| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Development News

682 Articles | Page: | Show All

Sociable Cider Werks joins craft beer scene

For the owners of Sociable Cider Werks, a cider house and brewery in Northeast Minneapolis, it made sense to establish the business in an area characterized by a robust beer scene. Jim Watkins, who co-owns the cidery with Wade Thompson, also happens to live nearby.       

Sociable Cider Werks provides new inroads into the craft-beer movement by producing hard cider. “We can participate in the movement but do our own thing at the same time,” Watkins says. Sociable’s ciders, he adds, are for “people who have a palate for craft beer."   

Unlike the typical macro-cider house that produces sweet, middle-of-the-road-tasting ciders, Sociable is going for a bitter flavor, and mixes hops and grains into its concoctions. “We think ciders are supposed to be dry. They’re supposed to be bitter and torched. It’s a good representation of the apple,” Watkins says. 

The co-owners leased the cider house’s vintage industrial building just over a year ago.The place was a fixer-upper that gave the impression of a “junky warehouse” at the time. To make way for Sociable, the space was completely gutted and redone. Now, the cider house “has a cool aesthetic, with a lot of exposed brick and wood,” Watkins says.  

The 6,000-square-foot space is long and narrow, while the interior is open, giving visitors a feel for the whole operation, he says.  Already, the renovation has had a positive impact on the block. “I’ve heard from neighbors that they love having us here.”

Even though the taproom has only been open for a little over a month, the place already has regulars, which is a testament to the friendly beer community, hence the “Sociable” in Sociable Cider Werks, Watkins says. In “the craft beer scene in Minneapolis," he says, "everyone is willing to help each other.”
That generosity extends to the patronage, as many visitors go from one taproom to the next. “Northeast is a brewpub destination. It’s like Minnesota’s own little Fort Collins, Colorado," he says. "There’s a high percentage of breweries in a short distance and it’s walkable.”   

Source: Jim Watkins, Sociable Cider Werks
Writer: Anna Pratt 

A poetic showing of "arrivals and departures" at Saint Paul's Union Depot

Todd Boss is planning an ambitious public art installation at the historic Saint Paul Union Depot that explores themes of arrival and departure.

Boss, a local poet, public artist, and a co-founder of Motionpoems, intends to turn the landmark building into a 3D screen for various short films based on original poems. His project, titled, "Arrivals and Departures," will coincide with the Saint Paul Art Crawl in October 2014.     

Films will be projected onto the building’s façade every five minutes so the Depot appears to be moving along a rail line, he explains. "The idea is to inspire Minnesotans to think about the Depot and to attempt a poem about what it symbolizes,” he says. 

In the coming years, the recently renovated Depot will be a multimodal hub for various forms of transit. Boss's project celebrates the building's turnaround. “I want this to be a sort of reclamation of the space. I want it to be one way in which we give that space new meaning, and possess it again,” he says. 

The poetry that will inspire the films is emerging out of a statewide poetry contest for which The Loft Literary Center is a sponsor. The contest deadline is Jan. 15, the same day that the Kickstarter campaign ends. Boss is trying to raise $20,000 through Kickstarter. He hopes to remount the project annually over the next four years. He also wants to document the process through film.

Boss encourages contest entrants to think broadly about the theme, not literally. For him, the theme has to do with “second chances and opportunity and this melting pot nation that we have. All of the things that we associate with departure and arrival,” he says. 

Depending on how much funding the project secures, as many as 10 poems could move forward, he says. At that point, local filmmakers will be invited to interpret the poems in film. It’s all about “locally-sourced, community-making,” he says.

Boss credits his wife, Amy, for coming up with the original idea for the installation. One day last year, when they were working on a separate project, “She sat down at the kitchen table and said, ‘You know what would be cool?’ And she laid out a vision of a projected image of a landscape slowly going by, to make it look like the view out of a train car,” he says. “The poet part of my brain just recognized the poetic gesture of that.”  

Source: Todd Boss, Poetry in Motion 
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 

Carter Averbeck transforms old into renewed at Omforme

Omforme, a Norwegian word meaning "to transform,” is the name of a new shop at 24th and Lyndale in Minneapolis. Omforme also describes the ways in which its owner, Carter Averbeck, who is part Norwegian, gives furniture and other home goods a new lease on life. 

The shop offers a mix of vintage and modern pieces that reflect every era, as well as original furnishings from local designers. Some pieces are restored to their former glory, while others get a modern update, Averbeck explains.   

