| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Southwest : Development News

49 Southwest Articles | Page: | Show All

Minneapolis' C-TAP: Free Assistance for Co-Op Founders

The City of Minneapolis is launching a free technical assistance program for budding co-op founders, starting with a two-hour presentation on April 20th.
Dubbed C-TAP (Cooperative Technical Assistance Program), the initiative is an outgrowth of the city’s successful B-TAP (Business Technical Assistance Program) for aspiring small and midsize business owners. Like B-TAP, C-TAP is an immersive program designed to support co-op founders and supporters from ideation through opening—and, in some cases, beyond.
According to the City of Minneapolis, C-TAP will unfold over three years, in three steps.
Step one, happening this year, focuses on “co-op readiness planning” for “groups that are thinking of forming a Co-op…to get a clear picture of the legal, operational and organizational requirements.” It’s basically a crash course in what it means to start a co-op.
Step two, set for next year, will focus on “board member and organizational design.” That means training prospective board members in the basics (and nuances) of co-op governance, as well as “one-on-one technical assistance” for select co-ops that require guidance designing their organizational structures. Step two is available to not-yet-open co-ops and existing co-ops that want or need outside assistance.
Step three, set for 2018, will revolve around “sustainability [and] profitability.” In other words, setting and keeping newly opened co-ops on the path to stable, long-term profitability and prosperity.
C-TAP’s kickoff event, a two-hour presentation dubbed “The State of Co-ops in Minneapolis,” is scheduled for April 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Open Book in Downtown East. The presentation will discuss the city’s current “co-op inventory” and the industries supported by Minneapolis co-ops, introduce and explain C-TAP, and discuss next steps for co-op founders and principals interested in participating.
On May 11, Step one officially gets underway with an eight-week “co-op feasibility” course. Held at the City of Minneapolis Innovation Center in the Crown Roller Mill Building near City Hall, the course’s eight sessions will cover the basics of the co-op development process, co-op business plans, finances, cooperative governance, legalities and other topics. Registration is free and open to the public, but prospective co-op groups need to have at least two participants and have selected a product or service to offer prior to signing up.
The City of Minneapolis is no stranger to co-op support. According to city government, Minneapolis has plowed some $3.5 million into local co-ops through existing development and support initiatives, and has an additional $850,000 outstanding in loans to three in-development co-ops—including Wirth Cooperative Grocery, a first-of-its-kind grocery co-op in the city’s underserved Northside, slated to open later this year.

Wild Coolship Beer Comes to MSP Via Wild Mind Artisan Ales

Do not fear peak craft beer or brewery saturation. From Bryn Mawr Brewing (now Utepils) near Theodore Wirth Park to Sidhe Brewing (by women, for women!) on St. Paul’s East Side, craft breweries are still opening at a rapid clip here in MSP.
Most newcomers play it straight. Not Wild Mind Artisan Ales. South Minneapolis’s newest brewery is thoroughly and completely breaking the craft beer mold. It’s set for an early summer open in a low-slung warehouse near Minneapolis’s southern frontier, just west of the I-35W/Crosstown interchange.
How can any new MSP brewery — particularly one that might as well have an Edina address — possibly hope to stand out in our suds-soaked neck of the woods? By bringing to the North an entirely new style of beer: wild coolship ales.
Wild coolship ales utilize a centuries-old fermenting vessel known as a coolship — a long, shallow contraption built to expose fermenting beer (wort) to whatever wild yeast strains blow in on the wind.
According to an exhaustive piece in Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine, founder and head brewer Mat Waddell plans to keep each coolship ale batch in the signature vessel for about a day: long enough to catch enough microbial funk, but not so long that the beer turns or becomes dangerous to unsuspecting drinkers.
“It’s a funhouse style of beer,” Waddell told the magazine. “You end up strictly with whatever is in the air — whatever it picks up is whatever it picks up.”
The batch then spends the balance of its fermentation in oak or metal barrels. According to a press release from Jeremy Zoss, a local craft beer expert who’s handling publicity for Wild Mind, about 75 percent of Wild Mind’s brews will be barrel-aged — an unusually high percentage. Waddell plans to source wine barrels from as far away as France, plus chardonnay oak from Napa and bourbon barrels from Kentucky.
Due to the coolship’s limited volume and the time-intensive nature of the barrel-aging process, Wild Mind’s first beers won’t be “coolshippers.” They will use wild yeast, though — all of it harvested in-state. No commercial yeast strains allowed: another rarity for an MSP craft brewery. According to Zoss’ release, “[t]hese strains were harvested from St. Paul and northern Minnesota from multiple wild fruit bushes, trees and wildflowers.”
Wild Mind’s early styles look to include bright farmhouse saisons, fruit-tinged sours, imperial stouts redolent with coffee and chocolate notes, and nearly everything in between.
If the whole wild yeast thing doesn’t appeal to you, or if you’re just not a big beer drinker, don’t worry: Waddell clearly aims to turn Wild Mind into the Windom neighborhood’s next hot hangout, complete with a 2,000-square-foot courtyard, lawn bowling, an outdoor movie projection wall (here we come, summer!) — and, of course, plenty of space for food trucks.

