New North Loop restaurant passes city hurdle

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November 15, 2004 // UPDATED 4:41 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

The Minneapolis City Council approved a proposal for a new 9,300-square-foot restaurant in the North Loop near the Bookman Lofts, 525 N. 3rd St. The 11-0 vote occurred Nov. 5.

Supporters of the restaurant, designed by the Warehouse District architectural firm James Dayton Design, say it will become a high-profile neighborhood destination.

Steve Frenz, the project's developer, said the restaurant's name and concept hasn't been determined. The price points will be similar to Block E's Bellanotte. Dinners at the Italian restaurant are $13-$30.

"We want something you can walk into in a suit and tie or jeans," Frenz said. "We hope it will be a place where neighborhood residents can walk to and [it will] be a Downtown destination."

James Dayton Design is known for its innovative design of the Minnetonka Arts Center, a renovated elementary school featuring a dramatic mod exterior with blocks of corrugated metal and wood.

The restaurant will be built near the Bookman Lofts, a currently occupied 57-unit condo development, and Bookman Stacks, 345 6th Ave. N., which is under construction.

The revised proposal by Frenz and James Dayton Design also calls for a landscaped garden with outdoor seating. The garden replaces earlier plans for a surface parking lot,

which faced opposition from the city's Planning Commission.

The commission denied the proposal Sept. 27, objecting to the parking lot and a 92-square-foot, two-sided sign on the Bookman Stacks building. The commission also objected to the proposal because it doesn't meet the guidelines of the city's Downtown East/North Loop Master Plan, which calls for a 11-story building at the site.

At a Oct. 28 hearing, the City Council's Zoning and Planning Committee voted to approve the developer's appeal of the Planning Commission decision, but limited the sign's height to 80 feet. The Council's unanimous Nov. 5 vote affirmed that restriction.