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New apartment complex threatens to close Stadium Village restaurants

The new apartment complex threatens businesses on the corner of Harvard Street SE and Washington Avenue SE, including Espresso Exposé.

The new apartment complex threatens businesses on the corner of Harvard Street SE and Washington Avenue SE, including Espresso Exposé.

Ah, Stadium Village: For decades, the neighborhood has hosted everything from Vikings games to U2 concerts to every University of Minnesota freshman’s first drunken encounter with Raising Cane’s chicken fingers.

But plans for a new apartment complex could disrupt the collegiate playground, threatening to close businesses like Big 10 Restaurant and Bar, Espresso Exposé, Village Wok, and Bun Mi Sandwiches.

The Minnesota Daily reported that Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors — the same development group responsible for the luxury behemoth Latitude 45 Apartments in Downtown East — will erect a 27-story apartment complex on the corner of Harvard Street SE and Washington Avenue SE, forcing the current restaurants occupying the space to close or move soon.

The new on-campus structure would contain 450 units ranging from studio to luxury apartments, making the complex about seven feet taller than the nearby campus monolith Moos Tower.

Chris Ferguson, president of the Stadium Village Commercial Association, said Harbor Bay hasn’t made any efforts to host a formal meeting with business owners in the area, something he hopes happens soon so Stadium Village businesses can get a grasp on how the apartment complex will affect the neighborhood.

“We support development. It’s just a question of how the businesses are treated,” Ferguson said.

Emily Steuer, a student at the University of Minnesota, has been working as a barista at Espresso Exposé since October. She said she got hired at the coffee shop knowing the new development would put Exposé out of business — she just doesn’t know when.

“Everybody’s really sad to see it closing down,” Steuer said. “It’s pretty ambiguous, which is going to make it harder when it actually closes down.”

According to the Minnesota Daily article, Harbor Bay made a deal with Espresso Exposé owner Pat Weinberg to buy out his lease for the coffee shop’s location. Another business owner on the block, Big 10 co-owner Todd DuPont, told the U’s newspaper that he hasn’t heard from Harbor Bay about a move-out plan for his restaurant, and has no intention of moving.