Few things cause Minnesotans more anxiety than parking. For some a fear of tormented minutes spent circling the block or having to walk more than a quarter mile is enough to put a night out in the city in jeopardy. Could this parking phobia kill a nationally recognized comedy club in Minneapolis?
Acme Comedy Co. owner Louis Lee seems to believe so, and he's fighting to preserve parking spots that could be gobbled up by a new development. Comics and Acme supporters flocked to City Hall on Monday when the city's Planning Commission approved a seven-story apartment building slated for the surface lot across the street from the North Loop club. A petition against the project has gained more than 5,800 signatures, and comics from across the country have voiced their support for Acme on social media.
SAVE ACME! https://t.co/AygL8P9HIG
Dear Minnesotans,— Emo Philips (@EmoPhilips) June 27, 2016
Today you might lose one of the greatest comedy clubs of all time.
Beseeching you to help,
Spearheaded by local developer Solhem Companies, the project would replace the 120-stall lot at 721 First St. N.
“I have owned and operated Acme Comedy for nearly 25 years. I love the substantial growth that I have seen in the North Loop and welcome new neighbors openly, but the bottom line is this proposed apartment complex will drive my guests away,” Lee said last month in a news release. “The people who want to see comedy and see shows at Acme Comedy Co. here will no longer come because the parking situation will be a nightmare.”
According to the Star Tribune, the city is trying to address Lee's parking concerns. While the proposal sailed through the Planning Commission, it tacked on a requirement that the developer work with nearby businesses to satisfy parking demand. Solhem already planned a roughly 220-space underground lot beneath the 124-unit building. An existing 160-stall lot will remain, and is largely open to the public at night.
Other options discussed were expanding the hours of a private ramp that's closed on weekends and adding meters on a nearby street.
Lee has said he doesn't want to leave Acme's longtime home. But should the apartment project go through, he'd be apt to consider a more parking-friendly location, he tells the Strib.