The shop evolved out of Averbeck’s other business, Trompe Decorative Finishes, through which Averbeck creates murals and decorative finishes for commercial and residential spaces. Often, when clients stopped by the studio, Averbeck says, they would remark on the unique furniture in the space--often pieces that Averbeck had reconditioned.

Before opening Omforme, Averbeck experimented with several pop-up shops. Those were successful, so he was able to secure a permanent home for Omforme.  

From the beginning, Averbeck wanted to be near Uptown, an area that has an artistic, hip edge to it, he says. 

Lyndale seemed like an ideal location. “Lyndale is moving so fast into what Uptown used to be,” with many new retail shops, restaurants, and apartments, he says. “I got lucky. It was the right space at the right time.”  

Previously, the 1,100-square-foot space had been a Gothic-style hair salon. Although the place needed a lot of attention, “the building has great bones,” Averbeck says.

Averbeck took his design cues from the vintage building. Old World details blend with crisp modern shades of white and charcoal gray, while the colorful pieces for sale lend ambiance. “It’s like a high-class manner house,” in Europe, “a timeless space,” he says. “People say it’s like walking out of Minneapolis, into some place else.”  

Source: Carter Averbeck, owner, Omforme 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Longfellow Offices fills a niche for wellness practitioners

Karen Linner, principal at Shenandoah Consulting, and Harvey McLain, of the Turtle Bread Company, teamed up to renovate Longfellow Offices at 36th and Lake in South Minneapolis. The new Longfellow Offices had its grand opening earlier this month. 

The vintage building previously housed an art gallery. The building's focus now is wellness, which Linner says is a “burgeoning market.” Longfellow Offices houses tenants that work in massage therapy, acupuncture, and Rolfing. A holistic diabetes group is also in the works.

Throughout the construction process, Linner and McLain sought to bring out the building’s best features.

“It’s a great building with great bones,” Linner says. 

The structure was gutted, then divided into 10 suites for practitioners. Tenants share a common hallway that’s equipped with a sink, plus a kitchenette and an accessible restroom.  

Linner and McLain added windows to allow for plenty of natural light, and they installed dimmable light fixtures, “which are convenient for practitioners,” she says.

They also paid attention to design details that preserve the building’s character. For example, hand-painted ceilings resemble old-fashioned pressed tin. Hardwood floors, high ceilings, subway tile, and wood trim add to the effect.  

Soundproofing in each suite was a priority. In wellness offices, Linner says, the “biggest complaints are about sound transmission. You don’t want to hear someone’s emotional release coming through the walls.”

Linner's  pleased with the way Longfellow Offices turned out. “People walk in and say, ‘This is such a nice building,' or 'It feels so calm in here,’” she says. 

On a broader level, “I hope we’ve created a community in the building,” she says, adding that the like-minded tenants “are part of a renaissance on East Lake Street.” 

Source: Karen Linner, principal, Shenandoah Consulting 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Pharmacie celebrates grand opening on Lyndale

Pharmacie, a boutique at 28th and Lyndale in South Minneapolis, held its grand opening on Saturday, November 9.

The storefront space, which is part of the Greenleaf Apartments development, was previously a showroom for apartment rental, according to Sam Beberg, who co-owns Pharmacie with Roger Barrett. Beberg also owns and operates Hot Plate, a brunch spot in South Minneapolis, with Carrie Lewis.

For Beberg and Barrett, bringing Pharmacie to fruition has been a two-year endeavor. 

Pharmacie sells furniture, with a special emphasis on pieces made by independent designers from around the country, plus vintage items. Other household goods for sale include light fixtures, handmade pillows, glassware, cookbooks, toys, art, and gifts.  

The store’s aesthetic plays off of the French spelling of pharmacy. Apothecary items, candles, and beakers lend an authentic pharmacy feeling. A floor-to-ceiling graphic image of an old-fashioned pharmacy acts as a backdrop. The 1,400-square-foot space, which has tall ceilings, gets plenty of natural light through big windows.

With its reclaimed wood decor and modern fixtures, “Someone said [the shop] looks like an industrial farm, with the modern and rustic look,” Beberg says.   

Beberg and Barrett settled on the space in part for its proximity to Lyn-Lake and Uptown. 

The area is “like the new Hennepin,” Beberg says. “We feel like a lot of places are within walking distance, including bars and restaurants.” 

