Historic Terrace Theater will be torn down to make room for a Hy-Vee, city votes


The Robbinsdale City Council has voted to tear down a historic theater to make room for a Hy-Vee grocery store and a gas station.

The unanimous vote came after midnight Tuesday, despite a more than year-long effort from community members to save the Terrace Theater.

You can watch Monday night's 5-hour, 20-minute city council meeting below (talk about the Terrace Theater redevelopment begins around the 21-minute mark):

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The Terrace Theater opened in 1951, and it was considered one of the most luxurious, comfortable and up-to-date theaters in the country, the Robbinsdale Historical Society says. In 1999, it played its last film and has sat vacant ever since.

After years of trying to figure out what to do with the theater, which had fallen into "substandard condition," the city announced in mid-July that a developer had proposed paying $6 million to acquire the property with the hope of building a Hy-Vee grocery store, the City of Robbinsdale website says.

The city's website noted there had been no "solid business plan submitted for use of the theater."

At Monday night's meeting, the city council reviewed the Hy-Vee proposal, voting unanimously to tear down the theater. Save The Terrace Theater, a group dedicated to preserving the property, had tried to get a 60-day extension from the city council in order to hear more from the community, but that request was denied, according to posts in the Save The Terrace Theater Facebook group.

Demolition of the theater is set to begin Sept. 30, KSTP says.

Pete Richie, a board member of the Robbinsdale Historical Society, told BringMeTheNews they are "saddened but not surprised" at the city's decision, noting they had "hoped for and worked for an extraordinary outcome."

"We hope Hy-Vee will consider donating architectural details and fixtures to the historical society," Richie adds.

Despite some people in the community being unhappy about the city council's decision, others cheered it.



This comes as Hy-Vee continues to expand its footprint in the Twin Cities. The Iowa-based grocery chain has opened nearly two dozen locations in Minnesota, including at least five in the metro area.

More on the Terrace Theater

The theater was the last indoor theater designed by Twin Cities architects Liebenberg and Kaplan (L&K), who designed or remodeled dozens of other theaters in the Twin Cities, including ones in Wayzata (1932), Edina (1934), Uptown (1937), and the Varsity (1938), Preservation Design Works LLC notes.

The 1,300-seat Terrace Theater gained L&K national attention for its design, which featured a sunken den and fireplace, a television lounge, well-furnished nursery rooms and deep and soft cushion seats, the historical society says. During its heyday, the theater attracted guests from every state and even Canada.

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Demolition of the historic Terrace Theater began Saturday morning

The historic Terrace Theater in Robbinsdale is being torn down.

The historic Terrace Theater will be demolished this time

Demolition of Robbinsdale's historic theater starts up again Saturday.