Pro tip to corporate mega-developers: If you want to make big bucks trashing a healthy, vibrant neighborhood filled with locally owned businesses, claim you’re doing it in the name of density. The rubes – erm, that is, the city fathers and mothers – will fall for it:

Calling it a referendum on density throughout the city, the City Council approved a controversial development Friday in the University of Minnesota’s Dinkytown neighborhood over the objections of vocal activists.

The Council took the rare step of overturning a committee vote against rezoning for the project, siding with density advocates over some neighbors who said it would destroy the small business character of Dinkytown. They approved rezoning on a 9-4 vote.

The project, proposed by Opus Development Company, features 140 apartments and ground-level retail. It would be built at 5th Street SE between 13th and 14th Avenues, on a plot of land that is now about 70 percent surface parking lots.

If you click through to read the article and comments, you’ll notice that the commenters favoring the rezoning are, nearly to a person, making astonishingly similar (as if read from Opus-crafted talking points) variations on “It’s just a nasty old parking lot and don’t you want density?” Meanwhile, they are carefully ignoring the fact that other developers are waiting hungrily in line for the zoning throughout to be changed. As I mentioned last week, they’ve already been making forays into Dinkytown; this now gives them permission to bribe and/or muscle out the small, local, locally owned businesses and residents of Minneapolis’ oldest intact neighborhood.

Goodbye, Dinkytown. Hello, Megatown.

Photo by Doug Deitchler

Phoenix Woman

Phoenix Woman

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