He hopes to see more shops fill in around the area, including the next-door space. Fortunately, the area gets plenty of foot traffic. “It would be nice to see more retail on the street,” he says. “Everyone wants more businesses so they can feed off of each other.”  

Source: Sam Beberg, co-owner, Pharmacie
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Spyhouse Coffee contributes to The Broadway redevelopment

Spyhouse Coffee expanded into Northeast Minneapolis this fall with a third location in The Broadway, a former warehouse at Central and Broadway redeveloped by Peter Remes of First and First

The warehouse building’s other tenants include 612 BrewSeventhsin (a creative agency), and the Steller Hair Co.

Christian Johnson, who owns the Spyhouse coffeehouses along with The Bad Waitress restaurant in South Minneapolis, scoped out plenty of other locations around town before settling on The Broadway, according to The Journal. At the time, the building was undergoing early renovation work, according to the story.

Today, old barn wood salvaged from an Amish farm in Wisconsin, and the warehouse's original flooring and thick beams lend a rustic feel to the place.

A variety of antiques, including an old-fashioned roaster and custom-made furniture, add character to the space, as well.

Johnson plans to turn the Northeast shop into a roastery that will provide coffee to the other locations, according to The Journal.   
Chris Bubser, an architect and community activist who lives nearby in the Windom neighborhood, says the place makes a nice impression from the street. “I think the outside of the building looks great, and I'm glad someone saved and repurposed another cool old Northeast building,” he says. 

He’s fond of the big floor-to-ceiling windows, which provide views of the interior from the outside. 

The renovation respects the building’s original architecture, and “changes the whole dynamic of what was a pretty unappealing corner," Bubser says. "Those kinds of improvements may seem small, but the more developers make such improvements, the more momentum is built." 

Source: Chris Bubser, community resident 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

An uplifting short film about North Minneapolis

"Welcome to North," a three-minute video created by Josh Chitwood and Morgan Jensen, highlights the positive aspects of life on the North Side of Minneapolis. 

Chitwood, who is studying media and communications at North Central University in the city’s Elliot Park neighborhood, set out to produce a film for the fourth annual RE/MAX Results City & Neighborhood Film Festival. The festival will take place on Nov. 14 at the Riverview Theater, according to the contest’s website. That day, the four top films along with an “audience choice”-award winner will receive cash prizes ranging from $1,000 to $6,000, the website states. 

At the same time, Chitwood would like to see the film get more exposure, even beyond the film festival. 
Chitwood recently moved to the North Side, while Jensen, his girlfriend, was born and raised in this area of the city. That has given them an appreciation for an area they describe as “the most stereotyped side of the city.” “It gets so much of a bad rap but both of us just love North,” he says. As such, “We wanted to get something else out there that would show the good here. A lot of the news doesn’t do that. We wanted to show people the true side of North that people don’t normally see--give them a new perspective on it,” he adds. 

As they were putting together the short film last month, the couple roamed around the North Side, chatting up random strangers. They found a number of willing interviewees who had lots of good things to say about the area. All of the interviews featured in the mini-documentary came out of their meanderings. “The film is supposed to be what we love about North. Well, we know what we love but we wanted to use other people’s voices,” he says. 

Chitwood, who’s been making videos since he was a young child, has been surprised by the response so far. The film festival hasn’t happened yet, but already in just a handful of days, “Welcome to North,” which is posted online, has gotten over 4,000 views. The number of clicks has been increasing daily. “It’s cool to watch it grow,” he says. 

Chitwood plans to show the film around town in the coming weeks. “We’ve gotten a lot of amazing feedback. A lot of people have been saying that this is just what they’ve always tried to tell people about North,” he says. 

Ultimately, “I hope it just gets people to be really curious about coming and experiencing North,” he says. For those who live here, he adds, it affirms what they already know about North Minneapolis. “There’s so much community and so many families that live here. It’s a beautiful place. It’s beautifully diverse." 

Source: Josh Chitwood, filmmaker  
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Block E's "Made Here" exhibit highlights vibrant local arts scene

Artists in Storefronts began a several years ago as a grassroots project to highlight the possibilities for vacant storefronts in Minneapolis’s Whittier neighborhood.

A number of local artists working in diverse mediums created artistic window displays that turned the street into a kind of public gallery.

It went over well, and now Joan Vorderbruggen, the project’s driving force, is bringing the same concept to downtown Minneapolis with Made Here, a showcase of local artists in 40 windows that wrap around the Block E complex between 6th and 7th streets on Hennepin Avenue. The unconventional group show, which opened late last month, will be on view through early 2014. 

