A group of 14 St. Paul businesses and neighbors sued the city Wednesday, seeking to halt plans to turn the site of a shuttered Red's Savoy Pizza into a day shelter for homeless residents.

The suit against the city and the nonprofit Listening House alleges that opening a day center at the downtown location — 421 E. 7th St. — will create a nuisance and cause "irreparable harm to business operations." They are seeking a temporary restraining order.

The suit also challenges the actions of city leaders, who amended city code to allow for homeless day shelters in more business and industrial areas and awarded Listening House a $1.4 million forgivable loan to help renovate the space.

"We are trying to stop the construction and freeze the money until the judge can evaluate our claims," said attorney Patrick O'Neill Jr.

O'Neill said rising crime and quality-of-life issues around Listening House's former location in the West Seventh neighborhood is proof there will be problems at the new location.

The West Seventh location, called Freedom House, was also mired in a lawsuit filed by neighbors and closed this spring.

"They welcome those under the influence," O'Neill said. "This is a subset of the homeless, many of whom are addicted and using drugs. Freedom House represents that there will be 200 people a day. They will close their door each night at 8 p.m. and people will wander back out onto the street and in the neighborhood."

Listening House executives and city officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In July, city leaders agreed to give Listening House a $1.4 million forgivable loan to pay for new bathrooms, a kitchen, a computer area and space for other social service providers to meet with people using the shelter. The city didn't provide public notice or hold a public hearing before approving the loan, the suit alleges.

"My clients are super upset. This wasn't transparent," O'Neill said. "They weren't told beforehand and there was no public hearing to voice opposition."

Neighbors are also challenging changes to city zoning code that made way for homeless day centers without conditions or restrictions, he said.

Listening House operates a location at 464 Maria Av. in St. Paul, and purchased the former Red's Savoy building in June. It's the first time the organization has owned property since it started providing services in St. Paul in 1983, executive director Molly Jalma said at the time.

"We need to stop being as transient as the people we serve," she said. "We often say we're the living room for people experiencing homelessness, if you think about overnight shelters as a bedroom."