MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Over the past few years, there have been a lot of changes to Stadium Village near the University of Minnesota. But the latest development is taking away a local landmark and some real character out of the neighborhood.
For the past 60 years, the Big Ten restaurant and bar has served up everything from a spot to watch the Gophers and Vikings to its signature subs. But over the Labor Day weekend, the Stadium Village institution will close its doors for good.
“I'm incredibly sad. I've met so many people here from my wife to countless friends, alumni, staff,” said Todd Dupont, a co-owner of Big Ten. “When you take the heart and soul out of a neighborhood, it’s just kind of gentrified. It’s never the same again. It’s like every other suburban strip mall.”
The Big Ten as well as the Village Wok, Bun Mi Sandwiches, and Espresso Expose are all shutting down to make room for a new 27-story apartment complex. The developer, Harbor Bay Real Estate, bought out the Big Ten's lease which ran through 2019. The restaurant owners say even though there will be retail on the first floor of the new complex, they weren't offered a chance to come back when the building is finished.
“This is my home. It’s my blood sweat and tears. Darn tooting I was po'd I wasn't given the opportunity to come back in,” said Dupont.
While the green line has spurred development along Washington Avenue and a slew of new luxury apartment buildings have given the housing stock around the University a much needed upgrade, some say it’s pushing out independent retailers and restaurants and replacing them with corporate chains.
“Look at these small businesses we love and are we doing enough support them and show them other commercial spaces near campus because that's where their
market is,” said Cam Gordon, the Minneapolis City Councilman of Ward 2.
But the owners of the Big Ten say even if they could find another location near campus, they're not sure they would move.
“For me personally, I have too much emotionally tied up in this location,” said Dupont. “I couldn't emotionally do it at a different address. New building? Maybe. New address? I
don't think so.”
The Big Ten will still have a location in Hopkins.
Demolition on the buildings is scheduled to begin this fall.