Historic ex-saloon's fate in limbo

  • Updated: October 31, 2012 - 8:46 PM
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1500 S. 6th St. in Minneapolis

Minneapolis officials are urging denial of a developer's bid to demolish one of the Gluek "tied house" saloons on the West Bank until the building can be studied for potential preservation protection.

The recommendation from staff members, to be heard Monday by the Heritage Preservation Commission, argues that developer Fine and Associates didn't try hard enough to study how many saloons remain that were once owned or affiliated with the defunct local Gluek brewery.

The developer wants to raze the building at 1500 S. 6th St., which occupies about 1.5 percent of the site of a proposed 259-unit apartment complex. The city suggested that the building be incorporated in the development as commercial space, something developer Bianca Fine rejects as impractical.

The commission on Sept. 24 told Fine to do a comprehensive study of the 86 Gluek saloons existing in 1908, which were known as "tied houses" because they sold one brewery's beer exclusively. The analysis was to cover the building's location, year built, whether it still stands and to show a photo if it does.

But the firm's consultant didn't do that, instead surveying only the existence of former tied houses in the nearby area and providing images of a few.

City staffers indicated that cursory research by the city's development agency had found 48 Gluek locations, with 12 still standing. The consultant repeated its argument that the building at issue was obviously not the best exemplar even in that area of a Gluek house due to extensive renovations.

But the city's interest in the building goes beyond that because a staff report found it to represent one of a handful of vintage buildings remaining in the vicinity.

STEVE BRANDT

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