Proposal would convert Suburban World Theater into more Uptown retail space

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The dormant Suburban World Theater may become the latest historic Uptown property to follow the Uptown Bar and be converted into retail space.

POUR ONE OUT: Uptown Bar demolition photos

But unlike the Uptown Bar, the developer who wants to convert Suburban World (it was known as the Granada Theater before 1954) isn't planning to tear it down and start from scratch.

As first reported by the Star Tribune, the following item is on a Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission agenda early next month:
Renovation and Partial Restoration of Granada Theater. The project proposes to renovate the Granada Theater into a retail store and would include restoration of the exterior, removal of the kitchen area, restoration of the existing theater space walls and perimeter circulation, and introduction of a flat floor to facilitate retail store experience and center entry to the theater for visual connectedness.
At this point, it's unclear exactly what sort of retail realtor Jesse Olson has in mind for the building, which was first constructed in 1927.

But the plan certainly sounds like a significant renovation, and since Suburban World is an official Minneapolis historical landmark, any redevelopment of it has to first be approved by the Preservation Commission. As is explained nicely by the Our Uptown blog in this post, securing the commission's approval can drive up redevelopment costs.

Still, after more than a year of the theater sitting vacant, it's fair to ask -- is using the space for something, even if it ends up being a Microsoft Store, better than leaving it in its current pleasing-to-the-eye but unused state?

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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34 comments
nbrooks4
nbrooks4

It was built as a theater, to make it anything else will ruin it's historic charm.  Minneapolis seems cultured, can't we use another live theater venue?  Turning it into anything else is just wrong and will take away from the cities history.  Or even a 1 screen movie theater with a very large screen like theaters use to have, not these little multiplex screens.

~My Two Cents  :o)

Sarah Butler
Sarah Butler

1st Ave & The Electric Fetus should team up to create a performance space and MN music museum. Make space for food trucks to park in front. Offer MN drink and space to listen to music.

Joe Halvarson
Joe Halvarson

If the U of M can create something as magnificent as the Honeycrisp, I'm guessing they can do something about this philanthropist issue. To the arboretum we go!

Pinko Thinker
Pinko Thinker

but @$50 you can sell the 1st year's membership to reduced fee films there and now it's more like 60,000 people necessary on that baseline.

David Gustafson
David Gustafson

Well, at $20 per person, you need 150,000 contributors. And philanthropists don't grow on trees.

Thomas Zocher
Thomas Zocher

To David - I don't have it either, but what if everyone had $10 or $20? Or a philanthropist? There are a few of them...this is nothing, financially, in the grand scale of things.

Thomas Zocher
Thomas Zocher

Anything but getting rid of it. How about Joseph's suggestion? How about in the heart of it all a little bit of community? A little bit of good in world of child labor produced greed? Wouldn't that be better for everyone?

Joe Halvarson
Joe Halvarson

Yep, that is the unfortunate problem. TO KICKSTARTER WE GO!

Joe Halvarson
Joe Halvarson

Marlene, what would you like the space to be?

Eric Elvendahl
Eric Elvendahl

This is so going to be a Barnes and Noble. Ever seen the one in Rochester? It's very similar. Goodbye, Mager's & Quinn. You were the last thing that mattered on Hennepin.

Pinko Thinker
Pinko Thinker

I have ideas for that spot, which include utilizing the space as a theater and community center but I don't have 3 million dollars so say hello, instead, to the new Hooters.

David Gustafson
David Gustafson

Nice thoughts, but somebody would have to pony up the 900K to buy it, then probably about $2 million to fix and restore. Personally, I think Uptown is in dire need of more live theater and the Granada would be ideal. However, three million dollars I ain't got...

Erin Denman
Erin Denman

That is basically my dream, right there.

Joe Halvarson
Joe Halvarson

I would love if it became a theater run as a co-op.

David Gustafson
David Gustafson

So they'll be keeping the ceiling and wall decor? Be nice if they kept the marquee and changed the name back to Granada Theater. Be better if they made it a working theater again, but that seems a lost cause. Pity. Modern burlesque would go well there.

Joseph M. Adams
Joseph M. Adams

Something free for the community like a literary space, performance space or place for free speech ... maybe an Alanon House. The last thing that area needs is another store or bar. MPLS Music Museum? MPLS/ST. Paul Museum? Something living, breathing and vibrant! Showcasing how you do not need to consume goods to be happy, rather be an integral part of our human community.

adam0499
adam0499

Something free for the community like a literary space, performance space or place for free speech ... maybe an Alanon House. The last thing that area needs is another store or bar. MPLS Music Museum? MPLS/ST. Paul Museum? Something living, breathing and vibrant! Showcasing how you do not need to consume goods to be happy, rather be an integral part of our human community. 

Thomas Zocher
Thomas Zocher

It was a bummer to see the Uptown Bar go, but the Uptown Bar was NOT a historic landmark. The Suburban World Theater is. If any developers are reading this - why don't you go get yourself a fucking soul? They don't make buildings like this anymore, and they will never come back again. Enough is enough with the same old greed-based retail shit storm everywhere. Wouldn't it be nice to go somewhere...anywhere and see something different? Something that is not McDonald's, GAP, North Face and Columbia? Wouldn't it? Don't tear down another old property and definitely don't tear down another old theater. This building defines that block and furthermore, about 95% of the nation's classic picture houses were torn down to make way for "improvement" and by "improvement" I mean shitty retail and largely parking lots. That's right...they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Oscar Quella
Oscar Quella

We could always use a hair salon in uptown.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Joseph M. Adams an alanan house -- get serious

Demlova
Demlova

Awesome. Another big ugly chain store to come in, wreck the skyline and any other cool history, not have to pay payroll or any other taxes, not have to provide a livable wage to it's workers, then move on  when the 10 year tax free agreement is up. Love the new fangled capitalism! Welcome to Uptown, Walmart!

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Onan @digitalprotocol extremely edgy

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