Dinkytown development faces resistance from business owners, community members

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A major housing development proposed in the heart of Minneapolis' Dinkytown is facing resistance from small business owners and has sparked a movement by community members to preserve the character of the quaint student neighborhood.

The Star Tribune reports Opus Development Company plans to replace a four-block area with a six-story apartment building anchored by ground-level retail. The development would also include underground and above-ground parking.

"Opening the door to such developments would be the first stage in the destruction of the unique cultural and commercial heritage of Dinkytown," the Save Dinkytown website reads.

According to the site, five businesses would face immediate closure or dislocation including: The Podium, The Book House, House of Hanson, Casablanca Hair Designer and Duffy’s Dinkytown Pizza.

The Dinkytown Parking Facility would also be redesigned.

At a community meeting, business owners and some residents told the Star Tribune that they generally don't oppose development activity, but are concerned that parking would disappear and small shops would face higher rents.

Laurel Bauer, owner of House of Hanson, a convenience store on 14th Ave SE that's been in Dinkytown for 81 years, says she supports the development.

Bauer lost a third of her business to CVS pharmacy several blocks away. Plans for replacing the old Marshall High School with a grocery store would likely force her to close the business, so she's offered to sell her property to Opus.

Before Opus can break ground, the developer would need to request an upgrade to zoning requirements in the area. Gordon Kepner, Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association and former U of M professor, tells the Minnesota Daily that the current zoning is meant to protect Dinkytown's character.

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