Update: Barring surprise council reversal, Trader Joe’s dead

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June 21, 2012 by Sarah M

By Nick Halter

The family who owns the property where a proposed Trader Joe’s would be located in Lyn-Lake said today that unless the Minneapolis City Council on Friday has a surprise change of heart, the project is likely dead.

“Most likely it is dead,” said Jeff Minea, who represents the family owning the parcels at 27th and Lyndale Avenue South. “There is very little that we anticipate that could happen differently. Part of it is there are complications with the people next door at Art Materials. We were going to buy their property and they can’t wait around forever.”

The city’s Zoning and Planning Committee on June 21 voted 6-0 against the project’s request to rezone several parcels of property at 27th and Lyndale Avenue South in order to build a 14,000 square foot grocery store with a liquor store inside.

Technically, the City Council could reverse the committee’s decision when it meets June 29, but it’s not likely the 13-member council will override a unanimous committee decision.

The developers of the project met five times with the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association but never won support from the group. They did, however, get support from both the Minneapolis Planning Commission and city planners.

Trader Joe’s needed to be rezoned from a C1 to a C2. A C1 zoning does not allow for a liquor store or a lot size over 20,000 square feet. The Trader Joe’s lot would have been 40,000 square feet.

Neighbors raised concerns over the project because it would demolish existing two-level buildings and replace them with a one-level building that included a 70-stall parking lot.

“There are already small businesses there that are thriving. This will displace them,” said Council Member Meg Tuthill, who represents the Lyn-Lake area. “I personally consider (this request) spot zoning.”

Trader Joe’s has five Twin Cities locations, but this would have been the first in Minneapolis.

Minea said that while there are plenty of other places in the city for a grocery store holding a liquor license, his properties represented the only place in the immediate area that would meeting liquor store spacing requirements.

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