MINNEAPOLIS — Robbinsdale’s city government, the owners of the Robbinsdale’s historic Terrace Theatre and Inland Development Tuesday afternoon in Hennepin County District Court asked citizens advocating preservation of the theater to provide bonds totaling almost $6 million if the court approves a temporary restraining order to stop the planned demolition of the 1951 movie theater.
After hearing arguments from all sides, Judge Michael J. Browne said he would take the lawsuit under advisement and issue a written order.
Attorney Erik Hansen, representing the concerned citizens group, said by advocating for demolition of the theater, a natural resource, the city through it’s redevelopment agency was in violation of the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA). The Robbinsdale Economic Redevelopment Agency was represented by an attorney and another attorney represented the property owner New York real estate trust Brixmor.
The Legislature’s intention in passing MERA was to encourage citizens who lack financial resources to challenge development that would destroy natural resource, Hansen said.
Hansen presented documents from Minnesota Preservation officer Dennis Gardner stating that the Terrace would qualify for designation on the national register of historic places.
Affidavits were submitted to show that others have tried to purchase the theater, but Brixmor never returned their telephone calls, Hansen added.
The attorney advocating demolition said City Manager Marcia Gleek and Inland Development CEO Ken Carlson are both working with HyVee to redevelop the property, although HyVee publicly stated that it was putting its involvement in the project on hold.
About 25 people attended the hearing which lasted until about 6 p.m. — Dave Zarkin
CHANNEL 12 INTERVIEW
In an interview I did with cable Ch. 12 after the hearing, I said that the Terrace Theatre story is the most exciting news in Minnesota aside from the election. My interest in preservation and restoration dates back to my days as a news reporter for the Idaho Statesman.
The level of civic involvement in Robbinsdale to save this national resource is truly amazing and uplifting to all Minnesotans.