On Tuesday, Robbinsdale city leaders will discuss a demolition permit for the historic Terrace Theatre, but a Hy-Vee grocery store may not be what replaces it.
After hundreds of people boycotted Hy-Vee stores over redevelopment plans of the theater and part of an adjacent mall, the company notified the city Thursday it’s delaying plans to move forward.
“We know Hy-Vee is off the table,” City Manager Marcia Glick said.
But the 1950s theater still faces the wrecking ball, with both a developer and owner of the theater interested in revitalizing the 10 acres off 36th Avenue and W. Broadway, Glick said. And they’re moving forward Tuesday with a demolition request from the property owner, Brixmor Property Group.
Plans to tear down the theater, which closed in 1999, have divided the northwest suburb. Some residents are eager to have a grocery store return to Robbinsdale, while others have rallied to preserve the local landmark.
It was that opposition, the city said, that spurred Hy-Vee to announce it was postponing plans, wanting the city and owner to decide the fate of the theater, not plans for the new store.
“Over the past several weeks, it’s been difficult to witness the friction our proposed project has caused among Robbinsdale residents,” Hy-Vee spokeswoman Tara Deering-Hansen said in a prepared statement. “When we enter a community, we want to be respectful of our neighbors’ history, culture and all the things that matter to them. We will continue to assess the situation and keep communication lines open with city officials.”
In June, St. Louis Park-based Inland Development Partners announced plans for the theater and half of the mall, including a 91,500-square-foot grocery store, a 4,500-square-foot convenience store and coffee shop, gas pumps, and a drive-through.
When Hy-Vee was named as the grocery tenant — with construction slated to start by October on its seventh Twin Cities store — preservationists pivoted their opposition toward the Des Moines-based company, gathering more than 1,000 signatures from across the world for a Hy-Vee boycott.
“We’re going to continue fighting this,” said David Leonhardt, who has led preservation efforts. “We acknowledge the area needs to be redeveloped; we just feel [saving] the Terrace should be included in it.”
Developers have countered that the theater has structural problems and redevelopment is the best option.
To try to quantify residents’ opinions of the project, the city launched a survey (robbinsdalemn.com/Hy-Vee-survey) on Friday. Earlier this month, the City Council unanimously gave preliminary plat approval to redevelopment plans.
Now, with Hy-Vee waiting to see what happens to the theater, city leaders said the plans are up in the air and a loss to the community.
“This news is extremely disappointing, both for the city and for the vast majority of Robbinsdale residents who have supported this redevelopment,” Mayor Regan Murphy said in a statement. “We all stand to lose a significant investment, one that would provide an economic anchor on a blighted corner and serve as a catalyst for future development of our community.”