Biz buzz :: Depot Tavern

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June 7, 2010 // UPDATED 8:35 am - June 7, 2010
By: Gregory J. Scott and May Tobar
Gregory J. Scott and May Tobar
First Ave to open its next-door bar

First Avenue seems finally ready to open the doors of its next door bar and restaurant, the highly anticipated Depot Tavern, which was slated for a May opening.

Just before Memorial Day, Machen Davis, a First Ave spokesperson, said the club had one more hurdle to clear, and is expecting to open the week of June 7.

“We just have to pass one last inspection, and then we’ll have an actual opening date,” she said. “But it’s looking early June.”

Designed as the ultimate pre- and post-concert hangout, the Depot Tavern will feature monitors behind the bar that provide a live feed to the performances on the stages of both the Main Room and the 7th St. Entry.

Renovations for the new bar have also expanded to include changes to the Entry, which sits snugly next door.

“We installed a walk-in cooler,” Davis said. “And we got some new speakers. There will be a women’s bathroom in the Entry now.”

That’s right. Women will no longer have to suffer the long line and the lack of hygiene in the infamous Entry bathroom. Men, however, will. The club wanted to keep the old bathroom, Davis said, if for nothing more than sentimental value.


Assistant GM out at Forum

Although it has only been open for two months, Forum, Jim Ringo’s restaurant in the City Center, has already lost its assistant general manager.

An employee confirmed that Don Shier, who had been serving a dual role as assistant general manager and sales and marketing manager, experienced “a splitting of ways” with the restaurant in late May.  Though it is unclear how voluntary Shier’s departure was, the employee did say that the sales and marketing manager post is a position that no longer exists.

Shier’s departure comes amidst insider talk that Forum is struggling financially.

David Sternberg of Brookfield Properties, Ringo’s City Center landlord, could not comment on the rumors.

“In terms of his staying power, I don’t know,” he said. “Every business today is tough. I have no reason to believe that it’s not positive. He just opened.”

Shier could not be reached for comment.

The Forum, which resurrects the historic art deco glamour of the famed Depression-era restaurant the Forum Cafeteria, opened on April 23. It features a roving menu, every month spotlighting a specialty from a different region of the United States.


Broadway Pizza opens

The new Broadway Pizza had its grand opening on May 26 at 200 6th St. S., Suite 270, in the U.S. Bank Plaza space formerly occupied by Mill City Pizza. The Downtown location caters to office workers and businesses.  

The menu at the new Broadway differs slightly from its other locations. There is not a full burger menu, but the store serves a full line of pizza, a salad bar, hot and cold pastas, breakfast pizzas, coffee and fresh breads.

There are six combo meal deals offered daily that include a variety of pizzas, cheese breads and drinks.

The store is open Monday–Friday from 7 a.m.–3:30 p.m. For more information call 465-8899 or visit


Wells Fargo Center wins environmental certification

The Wells Fargo Center of Hines was awarded Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED rating system for Existing Buildings on May 25.

The USGBC is a nonprofit organization that works to make environmentally friendly buildings.

LEED measures buildings’ sustainability through a rating system that relies on a variety of components. Categories include water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design. Hines has ensured that the Wells Fargo Center has reached a high status in all of the LEED categories by making significant energy-saving changes.

The building achieved a 33 percent reduction in indoor water use by installing retro-fit water fixtures and using low-flow water pressure for running water and flushing systems. Hines also installed retro-fit lighting systems that use high efficiency bulbs and contain occupancy sensors. There are high efficiency motors installed in mechanical equipment, and there is a single source recycling system. According to ENERGY STAR, the building performs 93 percent better in energy management than all other buildings in the nation.  


Hilton Minneapolis to be sold for $156 million

The largest hotel in Minnesota has agreed to be acquired by a real estate investment trust (REIT) for about $155.5 million.

In a press release issued on May 24, DiamondRock Hospitality Co., an REIT based in Bethesda, Md., that owns 20 hotels, announced that it would buy the Hilton Minneapolis. DiamondRock expects the deal to close by its third fiscal quarter of 2010.

With 821 rooms and 77,000 square feet of meeting space, the Hilton Minneapolis is the largest hotel in the state. It was built in 1990, when the City of Minneapolis helped finance the project, partnering with the St. Louis-based developer HBE Corp. The city approved $45 million in tax increment municipal bonds for the project and owned 50 percent of the property until 1999. The hotel was then sold to Hilton Hotels Corp., and the city received $40.5 million for its stake. The city still owns the land under the hotel.

The property last changed hands in March 2006, when Potomac, Md.-based Haberhill LLC and the Greenwich, Ct.-based Starwood Capital Group paid $92 million.


Brooklyn-based furniture designer opens Minneapolis showroom

André Joyau, whose Brooklyn furniture studio has been heralded for its blend of minimalist aesthetics and organic elements, will open up a new showroom in the Tower Lofts at 700 Washington Ave. N.

The showroom will feature furniture, lighting and accessories. A grand opening event, during which Joyau will be present to discuss his work, is planned for June 24–25, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.


ROBOTlove debuts new space, strange new treasures

A small collection of plush meats — cuddly ham bones, fuzzy pork chops, each about the size of a throw pillow — greeted the very first customers at the new ROBOTlove at the corner of East Hennepin and Central avenues, which opened its doors for business on June 2.

The meats, created by San Francisco designer Lauren Venell, piled atop a small museum-style bench in the center of the new showroom. The display was just one of many funky touches orchestrated by local artist and designer Jonathan Gomez Whitney, who collaborated with store owner Kristoffer Knutson on the store’s design. The new ROBOTlove takes over the space previously occupied by the Pink Hobo Gallery, which now shares the building with the Knutson’s emporium for collectible toys.  

A grand opening celebration is planned for mid-July, to coincide with the release of the latest run of Dunny toys, the Kid Robot Dunny 2010 series.

Store hours are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; 10 a.m.–6 p.m. on Saturdays; and 12–5 p.m. on Sundays.


Get buff outdoors

The Ivy Fitness Club is celebrating Minneapolis’s beautiful summers by taking their business outdoors.

After a successful outdoor season last spring, The Ivy Fitness Club is continuing its tradition of outdoor fitness classes until Labor Day this year, and plans to start classes again in the spring of 2011.

The special outdoor fitness classes currently include Outdoor Express Cardio, Tighten and Tone and Outdoor Yoga. Outdoor Express Cardio currently meets on Wednesdays from 12:15–1 p.m. Tighten and Tone will be offered from July 8–Aug. 26 on Thursdays from 12–1 p.m., and Outdoor Yoga is coming soon.

Ivy Fitness Club is located on the second floor of the Historic Ivy Tower, 201 S. 11th St. For more information, contact Fitness Manager Joel Eshelman at or 353-3579.