and purchase the parcel.

From: Carol Overland Date: Jan 12 18:28

Matt and all -

"Nothing is stopping them from creating an offer that would buy out Opus' option and purchase the parcel."  Nothing?  Right.  Does the term "cost prohibitive" ring a bell?  That's how capitalism operates, those with the money pay out a lot of money and buy up the properties, oust the long time tenants, and pay out even more money and get the zoning changed to suit their interests.  It's about private interest, and public money better not be any part of an ousting of long vibrant businesses that give the community its character.

Carol A. Overland
Red Wing, customer (not often enough) at Bookhouse in Dinkytown, and was a long-time member of St. Lawrence Band just down the street.

From: Charlie Quimby Date: Jan 12 18:40

Bill,
The Podium is an institution, but the location is not the original. Some of us older guitar pickers remember the Podium around the corner in that old house next to the parking lot on 5th. That's likely where Dylan did his thing.

Regardless of the market and what Matt calls a "traditional development pattern," these shiny new buildings eventually drive out unique, owner-run businesses and make it hard for startups to get a foothold.

There's value in slightly shabby, lower-rent real estate, but the value is primarily to the entrepreneurs and their customers, not big developers and theirs.

As of January 13, 2013, there were 26 posts on this topic. Read the whole thread here.

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