Development Roundup November 2019

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

by Jane McClure

O’Gara’s won’t reopen
As redevelopment continues along Snelling Avenue, one family business will be missing. The owners of O’Gara’s Bar and Grill announced Nov. 3 that the bar/restaurant will not return to its longtime home on Snelling and Selby. It’s one of two Snelling projects making changes.
O’Gara’s had operated at its Snelling-Hamline Location for 77 years but closed in September 2018 to make way for a mixed-use commercial-residential project led by Ryan Companies. The O’Gara family sold their business and two homes they owned, to make way for the project. The intent was to open a new and smaller O’Gara’s in part of the building’s main floor.
Signs had promised a reopening in time for St. Patrick’s Day 2020. But co-owner Dan O’Gara announced that the family wouldn’t reopen at Selby and Snelling and would instead focus on its Minnesota State Fair restaurant and catering. He went on to say that changes in regulations and the growing competition from taprooms made re-opening “financially untenable.”
“It is with sadness that we share the news that we have decided not to re-open the original location,” he said. Dan O’Gara was part of the third generation of the family to operate O’Gara’s.
The other Snelling project facing changes is the Wellington mixed-used development at Snelling and Shields avenues, which received a conditional use permit for its project earlier this year. A reworked plan due to cost considerations will be brought back to Union Park District Council’s land use committee Nov. 18.
A third project at Snelling and Shields, led by Indian-based Scannell, is moving ahead. The former Furniture Barn and World of Wireless buildings recently came down to make way for a mixed-use building.

More opposition for Alatus
Developer Alatus’ controversial plan to construct a six-story apartment building on a vacant lot near Lexington Parkway and University Ave. is being challenged by another district council. Summit-University Planning Council (SUPC) in October asked the St. asked St. Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development (PED) to withdraw Alatus’ application for $1.125 million in funding through the Metropolitan Council’s Livable Communities Program.
A PED spokesperson said that city officials have asked Metropolitan Council to table the request until community concerns about the project’s lack of affordable housing can be addressed.
Alatus officials will present new development plans on Nov. 18 to the Union Park District Council’s land use committee. Union Park and Frogtown Neighborhood Association have asked that the project add affordable units.