Besides re-imagining the shopping and entertainment mall that has emptied out in recent years, Made Here draws attention to the up-and-coming Hennepin Cultural District. Although the district is in early stages, it's already well known for the theaters that line the avenue, Vorderbruggen says. The Hennepin Theatre Trust, Artspace, Walker Art Center and the city are sponsors of the Block E project.    
Already, the artwork, which includes an eclectic mix of everything from wooden handicrafts to “light drawings,” has transformed the avenue, Vorderbruggen says. From the street, the window--of which are illuminated--are a striking display. They're also fun to look at close-up, she says, adding that she likes to people-watch as passersby encounter the work.  

One group of paintings and illustrations by Mary Jane Mansfield speaks to the importance of family, she says. Photographer Gina Dabrowski's snapshots predate the former Block E building’s razing. It just so happens that the image hangs in front of a rundown kitchen, which harkens back to the old Block E that's pictured in the photos, she says. 

Block E has its challenges, but the response to the artwork has been encouraging, Vorderbruggen says. For example, a downtown commuter told her the exhibition has improved the experience of waiting at the bus stop in front of Block E, which faces Hennepin Avenue. She’s heard from security guards that random strangers are striking up conversations about the art. One day Vorderbruggen watched two young children pretend to be in a forest against the backdrop of Ann Klefstad’s whimsical tar-on-plywood greenery.

Passersby can also read through historical information relating to the avenue’s early days; the Hennepin History Museum produced some documents from its archives for the show. Poetry mounted on the old movie theater’s marquee, provided by writers from The Loft Literary Center, is another nice touch. Besides the imagery and text on view 24/7, tunes by local musicians come through outdoor speakers.    

It was an ambitious endeavor, but Made Here came together in a mere six weeks, following smaller-scale seed projects. The exhibit lends itself nicely to the cultural district, which emphasizes the avenue as a playground for all types of art and cultural experiences, Vorderbruggen says. People can take in a Broadway show and then check out the public artwork on foot, or vice versa, she adds.  

It’s still early in the show’s run, but it's already a success on more than one level. “It was a whole city block in downtown that was dark. We illuminated it,” she says. “We’re injecting beauty there.”  

Source: Joan Vorderbruggen, artist coordinator, Made Here
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Frogtown Farm invites community to help with its design

Community members can get involved in the design process for the Frogtown Farm and Park at a workshop on Oct. 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Rondo Library

The 13-acre park in the works for St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood includes a recreation area, a nature preserve, and a demonstration farm. 

The upcoming workshop deals specifically with the design of the park's farm portion, which will take up nearly half of the site. Over the summer, the park pulled in the San Francisco-based Rebar Art and Design Studio to lead the farm's design process. 

The interdisciplinary agency, which works with numerous Twin Cities-based experts, was a good fit for the project because much of its work lies “at the intersection of art, design and ecology,” farm materials state. That includes experience with community farms and gardens.  
Betsy Schaefer Roob, a spokesperson for Frogtown Farm and Park, says next week's workshop will give community members a chance to share ideas and hear about the possibilities for the farm. That feedback will continue to drive several related meetings in the coming months. The idea is “to gather input and eventually responses to different concept designs,” she says, adding that the goal is to have a final design by early 2014.

Community members will consider how to facilitate programs at the farm centering on food production, education, and gardening, she says.  

After the design process wraps up, infrastructure will go in, while cover crops will be planted in 2014, she says. The farm will be up and running the following year.

The surrounding park is undergoing a separate community process. 

The idea for Frogtown Farm came from a handful of longtime neighborhood residents, and community involvement is something the farm aims to continue every step of the way. “Community is really the core of who we are and what we value,” Roob says.  

She hopes the result will be a “community place, a place to gather, to learn, to work, to play, and to share knowledge and, of course, food,” she says. “We really need the wisdom and diverse perspectives of the Frogtown community to build that place.”  

Source: Betsy Schaefer Roob, Frogtown Farm and Park 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Alley Atlas project to put informal names on Minneapolis alleyways

Possum Trail, Vera’s Territory, and Linda’s Lane are just a few of the colorful names that people are giving their alleys through a public art project that began a soft launch this month. 

The exhibit, "Alley Atlas,” officially opens Oct. 17 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where it’ll run through the end of the year.  

