A Hennepin County judge is expected to rule this week on a suit seeking a temporary restraining order to block the demolition of Robbinsdale’s Terrace Theatre.
The Friends of the Historic Terrace filed the suit last month against the theater’s owner, New York City-based Brixmor Property Group, after the city approved a demolition permit. The case was heard Tuesday before Hennepin County District Judge Michael Browne.
The suit, which cites the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, is a last-ditch effort by the group to save the 1950s-era theater from the wrecking ball. Plans to tear down the theater, which closed in 1999, have divided the city.
St. Louis Park-based Inland Development Partners wants to redevelop the theater property and half the adjacent mall into a 91,500-square-foot Hy-Vee store along with a convenience store, coffee shop, gas pumps and a drive-through. Rainbow Foods closed on the same site in 2013.
Developers say the theater has structural problems. The City Council has unanimously supported the redevelopment plan, saying it will revitalize the site off 36th Avenue and W. Broadway.
Preservationists counter that the theater is worth saving and a grocery store could coexist with it. The Friends group says that investors are interested in buying the theater, designed by architects Liebenberg and Kaplan, and redeveloping the mall with new businesses and a small Minnesota-based grocer.