Minneapolis City Council denies Doran’s Dinkytown demolition permit in favor of "historic designation study"

The Dinkytown building housing Mesa Pizza and other businesses is safe for the time being.

The Minneapolis City Council voted 8-4 Friday to deny Doran Companies the demolition permit for 1319 Fourth St. SE until a historic designation study can determine if the business district is worth preserving.

The decision will delay Doran Companies’ plans to build a six-story, $25 million hotel near the University of Minnesota as the study could take months or even a year.

Doran Companies CEO Kelly Doran said the delay will cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars and could ultimately kill the project.

“Leaving things in limbo does not typically work in the real world,” Doran said. “The marketplace is a fluid thing, it's a dynamic thing, and what works today may not work tomorrow."

Should the study find that the property isn’t worth preserving, Doran Companies’ demolition permits must be granted, Minneapolis Assistant Attorney Erik Nilsson said.

Ward 3 Councilman Jacob Frey, who serves the area including Dinkytown, supported saving the building. He said the city needs to increase its high density, but at the right pace.

“We are voting just to give this some additional thought,” he said. “I think the thoughtful measure at this point in time would be to undergo additional study.”

The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association has opposed the demolitions since Doran first proposed developing the property in August. President Cordelia Pierson said she was happy to see the city take historic significance seriously.

“It underscores with developers and Dinkytown that history is important,” she said.

For more reaction on this decision and what it means for Dinkytown, pick up Monday’s Minnesota Daily.

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  • The real estate market forces at play in making Dinkytown and the Marcy Holmes neighborhood so attractive to developers will not change in the short-, mid- or long-term: location of the University of Minnesota, proximity to downtown Minneapolis, the best access to public transit and biking in the Twin Cities, and the city's commitment to green, livable, high-density neighborhoods that provide easy access to retail amenities. People want to live in places that retain and protect the character of a neighborhood. Mr Doran can be part of the process of defining that character or he can walk away. Other developers will find the neighborhood's qualities attractive and will find receptive collaborators among current and future residents. - by Randall Davidson on Mon, 02/24/2014 - 4:10am
  • Growth with preservation is critical for a vibrant, thriving Dinkytown, according to the city's 2013 market study. We are grateful for the City Council's leadership on this, and encourage expansion of the commercial area, inviting growth in the blocks surrounding Dinkytown's historic core. - by Cordelia Pierson on Sun, 02/23/2014 - 8:53pm

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