Hubert's Cafe & Sports Bar, known for its proximity to the Metrodome and isolation from other commercial activity in downtown Minneapolis, has a buyer.
Co-owners Steve "Andy" Anderly and Bob Jones have accepted an offer from Stadium Partners LLC, a new real estate venture led by Jonathan Bruntjen. Terms of the sale are not being disclosed.
Bruntjen said he plans to keep the restaurant the same while making a few cosmetic tweaks to be ready when the new Vikings stadium is complete for the 2016 football season.
"We want to make sure our team brings that restaurant into the next generation," Bruntjen said, which he plans to do by "utilizing the next year, between now and when the stadium opens, to make sure Hubert's is a great experience for all."
Bruntjen is also vice president of acquisitions at Landmark Dividend LLC, but he said this is not a Landmark purchase.
George Nelson Jr., a retired real estate investor and Bruntjen's consultant, said, "Our plan is to keep Hubert's as Hubert's. It's conceivable we may change the name to 'The Original Hubert's' to differentiate it from the other Hubert's" near Target Center, a bar run by different owners that has licensed the name.
The buyer and seller expect to close on the sale in August.
Hubert's opened at the corner of 6th Street and Chicago Avenue S. in September 1983, a year after the Metrodome opened. For more than 30 years, it stood as the lone example of stadium-related development. Anderly, the original owner of Hubert's, left the partnership temporarily in 1995 to own and run Nye's Polonaise Room across the Mississippi River, but has been back at Hubert's since 1999.
In 2010, Anderly, then 61, was forced to reassess his time investments when diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer. He underwent a successful, albeit grueling, stem cell transplant at the University of Minnesota and is now in his fifth year of remission. Still, he said, he is "physically and mentally" ready to be done with the long hours required in the restaurant industry.
"It's a young man's game, and I always told myself that when I got up in the morning and don't love to do what I do, then it's time to be done. It came a bit sooner than I expected but, by God, I'm glad to be alive," Anderly said.
He and Jones never actively listed the property but received many unsolicited offers.
The Star Tribune reported in March that Community Housing Development Corporation was either buying or leasing 39,000 square feet of underused land from First Covenant Church Minneapolis, which would remain on the southwest corner of Hubert's block. The organization was interested in purchasing Hubert's land as well to fold into its workforce housing project planned next door, but Anderly was already in exclusive negotiations with another buyer.
Nelson said he and Bruntjen developed a relationship with Anderly while seeking real estate for another client. That deal didn't work out, but Nelson and Anderly connected during those discussions.
"He and I have something in common: we both have terminal cancer. We hit it off," Nelson said, and "Jonathan was in the right place at the right time."
After 32 years, Anderly is looking forward to volunteering his time to help other cancer patients prepare for treatment, but he admits to feeling a twinge of sadness about leaving Hubert's.
"I do and I did, and I will have anxiety with letting it go," he said. "But it's the best thing for me."