Andy Sturdevant, a local artist and writer who is leading the project, has long been fascinated by the city’s latticework of alleys, which, taken together, are akin to a city in the shadows, he says: “When you go behind people’s houses and go into the alley, you see the neighborhood in a much more interesting way than in front,” he says, adding, “[The alley] is where they store their stuff, or they get to know their neighbors.” 

For example, one might stumble upon little motorboats, pet car projects, or flourishing backyard gardens in an alley. “These are places people know well, that are part of their everyday life,” Sturdevant says.  

Yet, alleys don’t have names, at least not officially. That’s where the project comes in: Community members are invited to name their alleys and contribute anecdotes about them in person at the museum, or they can submit online or through the mail. Sturdevant isn’t looking for names that are tied to developers or politicians. Instead, he wants to see names that reflect “experiences, memories, and stories."

The idea isn't to come up with a resolution to bring to City Hall, he says. Alleys will get their due on several oversized maps at the museum that are divided into the city’s north, central, and south portions. These artistic maps are relatively barebone images, picturing alleys along with parks, bodies of water, and various arterial streets and highways--and not much more. 

Sturdevant has reached out to the city’s 81 neighborhood associations about the project, and submissions have started rolling in. Many alleys are named for people who have made an impression on residents of a block, he says, adding that he's impressed with the collaboration he's observed thus far. People are checking in with their neighbors. “I get the sense people already have names for their alleys,” he adds. 

Sturdevant is also collecting alley-related stories for a catalog that will accompany the maps. People are telling  “really interesting stories about their lives,” which ought to be shared, he says. 

Source: Andy Sturdevant
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Travail to open pop-up restaurant on West Broadway

Travail Kitchen and Amusements, a Robbinsdale restaurant, is experimenting with a pop-up eatery called Umami in North Minneapolis. 

Umami, which is themed around Asian-style "comfort food," will occupy the space on West Broadway Avenue North for up to eight weeks, according to a prepared statement. The 45-seat restaurant is “the first tasting menu and takeout-driven pop-up restaurant in Minnesota,” the prepared statement reads. 

Travail collaborated with the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition (WBC) to open the place. 

The project fits in with the WBC’s ongoing effort to shine a light on assets in the West Broadway business district, according to Shaina Brassard, a spokesperson from the WBC. “We’re looking for ways to draw attention to vacant spaces on West Broadway,” she says. That includes pop-up galleries and retail shops in various spaces along the corridor. 

It helps that Travail, which is in the process of opening a couple of other local restaurants, has also been hosting pop-up events all over town this summer, she says. 

The space, which has sat vacant for a couple of years, features floor-to-ceiling windows, an open kitchen, a mural, and other art, plus long, community-style tables and more. Brassard is hopeful that Umami’s “presence there, which is beautiful and vibrant, will make people see the potential that the space has as a restaurant.” 

Although the WBC has long supported pop-up art events as a part of FLOW Northside Arts Crawl and other community initiatives, “It’s a strategy we’re working on this year in particular, as a part of our retail recruitment and business district revitalization,” she says. The pop-up idea encourages people to “think about space in a different way,” she adds.  

To help pull off the pop-up restaurant, the WBC negotiated a short-term lease for the space and it took advantage of grant money from the city’s Great Streets initiative.  

The place has already generated buzz. “The neighborhood is excited about having such a great sit-down restaurant in the area,” Brassard says. 

Source: Shaina Brassard, West Broadway Coalition
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Tracy Sides' Urban Oasis concept wins Forever St. Paul Challenge

Tracy Sides, a healthy-foods advocate who lives on St. Paul’s East Side, frequents the nearby Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. The grounds have become a source of inspiration for her, and more recently, the focus of a million-dollar idea. 

In February, Sides submitted a plan to transform a vacant building at Bruce Vento into a food hub, to the St. Paul Foundation’s Forever St. Paul Challenge, a contest to support ideas for improving the city.  

Sides’ Urban Oasis concept rose to the top, and on Monday the foundation announced it was the contest’s winner. The foundation will contribute $1 million to the cause.    

Urban Oasis was among 1,000 entries in the beginning. The pool was whittled down to 30 semifinalists and more recently, three finalists. A public voting system online determined the final winner. 

For Sides, the outcome came as a pleasant surprise. At the same time, it seems like a natural next step in a longstanding community process to liven up the nature sanctuary, she says. Urban Oasis is part of a bigger project to renovate the city-owned building, she adds.   

