By Andrew Richter
It appears that the old Terrace Theater in Robbinsdale is going get demolished.
The Terrace Theatre in Robbinsdale, the fate of which has been hotly contested ever since city leaders revealed plans to replace the building with a Hy-Vee grocery store, has been slated for demolition. The Robbinsdale City Council unanimously approved a demolition permit for the theater Aug. 23 after the building’s owners requested it the Friday beforehand.
“It’s a sad day that the theater’s going…it’s a wonderful day for Robbinsdale and the people who live nearby the theater,” said Councilmember George Selman. The theater opened in the 50s and was a West Metro destination for years, but it closed in 1999 and the building has fallen into disrepair.
Hy-Vee pumped the brakes on the planned development on that site Aug. 18, citing the sustained protest from preservationists who wanted to see the theater building restored as a proper movie theater, community center, or event space.
“I hope Hy-Vee will pick up the process again,” said Councilmember Dan Rogan. Over 40 speakers weighed in on the demolition and the development in general. Most said they were in favor of the Hy-Vee proposal, even if it was off the table for the moment.
Other news outlets reported that a group called “Friends of the Historic Terrace Theatre” filed a lawsuit in Hennepin County District Court and requested a temporary restraining order to halt the demolition.
The council also approved creation of a tax increment financing plan, which, in a nutshell, pays a developer back for any new property taxes their development generates. City Manager Marcia Glick stressed that the plan, if and when it is enacted, does not explicitly cost the city any money.
The council elected to table a measure that would “vacate” a portion of the development land in order to build a stoplight, as well.
Good old tax increment financing; yet another government scam.
I don’t know how I feel about this. I went to the Terrace Theater as a kid. And while I sympathize with the group trying to save the theater, I wonder what real choices the city council had here. They had a developer interested in a property that had been closed since 1999 while decaying away. What were they supposed to do?
Now, if the proponents of the Terrace theater wanted to really do something here, they should’ve tried to buy the property and reopen it or something. The building has been closed 17 years so it’s not like there was no chance to do that.
Either way, I’m sad to see it go. So long Terrace Theater! Off to the grave of Robbinsdale history you go!