Fort Snelling's historic Upper Post to be transformed into workforce housing

If the criteria of marketable real estate — “location, location, location” — still holds true, then a prime parcel in the Twin Cities has it all. Open space. River views. Recreational fields. Historical resonance. Old-growth vegetation. It’s minutes from light rail and freeways, and is adjacent to a state park with a lake, bicycling and x-county ski trails, hiking paths and an interpretive center.
Most likely, you’ve sped past it en route to MSP International Airport or the Mall of America. Or maybe you’ve played ultimate Frisbee, baseball, soccer, golf or polo on the site. Or even, having taken a wrong turn, found yourself in a ghost town with crumbling houses, grand dilapidated structures and overgrown thoroughfares that begin and end seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
Welcome to the Upper Post of Fort Snelling. Home to buff- and red-brick buildings — including an imposing headquarters with a grand clock tower, rows of barracks, and a lane of once-stately officers’ homes with columns and porches — the Upper Post is a National Historic Landmark, and part of a larger National Register District that includes portions of the Mississippi River and its environs.
For years, however, the buildings have languished. Owned by the State of Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Upper Post has been largely used for parks and recreation. But in 1998, the DNR hired Miller Dunwiddie Architecture, Minneapolis, to access the buildings’ structural integrity and potential for reuse.
By 2006, a Save America’s Treasures grant secured by Hennepin County paid for the buildings’ stabilization. Work included re-roofing buildings, patching holes in the walls, sealing up windows and doors with plywood, and covering up porches.
But the structures’ only hope of long-term survival rested in their adaptive reuse. Many developers floated ideas. But only Dominium’s recent proposal to transform the structures into an affordable–housing community has generated true excitement.
“We’ve taken on similar adaptive reuse projects with lots of challenges,” says
Russ Condas, development associate, including St. Paul’s Schmidt Brewery on West Seventh Street and the Pillsbury A-Mill in Minneapolis—both of which have been developed and designed as affordable artist housing in conjunction with BKV Group. “But, as always, the Upper Post will pose its own unique challenges.”
Hennepin County, the DNR and other stakeholders “have done a good job of protecting the buildings,” he says. “They’re in decent shape because they were well constructed and feature strong architectural features from the late-1880s. But they’re old, weathered and in need of attention.”
The approximately $100 million project will be financed through a combination of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Federal and State Historic Tax Credits, and other sources. “These tax credits make the project feasible from our perspective,” Condas says. Dominium specializes in affordable and workforce housing, as well as the adaptive reuse of historic structures.
“Projects like this one take an incredible investment from a construction cost standpoint, in order to make them work,” Condas says. “Without that stack of tax credits, the project wouldn’t be do-able.”
The project includes 26 buildings on the site, “which we’ll treat as one apartment community,” Condas says, with approximately 190 units of affordable housing. “While most buildings will provide housing, we’re also looking at other structures for amenities.”
According to Dominium, the Upper Post redevelopment “will meet a strong demand in the market; research…shows that in Hennepin and Ramsey counties, there are only 34 apartments that are affordable and available for every 100 residents making less than $20,000 a year.”
With the site’s location near the Mall of the America and international airport, the need for workforce housing is acute. The site is a half-mile from the Blue Line light rail. “We feel there will be a strong demand for these apartments, which will offer a great opportunity for people to live affordably in a beautiful location and easily commute to work.”

