New Town Hall Brewery planned for Northeast

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August 19, 2014 // UPDATED 4:29 pm - August 27, 2014
By: Ben Johnson
A conceptual view of the 201 Lowry redevelopment from a 2012 staff report
City of Minneapolis
Ben Johnson

The shuttered site of Little Jack’s restaurant will be redeveloped into a high-density, affordable housing project and a new Town Hall Brewery concept.

Paul Dzubnar, who owns Town Hall Brewery with his business partner Pete Rifakes, confirmed today that they are planning on opening their fourth Town Hall location at 201 Lowry Ave. NE.

“It’ll be a Town Hall facility with Town Hall beer, but we may go with a unique name for this one,” he said.

Dzubnar said the new restaurant will probably have a separate banquet facility – city documents refer to it as Tied House Banquet Hall – with a food menu similar to the pub fare offered at the other three Town Hall locations.

Those include its recently renovated flagship brewery in Seven Corners, Town Hall Lanes in south Minneapolis and Town Hall Tap near Minnehaha Falls.

“Each of them has a little bit of a different feel, and this one will be different too. Little Jack’s was kind of a supper club, so this one might have a similar feeling,” said Dzubnar, the president and CEO of Green Mill. He also owns Crooked Pint Alehouse, Twisted Fork Grille and Harriet’s, which will be opening soon in Southwest Minneapolis.

Dzubnar said it was too early to provide an accurate timetable for the project. City staff estimated he would close on the city-owned, tax-forfeited land in January, with construction taking six months.

The Town Hall project is considered the first phase of the city’s long-planned redevelopment of the site.

Clare Housing, a non-profit that provides affordable housing for people living with HIV or AIDS, is responsible for phase two. It plans to build 36 studio and one-bedroom apartments in a building tentatively named Marshall Flats on a section of the Little Jack’s parking lot.

City Council approved Clare’s role in the redevelopment last spring. Clare Housing Executive Director Chuck Peterson said $1.5 million of the project’s $5.9 million cost has been raised so far, but it won’t move forward until it receives state funding. Last year Clare was denied in its first try at obtaining state funding.

Rent would average around $670 per month, although that cost would be paid in part by housing subsidies like Section 8 vouchers.

“Clare has a lot of support in the Northeast community and I’m fully confident they’ll be a great addition to Lowry,” said Ward 1 City Council Member Kevin Reich. “This proves you can have affordable, supportive housing and it’s not a deterrent to positive economic development.”

Marshall Flats would be staffed 24/7 with support personnel stationed at the front desk.

“Because we deal with very low-income, formerly homeless people with HIV, and some folks have complicating issues around chemical dependency and mental health we staff our buildings 24/7,” said Peterson. “They act in some ways like a case manager, but they’re really there to deal with day-to-day issues.”

Clare will know if it will receive state funding by November. If it does, ground could be broken by the end of 2015 with the project opening by fall 2016.