Buffalo Wild Wings on Snelling: Facebook fight, full house for Land Use Committee meeting

UPDATED 6/13/2013 (at bottom of article) | Will a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant on Snelling cause problems of traffic, noise, and “student bacchanalia?” More than 30 opponents who packed the March 12 Union Park District Council Land Use Committee meeting raised these and other concerns. The restaurant has started construction at the former Cheapo Records storefront at 80 N. Snelling, having received city approval for the site plan and zoning last year. The liquor license application that was before the Land Use Committee is the last remaining hurdle to the planned May opening.Heated discussion at the meeting followed Facebook debate at Citizens for A Better Snelling Avenue, a Facebook group created by Brian Quarstad on February 25.  Opponents and advocates of the chain have engaged in conversations on the pages of dueling Facebook groups that have been spirited and cutting at times, featuring personal attacks and controversy over the deletion of posts. Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW) representatives at the meeting took questions and responded to proposals by members of Citizens for A Better Snelling Avenue to alleviate the impact of a development that they acknowledge is now inevitable.  Key measures included a fence along Ashland to discourage parking on that street, limiting the planned hours of operation (currently until 1 a.m. on weeknights), and furnishing the phone number of an on site manager to nearby residents — a longtime practice of nearby O’Gara’s.  The company made some concessions, agreeing to nix a sign facing Ashland, install a soundproofing system and bike racks, and limit smoking areas. Continue Reading

Port Authority development on Pelham leaves lingering questions

After a lawsuit with the City of Saint Paul and vigorous community objections, construction is underway at Industrial Equities’ new 68,000 square foot office and warehouse building on the corner of Pelham and Wabash.  The conflict over plans for the site involved the St. Paul Port Authority, City Hall, the Union Park District Council, and other neighborhood groups.  In the wake of the Ramsey County District Court decision in favor of Industrial Equities, important questions remain for residents and businesses in the community.  How did the taxpayer-funded Port Authority come to support a for-profit business over the stated interests of community organizations and government?Most importantly, what is the bottom line? Continue Reading