New North Loop apartments a threat to Acme Comedy Club

Despite efforts to stop an apartment development in the North Loop, the Minneapolis Planning Commission gave the developer the final stamp of approval Monday.

The proposed apartment development at 721 N. First Street has received a lot of pushback, after nationally-acclaimed Acme Comedy Club said the construction would put them out of business.

The development will replace a surface parking lot, located across the street from Acme Comedy Club. Owner of the club, Lewis Lee, believes the loss of parking spots will result in the demise of his business.

“The decision was made a long time ago that they were going to build it,” said Lee about the approval of the project.

The dozens who showed up to the Planning Commission meeting Monday in opposition to the project were disappointed to hear members of the commission tell say they didn’t have the power to stop the project. One member of the board said blocking the project because “a private entity wants to use a parking lot they don’t own”  would expose the city to litigation.

“While the city has no authority legally to stop a development on a privately owned surface parking lot, we’re certainly able to come up with solutions to find additional parking for Acme and we’re committed to doing it,” said city council member Jacob Frey.

So far, Lewis said he hasn’t heard anything that sounds like a solution.

“I will do my best to keep Acme open. Even if we move, I will not close the door for more than one or two days,” Lee said after the meeting. “There have been offers flying around and after today, I will start listening carfully.”

Solhem Companies has repeatedly expressed their support of Acme Comedy Club, and the development companies interest in seeing the business succeed.  Parties continue to work together for a long term solution.