Pollinate Minnesota adds to buzz about pollinators

For three years Erin Rupp worked with local bee advocacy group and honey producer Beez Kneez as its director of education, incubating ideas about how to expand the public’s understanding of the vital role pollinators play in our food system. This spring, her ideas came to fruition. Rupp recently launched Pollinate Minnesota, a nonprofit organization designed to engage the public, including policymakers, in “a world with strong, healthy pollinators and people, where farms are functional parts of ecosystems and schools are functional environments for all learners,” according to the website.
Pollinate Minnesota will use honeybees to teach about pollinators’ role in creating a healthy, sustainable food system, focusing on interactive experiences for individuals and groups that include visiting bees in their hives. “I really love teaching about pollinators by putting people in beekeeping suits,” Rupp enthuses. “Bees are great tool to connect to a lot of different subjects. They’re social insects. And we know they sting — that’s pretty engaging, right, that they can hurt us? — and yet we’re doing most of the stinging by damaging their habitat.”
Rupp says beekeepers are losing 30 to 50 percent of their hives annually, mainly due to starvation. Because of the decimation of native habitats, bees need to fly greater distances to find pollen and nectar. Systemic pesticides — including neonicotinoids, which persist in the environment, and when used as seed treatments move into the pollen and nectar of adult plants — kill bees. And plant cultivars, while showy and colorful, often have had the nectar and pollen bees need bred out of the plant.
“The decline of bees tells the story of how our food system is broken in a way that both second graders and state legislators can understand,” Rupp says. To those ends, Rupp is actively seeking partners for the upcoming season; places where she can expand the possibilities of teaching with bees, such as in parks close to schools or on school grounds. She’s also at the State Capitol working on “forward-looking legislation that’s good for pollinators and people,” she says, including Governor Dayton’s “Buffer Bill.”
Rupp also wants to work on pesticide legislation, and to collaborate with the Minnesota Department of Transportation of increasing native plantings along roadsides. Meanwhile, she encourages people to plant flower gardens and pots with flowers bees need. “Just ask the seed catalogs or plant nurseries you’re buying from whether their products are free of systemic pesticides like neonicotinoids,” she says.
On Monday, March 30, Pollinate Minnesota will celebrate its launch with an event that includes a 2015 legislative session overview of Minnesota state pollinator policy work.  The event runs from 6:30-8:00pm on 3.30.2015 at the Gandhi Mahal Community Room, 3009 27th Avenue South, Minneapolis.


Hoodstarter crowdsources solutions for vacant storefronts

Kickstarter connects you with people willing to fund the innovative idea you’re working on in your garage. Why can’t you get funding for the innovative idea you have for the vacant storefront down the block?
Hoodstarter may have an answer. Co-founders Justin Ley and David Berglund, who work together at UnitedHealth, recently finalized and launched a first-of-its-kind crowdsourcing/funding platform that allows users to post vacant properties, post and vote on ideas for new onsite businesses or public uses, and fund entrepreneurs willing and able to turn those ideas into tangible businesses.
Property owners, real estate brokers, entrepreneurs and Twin Cities residents mingle on its website, exploring property listings, offering ideas, gauging interest and forging new connections.
“The goal of Hoodstarter is to connect neighborhood and city residents — anyone with a stake in and ideas for the vacant space — with real estate brokers equipped to market empty properties, property owners looking to monetize their holdings, and companies or entrepreneurs willing to shoulder the risk of launching a new use,” says Berglund.
“We’re facilitating connections between all the parties to a typical real estate transaction,” adds Ley, “including community members directly and indirectly affected by the project. Basically, we’re taking a model that hasn’t changed in 50 years” — commercial real estate development — “and making it much more efficient, while also creating opportunities for businesses and ideas that might not have access to other sources of funding.”
Though the platform hasn’t yet provided direct funding for any nascent businesses, the founders follow the well-worn model used by other successful crowdfunding platforms: taking a five-percent cut of users’ contributions and passing the rest along to entrepreneurs.
Hoodstarter’s database includes vacant sites across the Twin Cities, from expansive, high-visibility spaces like the unoccupied retail level at St. Paul’s new West Side Flats to abandoned churches and petite storefronts along community corridors like Chicago and James avenues in Minneapolis.
In addition to listings with detailed information about the property, including its price per square foot (when publicly available), leasing agent and amenities, Hoodstarter has a social function that supports lively debate over user-generated ideas, posted properties and urban life in general. The community is largely self-policing: A recent post suggesting that a prime Chicago Avenue storefront be left vacant was met with swift, if polite, criticism.
Less than a year and a half since its initial launch, Hoodstarter is already gaining traction across the Twin Cities. “When you see a vacant lot or storefront, there’s an intrinsic desire to envision its potential,” says Ley, especially if it’s in your neighborhood. “You can’t help but wonder, ‘Why has that place been vacant for so long?’ It’s a frustrating feeling.”
The South Minneapolis resident speaks from experience. His commute takes him past the same vacant space every day — a retail storefront empty for so long that no one quite remembers what it used to be.
Ley’s “pet” storefront crisply illustrates the problems Hoodstarter seeks to remedy. The property sits on an otherwise busy corner, near Angry Catfish, the Baker’s Wife and other popular businesses. It has obvious assets: space for indoor and outdoor seating, corner visibility and a floor plan tailor made for a restaurant or cafe.
But before Hoodstarter approached him, the owner had legitimate concerns about developing the property, says Ley, or even finding a temporary tenant for the space. According to Ley and Berglund, even well-meaning property owners who care about their neighborhoods can be overwhelmed by the cost, time investment and risks associated with finding a commercial tenant or developing a space on their own.
And, counterintuitively, many owners prefer to leave their properties empty as commercial land values rise, in the hopes of cashing out as the market peaks. Hoodstarter’s success will depend on its ability to convince property owners that they stand to gain from filling vacancies now, not waiting to sell later.
If all goes well, the owner of the vacant South Minneapolis property may soon have a new tenant or buyer. Last fall, Hoodstarter held a Better Block event at the site itself, continuing the conversation that began online.
According to Ley and Berglund, this hybrid model — using in-person events to publicize vacant properties and build support for the best usage ideas — could be a big component of Hoodstarter’s model going forward. But first, they need to fill some vacancies.

Architect innovates design service for accessory dwellings

They’re known as granny flats, mother-in-law apartments, even Fonzie suites for those who remember the Fonz’s digs above the Cunninghams' garage in the tv show “Happy Days.” For years, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) have been popular throughout the U.S. for homeowners needing an additional, separate living space for a relative (or family friend) adjacent to main house—and as a flexible housing option in developed urban neighborhoods.
Now ADUs are legal in Minneapolis. On December 5, 2014, the Minneapolis City Council passed a zoning code text amendment allowing ADUs on lots with single or two-family homes. Shortly thereafter, architect Christopher Strom, who spent countless hours working with zoning administrators during discussions about the code change, launched his new initiative, Second Suite.
“I wanted to be the first to market my expertise with the zoning related to these small residential dwellings,” says Strom, who has a thriving business as a residential architect in Minneapolis, and has designed ADU-type cottages for clients in the suburbs and northern Minnesota.
He learned during informational meetings that “a lot of people didn’t want ADUs because they fear too many people would be added to the neighborhood, resulting in extra noise and traffic,” Strom says. “But the new law limits ADUs to a total of 1,000 square feet, including parking; they’re only feasible on certain lots, depending on the positioning of the primary house; and the primary house must be owner occupied. Only one accessory building is allowed per property, so most people will combine an ADU with a detached garage.”
As a result, Strom continues, “The majority of the new ADUs to be built in Minneapolis will be Fonzie suites. Remember how he lived above the Cunninhgams' garage? He had a cool bachelor pad totally separate from the main house, but was always at the Cunninghams'.”
ADUs are a viable option for creating more space, whether for additional storage, an art studio, home office or apartment for aging parents. With the new zoning, the units can also include a small kitchen and/or bath. “They’re wonderful for seniors, and a nice way to establish multi-generational living next to the primary house while giving the occupant an integral level of independence,” Strom explains.
St. Paul, particularly the neighborhood of St. Anthony Park, is currently looking at its building codes, as well, by studying the feasibility of allowing ADUs on single-family lots.  
Strom adds that ADUs are “a great entry point for people to start working with an architect.” A well-considered design might result in an ADU that blends in with the architectural style of the existing residence, or be entirely different.
Moreover, Strom adds, “Second Suite represents a lifestyle that I want to be able to deliver to my clients. This lifestyle is about families pooling resources and enjoying more quality time together through care-giving that enables grandparents to help with childcare and adult children to help with aging parents.”

Heirloom Project introduces native plants to South Minneapolis garages

The heirlooms appearing in the back alleys of a South Minneapolis neighborhood are not diamond rings or other family treasures. But the drawings artist Rachel Breen is installing on garage doors and walls, in many ways, represent something even more valuable—native heirloom plants and seeds at risk of extinction due to modern commercial farming practices.
With a $10,000 grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the permission of homeowners in the Kingfield neighborhood of Minneapolis, Breen has been installing her Heirloom Project—ephemeral drawings of native heirloom plants—on six of her neighbor’s garage doors and walls.
The process she uses embodies the fragility of biodiversity in the modern ecosystem and the delicate place many vital heirloom plants currently occupy within it. Using an unthreaded needle and sewing machine, she “draws” plants like milkweed onto large sheets of plastic. She then paints over the stencils with an air brush, leaving a whispy dotted image of the plant in different stages, from its fruit bearing or flowering manifestation to when the blooms die and the seeds can be spread.
Breen was inspired by the practice of seed saving, where average citizens can play a role in preserving vital heirloom plants for the future. “Seed saving is this really revolutionary act that we all could be doing and it’s important for so many reasons,” Breen says.
Pesticide use in modern commercial farming has caused significant loss of habitat for pollinator insects like bees and butterflies. The loss of habitat for these insects, due in part to pesticide use, has led to drastically decreasing populations in recent years. But there are other reasons preserving diversity in flora is an essential practice, Breen says.
For instance, the great Irish potato famine in the 17th century was caused by a single strain of potato blight. Because the entire country was essentially growing one type of potato, the blight spread quickly and almost wiped out the entire country’s supply of potatoes—the main source of food at the time.
“You actually have strength when there’s more diversity,” she explains. “We’ve lost a lot of biodiversity by only growing certain plants because seed companies are only selling certain kinds of genetically modified seeds,” Breen explains.
There’s a metaphorical message in Breen’s Heirloom Project as well: How do we conceive of things passed down through generations from family and community that aren’t necessarily physical objects?
Whether it’s music, language, or customs and traditions, she asks, “How do we think about what it is we’ve inherited from the past and what do we want to pass on?” “Considering that we’ve inherited many wonderful things from our culture and our community that are not objects, what is it that we would also then like to pass on to the future?”
Breen is also moving ahead with plans to establish a seed library at a local park where neighbors will be able to exchange and preserve rare but important seeds of native heirloom plants.

Lowry Hill's Carpenter House ready for renovations

A historic mansion in Minneapolis’s Lowry Hill neighborhood,  last used as an office four years ago, could soon see inhabitants once again. Owner Jack Kistler wants to renovate the 1906-built Eugene J. Carpenter house and bring in a bed-and-breakfast, a beauty salon, and several apartment units. 

The house is significant for its Georgian-Revival style exterior, the handiwork of Edwin Hewitt, who was a well-known local architect, according to city materials. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Mina Adsit of Adsit Architecture, the firm behind the project, says the interior is well preserved, with its original panels and high ceilings intact, though the exterior needs to be restored. As such, the facade will be fixed up and repainted. The plan calls for the restoration of a previous covered porch along with an old garden space where a surface parking lot currently exists. The idea is to return the house to a residential use that’s in keeping with the neighborhood’s original character, Adsit says. 

That’ll help the owner to “tell the story of the house,” which was the first of its kind in the area. It’s also a chance to talk about the history of the Carpenter family, which had a hand in founding several arts institutions in the city around the turn-of-the-century, she says. In general, the idea is to “preserve that feeling of place that happens up there on the hill with the big houses.”   

“The whole area of the top of the hill is kind of threatened historically. These mansions are getting overwhelmed by the buildings around them,” she says. The goal is to begin construction on the house this spring and to open the place in the summer of this year, according to Adsit. 
Source: Mina Adsit, architect, Adsit Architecture 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Five Watt Coffee will fill a void at 38th and Nicollet

A new coffee shop called Five Watt Coffee is in the works for 38th and Nicollet in Minneapolis. Five Watt aims to open within the next month, according to Lee Carter, who co-owns the place with Caleb Garn. The coffee shop’s name references an old record label called Five Watt Studios that Garn previously owned.

While scoping out possible locations, the pair looked all over the metro area before settling on the 1,100-square-foot space in the Kingfield neighborhood, Carter says. In terms of parking, visibility, accessibility, and construction costs, “It was the best spot by far,” he says. The space also has a full-sized basement that’s in good condition.

Initially, they’d overlooked this area of town due to nearby road construction. From what Carter can tell, some businesses didn’t outlast the road construction. “I’m just excited to re-use the corner and give the neighborhood something new,” he says. 
Plus, the neighborhood lacks a coffee shop. “We’re meeting the needs of the area and helping the intersection get back on its feet,” he says. “We’re really excited to have something in a familiar neighborhood for us.”   

Right now, the pair is wrapping up the build-out. Through the process, they’ve brought out some of the 1909 building’s original features, such as hardwood floors, an exposed brick wall, and a tin ceiling. “When we came in, there was drywall everywhere and a dropped ceiling,” he says. 

A garage door and new windows will help update the space, as well. Although they’re going for a modern aesthetic, “We don’t want to do something that’s sterile,” he says, but rather create a warm and inviting ambiance.  

Source: Lee Carter, co-owner, Five Watt Coffee
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Minnesota Honey Company opens in Fulton neighborhood

The Minnesota Honey Company, a store devoted to all things crafted from and with honey, opened in Minneapolis’s Fulton neighborhood this fall.  

Previously the 1,500-square-foot space at 49th and Xerxes housed a nail shop, according to Kelley Flanders, who co-owns the honey specialty place with his wife, Deborah. 

The store has an eye-catching center island that’s set up as a tasting bar. Customers can sample just about any honey product, with a few exceptions -- like soap, Flanders says. Luckily, the modern storefront, which is characterized by white walls and plenty of natural light, didn’t require too much build-out, he adds. 

The couple looked into various possible locations for the store. But Flanders says he's glad they landed in Fulton. Their business seems to complement other local shops, especially the nearby Vinaigrette. The area is “good for foot traffic. It’s a destination spot,” especially for foodies, he says. 

The Flanders' started out as beekeepers at Deborah’s parents’ honey farm. They’d also sold the farm’s products at the Minnesota State Fair. At the fair, customers are always asking about where to find honey products year-round, Flanders says. 

That’s what made him want to get into the retail business on a bigger scale. “We’re giving it a shot to see if we can make it work,” Flanders says. 

The Minnesota Honey Company offers honey, candles, soap, syrups, sauces, and more, for which honey is a key ingredient. “People forget how many things are made out of honey,” he says. 

For starters, honey is a natural sweetener that can be used as a sugar substitute. As such, it’s popular for cooking and brewing craft beers, he adds. 

The Minnesota Honey Company emphasizes local products. “We’ve been lucky,” Flanders says. “People seem to be liking what we’re doing.” 

“There’s been a huge resurgence with honey,” he adds, which is contributing to the store's popularity. People are rediscovering honey, in part, because of the “crisis of the bees dying off." Minnesota is also a national leader in honey production, Flanders says. 

Source: Kelley Flanders, co-owner, Minnesota Honey Company 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Spill the Wine opens on Lake Street

Spill the Wine, a wine bar and eatery that specializes in small-plates-inspired cuisine, opened on April 2 at its new location on Lake Street and Bryant Avenue in Minneapolis.

