The ongoing and passionate debate over the future of Dinkytown now revolves around a proposal to build a hotel in the heart of the commercial district.
The city's Heritage Preservation Commission will vote Tuesday on whether developer Kelly Doran may demolish two commercial buildings and one single-family home to make way for a six-story boutique hotel (rendering below) on 4th Street between 13th and 14th Avenues SE.
The surrounding Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association opposes the demolition, arguing the small-scale buildings contribute to the unique character of the neighborhood.
Doran's proposal is the third major development centered between 13th and 14th Avenues. The former Marshall High School is being transformed into apartments and a unique Target store, and Opus is beginning work on a mixed-use project located at 5th Street SE.
The commercial buildings at the heart of the hotel proposal currently house Camdi Vietnamese restaurant, Mesa Pizza, Dinkytown Tattoo, Publika coffee shop and the University LifeCare Center. Doran said the new development would have about 4,000 square feet of retail space.
"We don’t want to look backwards 100 years," Doran said in an interview. "We want to look forward for the next 100 years. And … the hotel will add to the energy and atmosphere that already exists in Dinkytown."
City staff have recommended demolition of the properties, noting that they are not associated with significant persons or events, nor do they embody the characteristics of a particular architectural style.
The neighborhood group said they would support more modern developments outside of Dinkytown's core area. They note that the small-scale buildings in question (below) were specifically highlighted in a draft small area plan for the district as being "important to the historic value of Dinkytown and help provide the pedestrian scale that is typical of the district." The draft plan is not complete.
This block is no stranger to development controversy. An adjacent building was the site of protests and police clashes in 1970, when a Red Barn restaurant was proposed for the site.
There are currently three hotels serving the University area: The Commons Hotel, a Days Inn and a Marriott Courtyard near the West Bank. "We have indications that there is a need for additional hotel rooms in and around the University," Doran said.
Here is the neighborhood's letter: