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Developer buys BJ's Liquor Lounge property in north Minneapolis

First opened in 1980, BJ's was the last Minneapolis strip club outside downtown before it closed last year.

First opened in 1980, BJ's was the last Minneapolis strip club outside downtown before it closed last year. Susan Du

A real estate development firm has purchased the former BJ's Liquor Lounge and its parking lot, four months after the long-running strip club closed as part of an agreement with the city of Minneapolis. 

The buyer didn't have to venture far to scout its purchase. In fact it could see BJ's from across its own parking lot.

The Business Journal reports Master Properties, headquartered just down the block from BJ's on West Broadway Avenue, paid $1.6 million to buy the 0.58 acre parcel. The deal closed last Wednesday, and, combined, means Master owns a 1.1 acre stretch of the busy city block. 

Company principal Don Gerberding tells the Journal he has "some ideas" for redevelopment, and observes that neighborhood is zoned for "light manufacturing and office" purposes. 

Opened as a neighborhood bar featuring topless dancers in 1980, BJ's was the last holdout in defiance of a city ordinance that later restricted adult entertainment operations to a few narrow stretches of downtown Minneapolis.

The bar presented few problems for the city, with police calls rare, and was known as a dancer-friendly business. (Strippers retained 100 percent of their tips, and the simple bar space didn't provide any private or "VIP" areas.)

In 2018, owner Brian Bjurstrom, who'd inherited the bar from his father Jerry, agreed to surrender the adult license, while also deciding he didn't want to keep it open as a regular bar.

Said Gerberding: "It’s a prominent intersection, a gateway from both North and Northeast into the North Loop and it’s got great freeway access on an intersection with 55,000 cars a day."