Restaurant owner Katie Greeman says it’s serendipitous that Spill the Wine wound up at an intersection with several other similar businesses, including the recently-opened Morrissey’s Irish Pub,  Bryant Lake Bowl, and Dunn Bros. Coffee. This is something that the six-year-old Spill the Wine lacked in its old space downtown, on Washington Avenue, she says. 

In the process of relocating, this was an unplanned bonus: “It all came together beautifully," she says. “We definitely have that community now in place, which is huge,” she says, adding, “It provides the neighborhood with one more place to go to.”

Spill the Wine, which seats 96 people and will soon have outdoor dining for 32 as well, aims to be a neighborhood-friendly wine bar--a vision that aligned with the landlord’s, she says. But the space, which previously housed a bike shop, had to be totally gutted to make way for the restaurant. “It required a full build-out, from scratch,” she says.  

At the new space, Spill the Wine has a new look, which she describes as a casual, café-like feel, Pinterest-inspired “shabby chic." For example, the interior features a lot of reclaimed wood and metal, with Mason jar lights, artwork by local artist Terrence Payne, cement floors, and an industrial, open kitchen. “It’s definitely a labor of love. We did everything on our own with no architect,” she says.

So far, the place has been busy. “The neighborhood has been overwhelmingly responsive, with a lot of people going out of their way to say thanks for coming here,” Greeman says.

Source: Katie Greeman, owner, Spill the Wine
Writer: Anna Pratt


Red Cow turns an old Blockbuster Video into an upscale eatery

The recently opened Red Cow at 3624 W. 50th St. aims to be a “sophisticated neighborhood tavern."

The place offers all kinds of gourmet burgers, sandwiches, craft beers, and wines.

Lots of work went into repurposing the building, which previously housed a Blockbuster Video. It  wasn’t equipped for a restaurant, says Red Cow owner Luke Shimp. Although the building still has “some reminiscences” of its old days, like the windows that wrap around the building, Red Cow stripped it down to its cinderblock walls, upgraded its utilities, and created a new storefront, he says. This summer, the restaurant plans to paint the façade a new color, as well.  

For the interior, Shimp wanted a “warm and industrial feel,” with an open ceiling, wood on the walls, lipstick red booths, a polished concrete floor, and exposed light bulbs. Some parts of the ceiling feature antique tin, too, an example of how the place is a “mix of new and old,” he says.

A unique p-shaped bar makes it so that people “can see everyone across the room,” while work from local artists hangs on the walls.

So far, the Red Cow has been well received by the neighborhood. It helps that Shimp, who lives nearby, knows the neighborhood well. “I have connections in the neighborhood, so when the space became available, it was a natural fit for our style.”

“We couldn’t have asked for a better location,” he says. “It’s great for who we are and what we are and how we want to position ourselves.”

On top of that, Red Cow has a unique niche: “There isn’t anything like this at 50th and France. We’re differentiating ourselves from the rest. We’re happy to be here.”

Source: Luke Shimp, Red Cow  
Writer: Anna Pratt

Local hobbyist creates a Chain of Lakes nautical chart

David Ruebeck and his wife, Claire, who live in Minneapolis, have a sailboat that they usually keep at Lake Calhoun.

At one point a couple of years ago, the Ruebecks considered sailing Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake, where they don’t normally spot too many sailboats out and about.

To find out if it was doable, Ruebeck looked for information on how deep the channels were between the lakes. He got a rough idea on that from the park system and the state’s Department of Natural Resources. However, the nautical charts he got were decades old and didn’t address the channels and lagoons.

The state of affairs got him thinking. As someone who loves maps, he thought that other people might be interested in up-to-date depth data relating to all four of the lakes composing the Chain of Lakes, he says.

In 2011, Ruebeck, who works as a plastic surgeon, rented equipment that allowed him to “move across the lake and log the depths under the boat with precise GPS coordinates,” he says. Going back and forth across the watery depths, it took him a couple of weeks to cover the lakes.

Then, he imported the data into mapping software, where he cleaned it up to “look like the official chart a sailor might use on the ocean or one of the Great Lakes.”

He found some differences in the contours and shapes at the bottoms of the lakes, especially in Lake of the Isles.  

The resulting Chain of Lakes nautical chart is a unique document. “There really is nothing else like it, no fishing maps or depths charts that include all of the lakes that are connected,” he says.

The nautical chart, which has waterproof and archival versions, is also available electronically, on a smartphone. “I hope people find it interesting and that fishermen find it useful,” he says. “For sailors who’ve navigated with charts, they can practice navigating with it.”  

The nautical chart is also a piece of art. “It’s an interesting homage to the lakes,” not necessarily a scientific document, he says, adding, "I'm kind of a self-taught cartographer."  

In the future, he might chart out other lakes, such as Lake Harriet and Lake Nokomis, or others that don’t have up-to-date depth data.   

Source: David Ruebeck, creator, City Lake Maps and Charts
Writer: Anna Pratt

Honeyshine plans move to Linden Hills

Honeyshine, a gift and home décor store that also offers interior design services, is growing. 

As such, the shop, which opened in Minneapolis's Bryn Mawr neighborhood in 2011, plans to move to 2720 W. 43rd Street. Honeyshine will take the spot of a longtime yarn shop, next-door to the Wild Rumpus bookstore in Linden Hills, according to Adam Braun, who co-owns the shop with Daisy Mitchell.  

The store, which sells decorative accessories, tabletop entertaining items, jewelry, furniture, art, vintage items, and more, aims to open on May 8. 

Fortunately, the space won’t require too much of a makeover, according to Braun. Mainly, Braun and Mitchell will be redoing the floors and the lighting. “We’re going for something warmer,” he says.  

Besides offering more room for the business, this is a “proven retail space,” close to a number of restaurants and shops. That’s a boon for the growing Honeyshine. “Linden Hills will do a tremendous amount for our business, being an area with so many great restaurants and stores,” he says. “Having that much foot traffic will be great.”

The aesthetic of the new space, however, will stay the same. Braun describes the place as having a “modern scrappy feel, with clean lines and a lot of different cool objects,” he says. “It’s a mixture of new or modern with vintage things that we find.”

In terms of the design services, the space “is a good example of what we offer and the creativity behind our store.”
With so much to look at, “A lot of people come back to soak in everything,” he says.  

That relates to the whole idea behind the shop. “We’re always trying to offer things that you can’t find anywhere else in Minneapolis,” he says.

Source: Adam Braun, co-owner, Honeyshine
Writer: Anna Pratt

ProjectAl emphasizes the importance of a community-oriented place

Al’s Bar, a half-century-old bar in St. Louis Park that was demolished in 2009 to make way for a housing development, inspired ProjectAl.

The charitable T-shirt business, which is run out of the basement of co-owner Charley Holden’s home, launched in November 2012.   

Holden and his business partner, Derek Hood, who had been regulars at the bar, saw how Al’s gave money to local sports teams, National Night Out, and many other community-oriented events and initiatives. “It had a strong sense of community,” he says.

On a more informal level, many of its regulars knew one another. “They liked the history the place had,” he says. It was frustrating for people “to see their favorite neighborhood establishment, which had been around longer than they had, go.” Its demolishing was a community event. “A lot of regulars loved going there,” Holden says.

When the Uptown Bar in Minneapolis closed, it was the same story, he adds.  

Holden and Hood wanted to create a project that would speak to those sentiments. “We want to give back to the community,” Holden says. “We thought that going through charities and local artists would be a great way to do it as well.” Proceeds of shirt sales go to the businesses represented on the shirts, to the artists who design them, and to a charity of the buyer's choice.

Holden rescued the old sign that once hung above Al’s, and employed it as a motif for the company. Whenever friends see it, the expressions on their faces are priceless, he says, adding, “Many remember it and still talk about it.”

“We want to draw attention to and celebrate local landmarks and businesses and recognize the importance those places have to our neighborhoods,” he says. “We want to keep them in our neighborhoods.”

Already, the business has gotten plenty of positive feedback. The company has even received random orders from people outside of Minnesota. “I’m assuming these are from people who have emotional ties to those places. It’s their way of representing them,” he says. “That’s what we get excited about.”

Source: Charley Holden
Writer: Anna Pratt

49 Southwest Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts