Dinkytown hotel development suffers setback

A Minneapolis City Council committee has dealt a setback to a proposed six-story hotel development in the Dinkytown business district.

The Zoning & Planning Committee today recommended city staff study whether one of the buildings that stands on the proposed hotel site has historical significance. That could delay or even prevent its demolition.

The Minneapolis Zoning & Planning Committee wants to study whether this one-story brick building at 1319 4th Ave. SE is historic. It is home to Camdi Vietnamese Restaurant, Mesa Pizza and Dinkytown Tattoo Parlous & Museum.

Built in 1921, the one-story brick building is currently home to a tattoo parlor, a pizza place and a Vietnamese restaurant.

The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, which represents Dinkytown residents, argues saving the building will protect the character of area.

“It’s not one building that’s historic. It’s the fabric of Dinkytown that is historic,” MHNA board member Paul Buchanan said. “That contributes to the identity of our neighborhood, ultimately the identity of our city.”

Council Member Jacob Frey, who represents Dinkytown, says he hopes the neighborhood group can work out a compromise with developer Kelly Doran. Doran declined to comment on the committee’s recommendation.

Many local commercial property owners support the hotel development. They argue Dinkytown’s character comes not from its architecture, but from its proximity to the University of Minnesota.

“It’s unique. It’s edgy. It’s progressive. It’s bohemian,” said Gary Eidson, who owns another building that would be bulldozed to make way for the hotel. “Dinkytown has that nature, but not because we have a particular building. It’s because of the demographics.”

The struggle is the latest installment in the battle over development in Dinkytown. In August, the council approved a six-story Dinkytown apartment complex in spite of a Zoning & Planning Committee recommendation to the contrary.

A historic designation study would take at least four months, if the full city council authorizes it. That vote is scheduled for next week. Even if Doran is allowed to demolish the buildings, his project would need additional action from the city council, including a zoning change.

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