Nicholas Studenski


Dinkytown hotel plans revived, under new developer

About two months after Doran Companies’ Dinkytown hotel proposal was put on hold by a city-ordered historical designation study, a new developer has plans to build a hotel on the same block that could keep the original buildings’ facades intact. DJR Architecture has entered purchase agreements with various Dinkytown owners and is set to release its plans for the project next week, said Dean Dovolis, the firm’s owner.

Student businesses thrive in competition

Last year alone, University of Minnesota students launched at least 25 businesses, bolstered by guidance and funds from the school’s entrepreneurship courses and programs. In the same year, University faculty and students invented and filed a record number of patents. And as the University ramps up its efforts to incubate businesses in and out of classrooms, University students and alumni represent almost half of the semifinalists for the statewide entrepreneurship competition called the Minnesota Cup.

Some local businesses hurt after Green Line construction

About a week before large crowds gathered to celebrate the opening of the Green Line light rail, one business along the train filed for bankruptcy. “The construction really hurt,” said Dave Koch, manager of Campus Pizza, a Stadium Village eatery that’s been operating in the University of Minnesota neighborhood since 1959. Despite efforts in the Twin Cities to reduce the burden of construction along the Green Line, some owners say they have struggled to stay in business.

New co-op housing proposed in Dinkytown

As much campus-area development continues with luxury student housing, one developer is looking to expand its model of community over amenities. Riverton Community Housing, which owns six properties near the University of Minnesota, is looking to build a new six-story, 66-unit apartment complex at the corner of 13th Avenue Southeast and Fourth Street Southeast, across the road from the Library Bar.

Renewed Bell Museum on the way to St. Paul

Expanded space and a new planetarium are now in the cards for the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum of Natural History, thanks to the state’s recent help with setting aside funding. The Bell Museum of Natural History is relocating to a new site on the St. Paul campus after years of pushing state legislators to fund renovations. With construction set to start next year, plans for the new facility are underway, and supporters are excited about the next museum’s features.

Minneapolis may loosen liquor laws

Since Burrito Loco Bar and Grill’s debut more than a decade ago, owner Greg Pillsbury said food sales have increased every year. Still, the Dinkytown establishment struggles to comply with a city law known as the “60-40” rule that limits sales of alcohol to no more than 40 percent of a restaurant’s total revenue. “If your mom meets her old roommate on the patio and they split an appetizer and each have a strawberry margarita, I’m out of compliance,” he said.

U facilities, local business ahead of new recycling law

As the state mandates a new recycling law, University of Minnesota and local business employees say their programs are already ahead of the curve. Last month, Gov. Mark Dayton signed legislation that will go into effect beginning in 2016, requiring all Minnesota businesses to recycle at least three different materials — with the exception of some manufacturers. University officials and campus-area businesses leaders say their operations already comply with the new regulations — some even going above and beyond.

Development slowed by disagreement, city code

When it comes to new development, neighborhoods, developers and the city of Minneapolis aren’t always on the same page. Clashes over changes to neighborhoods and complex city code can sometimes slow developments, but some stakeholders say collaboration and modifications to Minneapolis ordinances could help ease the process.

Minneapolis expands mobile grocery stores

Mobile grocery stores could soon provide an oasis for food deserts in parts of Minneapolis. The City Council voted last Friday to expand an ordinance allowing mobile grocery stores in Minneapolis to sell a wider variety of foods, including fresh produce, in more areas than previously allowed. While it takes time and money to construct brick-and-mortar stores in developing neighborhoods or areas lacking access to full grocery stores, the mobile markets could offer a cheaper, quicker and more versatile alternative, said Gayle Prest, the city’s sustainability director.

The evidence locker

University of Minnesota police confiscate everything from drugs to musical instruments, and they store it all in the property room of the Transportation and Safety Building. Most items fall into the categories of audio and video recordings, drugs and drug paraphernalia, said University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner.