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Denny’s looks to open doors at long-vacant University building

Posted on 08 March 2016 by Calvin

Future DennysSome might remember the Embers, which stood at 1664 University Ave. for many years. Others might recall Kim Huoy Chor, a once-popular restaurant that managed to rack up many health code violations and force the city to shut it down in late 2010.

Now it appears that a Denny’s will be opening its doors at the long-vacant site. Building permits were pulled in February for renovation as well as work on the building’s mechanical systems. The permits total $342,500.

It’s not clear yet when Denny’s would open. State officials must inspect the premises and issue needed licenses for a restaurant use, as the city lost its restaurant licensing authority several years ago when state officials found shortcomings in inspection and recordkeeping processes.

The building has been owned by the St. Paul Federal Credit Union for several years. The credit union twice went through city approval processes for variances needed to install drive-through service in preparation for a move there. Those variances and conditional use permits have expired. Right now it doesn’t appear that Denny’s would need any zoning changes to open in the Midway.

New tenant for old stadium site on Energy Park Drive
The old Midway Stadium site on Energy Park Dr. has its first occupant. United Properties announced in late February that it will work with the St. Paul Port Authority this spring to build an almost-200,000-square-foot light-industrial building there. It was also announced that Tierney Brothers Inc. will occupy about a quarter of the facility.

Tierney Brothers is a technology firm located in Minneapolis. The company plans to move its headquarters to the Midway. The new building will also provide a warehouse and showroom. Tierney’s local staff of about 100 people will be relocating to the new site.

The building is to be completed in the fall.

No other tenants have been announced.

The stadium was torn down last summer after the St. Paul Saints and other teams moved to CHS Field in Lowertown.

Daycare will be part of redevelopment
As The Vintage on Selby (1555 Selby Ave.) continues to welcome apartment residents and prepares for the opening of Whole Foods in mid-March, developer Ryan Companies has announced the sale of land at 1533 Dayton Ave. for a new Primrose daycare center. The property was sold for $1.05 million. “Primrose School of St. Paul at Merriam Park” will be built on Dayton Ave. east of Associated Bank.

The development is one of the last pieces of plans that have transformed the Selby-Snelling intersection and the east side of Snelling. The apartments above Whole Foods opened late last year. The bank has been open for more than a year.

Those properties eventually wound up in the hands of Associated Bank, which worked with Ryan Companies on site redevelopment.

The last remaining piece of the properties to be redeveloped may be the most contentious, as Union Park District Council has objected to a proposal to put a Starbucks with drive-through service there. The plans have been debated for several months.


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