Nicolas Hallett


Dinkytown hotel in city’s hands

The city of Minneapolis began its Dinkytown historical designation study in April, but questions remain about the future of the area’s businesses and a potential $25 million hotel project. The study will try to answer whether about 30 buildings in the business district — which has roots dating back to the late 1800s — are worth preserving. City staff say a final decision could come as late as 2015. Meanwhile, Doran Companies’ hotel project remains in flux, and business owners are wondering if they’ll be displaced by it.

Minneapolis to consider sidewalk sales

Hardware stores are among the few businesses allowed to peddle goods on Minneapolis sidewalks, but others across the city may soon be able to do the same. The City Council Zoning and Planning Committee will review a policy change June 5 that would allow businesses to sell and display merchandise outside their buildings, a move that businesses around the University of Minnesota support, as long as fellow retailers follow its guidelines.

Dorms scarce in housing boom

Private student housing is a big game at universities nationwide, but Big Ten schools aren’t eager to jump in. Though most Big Ten universities report high occupancy rates in their residence halls, the University of Minnesota and others don’t plan to build new facilities or compete with private developers.

Legislature passes online voter registration

Gov. Mark Dayton signed online voter registration into law Tuesday after the bill garnered vast bipartisan support from legislators. Minnesota voters can now register online, but will still have to cast ballots at local precincts. The Minnesota Senate voted 41-24 to approve the online system Tuesday after the House passed the same bill by an overwhelming margin of 129-2 several weeks ago. The new law comes one day after a district court deemed Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s earlier incarnation of online voter registration illegal.

No late-night Mesa in Stadium Village

Mesa Pizza opened its newest pizza-by-the-slice storefront in Stadium Village this month, but this location is without one of Mesa’s most popular allures — late-night hours. For now, the new store, located in the Stadium Village Plaza between Burger King and Darque Tan, will hold off on applying for a city license to stay open late. At first, Mesa Pizza was seeking an extended hours license for the new location as soon as possible, general manager Wade Owe said, but later decided to wait and prove itself to the neighborhood before applying.

Spring Jam doesn’t worry businesses

Dinkytown business owners say they’re not worried about unruly students during this week’s Spring Jam despite witnessing two chaotic nights after the Gophers men’s hockey team’s NCAA tournament stint. The annual University of Minnesota event this Thursday through Saturday likely won’t include any unusual precautions from Dinkytown business owners. Many say they will have full staffs and added security, as they always do for Spring Jam.

Fighting to keep ideas

Until recently, University of Minnesota students didn’t have rights to their own work. That policy changed in February, but business and legal experts say it’s still important to be wary when sharing intellectual property, both before and after graduation. Usually institutions — whether they are companies or schools — own the intellectual property of students and employees. If taken to court, the larger establishment usually wins. For that reason, experts recommend that students and employees keep their ideas to themselves.

City support helps keep small businesses alive

Kafé 421 owner Jim Sander, his wife and their business partner had raised $200,000 by 2003 to start a restaurant in Dinkytown. Some minor miscalculations made money tight in the beginning, but when the Sanders’ business partner became ill and pulled out of the venture, the business was in turmoil before it had even begun. “We were just running out of cash and really needed the help,” Sander said. “No one realizes how much it costs to start a new business.”

Research on the front lines

Gunshots ring out as thick smoke fills the room. There’s a pile of what appears to be bodies, and their clothing is soaked with blood. A first responder has seconds to attend to the would-be victims, and the surrounding conditions will only get worse. The simulation has begun. The sound is recorded, a machine is bellowing smoke, and the bodies, or patient simulators, are $50,000 mannequins made of proprietary materials developed at the University of Minnesota.

Stadium Village hotel quietly moves forward

Doran Companies’ Dinkytown hotel proposal is still in flux, but a new Stadium Village hotel is quietly moving forward near the University of Minnesota. The Minneapolis Planning Commission unanimously approved CPM Companies’ $13 million extended-stay hotel Monday without discussion. The five-story, 122-room hotel would primarily cater to the University of Minnesota’s incoming $160.5 million Ambulatory Care Center, set to open in 2016.