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The City of Minneapolis has issued a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for our vacant theater building. The current Hollywood Task Force has worked through the winter to remove obstacles to development. Preservation and zoning issues have been addressed. Perhaps the most significant difference from the past is the City and community’s willingness to support a non-entertainment use for the structure. Proposals are due July 31. Finance and Commerce has the story:
“Our goal is to reactivate the building and we need to find a financially viable way to do that. At the same time we want to preserve the building and preserve its character defining features,” said Miles Mercer, senior project coordinator with the city’s Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) department.
Mercer said the city’s latest appeal has some new features designed to draw fresh interest in theater at 2815 Johnson St. NE:
The city bought the adjacent lot at 2819 Johnson St. NE in November 2008 for about $222,000 and razed a house on the site, in an effort to make the overall site more marketable. That site is included in the RFP.
Mercer said the city is more open to pitches that don’t include a theater or entertainment use than it was in the past: “We will also consider other types of commercial uses.”
In March, the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) approved a framework for how the “character defining” features of the building should be treated. City planners are hoping that this offers some clarity for potential redevelopers. The property is locally designated as historic.
In recent years, the city has replaced the building’s roof and stabilized some exterior masonry. A city-sponsored open house at the theater in mid-May, during the Art-a-Whirl event in northeast Minneapolis, drew more than 1,600 attendees.
The vacant land across Johnson, formerly contemplated as part of the Hollywood redevelopment package, is now earmarked to be held for a separate, future, proposal. The City is seeking proposals which do not depend upon subsidy from developing that former gas station parcel, and it is expected that the area has sufficient parking for a non-entertainment use.
Proposed improvements must be reversible, to preserve an option for the structure to someday again operate as theater.