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St. Paul Planning Commission gives OK to 5-story development at Dixie's on Grand

The property would include four commercial spaces, but not Dixie's on Grand.
The Dixie's on Grand building at 695 Grand Avenue in St. Paul.

The Dixie's on Grand building at 695 Grand Avenue in St. Paul.

The St. Paul Planning Commission has given the OK to a proposed five-story building at the Dixie's on Grand property. 

Reuter Walton Development and restauranteur Peter Kenefick are proposing a nearly 60-foot-tall building at 695 Grand Avenue, according to city documents. The Planning Commission on Friday voted 9-1 to approve a conditional use permit and variances for the project, moving it forward.

Currently on the property is a one-story building with three restaurants and a surface parking lot, city documents show. The proposal calls for a five-story, mixed-use building with four ground-floor commercial spaces — including for two of the existing restaurants on the site — as well as 80 market-rate apartment units and parking.

The Pioneer Press says the plan is to keep two restaurants, Saji-Ya and Emmett's Public House, in the new building, but Dixie's on Grand wouldn't return, at least not in the same format. 

Previously, the paper reported on the debate caused by the proposal to replace the one-story building with a five-story development, which goes against the East Grand Avenue Overlay District that has limited new construction to a maximum of three stories. 

Those in support have argued it'll bring some energy to Grand Avenue, which has seen storefronts close even before the COVID-19 pandemic, while others argue the mass of the development is a concern because it could block sunlight and create traffic issues, the paper said. 

The St. Paul City Council still has to approve the permit and variances. 

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