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Apartment plan that would replace McDonald's, Five Guys in Dinkytown draws scrutiny

Local residents spoke out at a neighborhood association meeting on Tuesday.
McDonald's Dinkytown

Residents of the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood raises concerns Tuesday about a planned student apartment block on a prominent corner of Dinkytown.

If approved by the city, a 25-story complex proposed by CA Ventures would house 1,000 students, and replace multiple businesses at the corner of 5th Street SE and 15th Avenue Southeast.

CA Ventures has also proposed a smaller alternative tower no bigger than 16 stories, with the wider development also adding bus shelters, "pedestrian amenities," water stations, bicycle repair and public art at the intersection.

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Among the business that face being bulldozed is the iconic McDonald's restaurant, which has been there since the '70s, along with others including Five Guys, Dinkytown Wine and Spirits, and Pagoda.

MN Daily has previously reported that while the distinctive McDonald's building would go, the fast-food retailer is likely to return to a retail space at street-level of the tower complex once work is complete.

On Tuesday, residents of the neighborhood got the chance to have their say at a Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association meeting, where representatives from CA Ventures and ESG Architects presented the project.

Those in attendance raised concerns about a development so large it would require an amendment to the Minneapolis 2040 housing plan, which stipulates no developments on the street in excess of 6 stories.

In its submissions to the City of Minneapolis, the neighborhood association says it welcomes growth in the area, but at levels stipulated in either its current local plan or the Minneapolis 2040 plan.

"We are concerned that even though the city undertook a herculean effort to arrive at the Minneapolis 2040 plan, this project calls for already amending this plan," MNHA president Vic Thorstenson wrote last month.

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The association has also called for greater public participation and engagement regarding the development, which was what Tuesday's meeting was all about, and raised concerns about the availability of affordable student housing at a time when luxury student accommodations have been springing up apace in the Dinkytown area.

This was raised at Tuesday's meeting, with WCCO reporting student Samson Ghirmai said that students are already struggling to afford the "downtown-level payments" to rent near the U.

Representatives from CA Ventures said they would be looking to make the units affordable, the TV station notes, but didn't say at what price-point they'd be made available.

The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association is holding another public discussion about the project on Sept. 25 at The Loring.

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