Plans for a boutique hotel in Dinkytown suffered a setback Friday when the Minneapolis City Council voted to require a study of the historic significance of a piece of property needed for the project.
That study, which could delay construction for as long as 18 months, was approved 8 to 4.
The building in question — at 1319 Fourth St. SE — was built in 1921 and currently houses Mesa Pizza and the Camdi Restaurant.
Doran Development had asked the City Council for permission to demolish the building and override a decision by the Historic Preservation Commission to stay demolition pending a study of its historical significance.
The council voted to override the commission and allow demolition of two other buildings needed for the hotel project, a single-family residence and a commercial building.
Kelly Doran of the development company has declined comment on the proposal to deny demolition.
“It is one of the last remaining old-school commercial corridors in our city,” said Council Member Jacob Frey, who represents the Dinkytown area. He also cited the area’s significance as a rallying point for protests in the 1960s and ’70s.
“It was a space where people would gather for anti-Vietnam War protests and eventually it was a spot where people would gather to stop corporate America from coming in and taking over their individual town,” said Frey, who also presented photos of “hippies yelling” and a helicopter dropping pepper spray on protesters.
“We are voting to give this some additional thought,” said Frey. He noted that the Dinkytown area has added 2,000 residential units in recent years, with another 400 to 500 under construction.
“I have some concerns about the further study,” said Council Member Lisa Bender, who noted that one-story commercial buildings are in abundant supply along the transit corridors of the city.
“It is a big deal to add one year to 18 months to any project,” said Bender. She had opposed the study of historic significance when it was considered in the Zoning and Planning Committee, which she chairs. For most projects, she noted, such a delay would end the project.
The Historic Preservation Commission voted earlier this month to nominate the entire Dinkytown area for historic study and possible designation as a historic district.
The Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association and the Dinkytown Business Association are finishing work on a small area plan for Dinkytown and surrounding area to guide future development.
“How we treat our historic resources is how we feel about our community,” said Council Member Lisa Goodman as she cautioned her colleagues about moving swiftly toward demolition. “This is an area clearly being studied for a historic district now.”
An earlier plan for a moratorium on all development in Dinkytown to allow time for a study did not move forward.
Goodman argued that taking time for the study still allowed development in Dinkytown and was a better option than a total ban by declaring a moratorium.