Uptown Minneapolis is a swell place to catch dinner, drinks, or a movie. But if you're looking for a place to sleep, you'll have to talk your way onto someone's couch. Or into their bedroom.
Locating a comfortable crash pad could get a lot easier if plans go forth for a new six-story hotel that might arrive on West Lake Street. The proposal has divided neighborhood folks, who've taken to the internet to rally support — or opposition.
Competing petitions have cropped up to encourage locals to reach their city officials, who are set to consider the matter at a February 8 meeting of the Minneapolis City Council's planning commission. Graves Hospitality, the lead proprietors behind this project, are asking for variances on ordinances that block construction of anything higher than 56 feet. As planned, the hotel would be close to 70 feet.
The building would stand on the space formerly occupied by Tadka Indian, a vegetarian restaurant that has closed. The project also includes a first-floor restaurant.
A Change.org petition in favor of the project praises the idea for bringing a place for "guests of neighbors to stay, an amenity that is sorely lacking in the Uptown area," and predicts a boost in foot traffic for a neighborhood lined with bars, restaurants, and coffee shops.
Adding five stories would eat up a lot of the existing scenery, but the building would only be five stories high on its south side.
The "person" behind that petition is called Forward Minneapolis. The petition was the first involvement of "Forward Minneapolis" on the user-driven activism site, and the petition has been promoted on the Graves Hospitality Facebook page, which also encouraged supporters to email councilwoman Lisa Bender, who represents the area.
One commenter backing the hotel said six stories isn't even enough, and the hotel should have stuck to its original plan for a nine-story development more befitting a major urban area. Asks a signer registered as Douglas Thomas MacInnes, "Does Minneapolis wish to become an retirement community, an Ely or Hermantown, or does it truly want to become a world class city?"
The petition against the hotel agrees that Uptown needs a hotel. But not this one, and not there. It asserts that the project isn't about "jobs, vacant buildings, gentrification," but about land use. And the hotel would simply be too big — about 40 percent bigger than current zoning allowances.
Then there's the potential for a skyline eyesore. "The proposed 6-story hotel would be harmful to the use and enjoyment of residential properties to the south and would negatively impact the neighborhood livability," reads the petition.
As of Monday night, the petition supporting the hotel is leading the one opposing, with 244 signers in favor, compared to 189 against. Both pleas urge readers to reach Bender.
Until then they'll sleep at home, with nothing but their dreams — or nightmares — about the future of the Uptown skyline.
Correction: Previously this post indicated that the "Forward Minneapolis" account might be affiliated with Graves Hospitality. Forward Minneapolis is, in fact, a local community group that advocates for development projects in Minneapolis.