Minneapolis City Council to consider demolition of Star Tribune building

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A Minneapolis developer is one step closer to flattening downtown's Star Tribune building to make way for a city park.

The newspaper reports the Minneapolis Zoning & Planning Committee voted Monday in favor of an appeal filed by Ryan Cos. that would allow the demolition of the building.

The large public park is part of a proposed $400 million mixed-use space in a five-block area near the new Vikings stadium.

Last month, the city's Heritage Preservation Committee denied the developer's permit request to demolish the 94-year-old building.

Besides being a sound example of Art Moderne architecture after its 1940s renovation, advocates of preserving the building say half-a-dozen architectural tributes to Minnesota’s industrial heritage are noteworthy features. The carvings are part of the stone facade on either side of the main entrance that depict mining, milling, lumber, fishing, farming, and dairy.

However, some say the carvings, aren't valuable enough to merit preservation. Tom Fisher, dean of the University of Minnesota's architecture school, said there's little historic significance left inside the building, the Star Tribune reports.

Now less than half occupied, the building is no longer functional for a modern media company, according to Michael Klingensmith, publisher and CEO of the Star Tribune. The newspaper plans to move its staff to a new location in downtown by 2015.

Ryan Cos. says the building is also not economically feasible as an office space or hotel.

All but one committee member voted in favor of the appeal. The matter will move to the full City Council on Friday.

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