The food hub, which will take up a couple of floors in the four-story building, will include a food cooperative, eatery, event space, catering company, and a food truck. Commercial kitchens will be available for rent, while the hub will also provide business training to small ventures oriented around food. Communal suppers on Sunday nights and cooking classes will also help make the place a true community center, she says. 

The food hub is about “creating something that’s a thriving asset for the community, and that’s addressing some of our needs,” she says. Additionally, in a diverse neighborhood, a food hub seems like an appropriate way to “acknowledge and celebrate our differences,” she says. “We’re connecting people through food.” 

Although food hubs are experiencing a groundswell of popularity across the country, Sides’ concept is unique for the “unprecedented number of spokes [it has]. In a way, it’s modeling a healthy food system, with growing, producing, distributing, selling, preparing, eating, and composting waste,” Sides says. 

It’s about “creating a more equitable and healthy food system. That’s the real outcome I would love to see from this.”

Source: Tracy Sides
Writer: Anna Pratt 
Image: Kevin McKeever - Image Generation

Adding public art to the new Lowertown ballpark

Recently, the city of St. Paul put out a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the public art that will go into the new Saints stadium in Lowertown. 

The city and the baseball team enlisted Julie Snow Architects, AECOM, and Ryan Companies to come up with a main concept for the 7,000-seat facility, which includes everything from public plazas to a dog park, according to the RFQ. 

Jody Martinez, who works for the city’s parks and recreation department, is leading the charge. She explains that at this early stage, artist entrants probably won’t have a “super-fleshed out idea,” for their ballpark contributions. Rather, the RFQ, which has a Sept. 16 deadline, is more about “what the artists hope to accomplish,” she says.   

That’s what a committee composed of city workers, art professionals, and other stakeholders will be looking at when they select the artists for the job, she says. 

Public art will add another dimension to the ballpark, which is replacing the 30-year-old Midway Stadium.

She says the ballpark’s artwork could take just about any form. For example, public art might tie in to the area’s history or the arts district. It might also incorporate “new-age electric art,” she says, adding, “It’s really open. We didn’t want to be prescriptive in any way.”  

That said, the Saints are known for a lot of quirky things, and the art should reflect that. “We’re looking for something quirky or out of the box, that speaks to the Saints and what they’ve stood for,” she says. Additionally, the public art should be within plain view so “that you [don't] have to search for it. It should be front and center."  

The committee encourages established and emerging artists to collaborate. “We’re hoping to get some interesting teams of artists who can combine forces and come up with unique ideas,” Martinez says. 

The timeframe for the public art will be tied to the stadium’s construction, which is planned to begin next spring, she adds.  

Source: Jody Martinez, St. Paul Parks and Recreation 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Betty Danger's Country Club to feature food and a Ferris wheel

Betty Danger’s Country Club, a Tex-Mex restaurant featuring dining while sitting on a Ferris wheel, a mini golf course, and a “pro shop,” is destined for Northeast Minneapolis. 

The restaurant plans to take over the former home of Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge, a retro drive-in at 2519 Marshall St. N.E., according to city materials about the project. The location has been empty since Psycho Suzi’s relocated nearby a couple of years ago.  

Leslie Bock, a.k.a. Psycho Suzi, owns both places, along with Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den in North Minneapolis. 

She described the personality behind Betty Danger’s in a letter to neighbors, according to the TC Daily Planet, which quotes her: “Betty is apple pie and sunshine, but sadly lives in a time warp with no sense of reality or logic. Poor Betty."   

The restaurant's most striking attraction, a 60-foot Ferris wheel, will offer views of the Mississippi River, the downtown skyline, and the Lowry Bridge.     
Last Monday, the city’s planning commission approved plans for the restaurant, which will also have a clubhouse, a covered terrace, an outdoor kitchen, and a full bar. The place aims to open by early next year.  City Council member Kevin Reich says of the neighborhood’s reaction, “The predominant tone I’m getting is that everyone’s looking for a win-win.” 

Parking is the main issue that has come up with the area’s neighborhood group. That said, it’s a solvable problem, Reich believes.  “The city’s not afraid of the novelty of it,” he says, and will be breaking it down into various regulatory items and other nuts-and-bolts issues. It helps that “the community is very engaged,” according to Reich.

Bock is known as someone who is “committed to being a good neighbor, who’s very creative, thinks out of the box, and brings landmarks to the area." In terms of finding the "wow factor," Reich says, “She’s done that in a big way."  

Source: Kevin Reich, City Council member 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

682 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts