Wedge neighborhood board backs St. Sabrina’s Hennepin move

St. Sabrina’s Parlor in Purgatory, 2751 Hennepin Ave. S., might be headed a bit north, if all goes as planned. Leslie Bok, owner of the popular tattoo and piercing shop, has signed a purchase agreement for the building at 2645 Hennepin Ave., which would be renovated as St. Sabrina’s new home.

The Lowry Hill East (Wedge) Neighborhood Association (LHENA) voted in May to recommend the city approve a necessary upzoning for the 2645 Hennepin location.

The site is now zoned C1, but St. Sabrina’s needs a C2 – a designation that also allows a money exchange, tobacco sales and a liquor store – which had some residents concerned.

LHENA board member David Bosclair told the board that its Zoning and Planning Committee members were concerned about other potential uses a higher zoning classification could allow.

However, St. Sabrina’s General Manager, Derek Lowe told the Wedge group that the business has searched for a long time for a new location in Uptown because their existing lease is up. He said St. Sabrina’s plans to stay in the new location for decades, so other potential uses wouldn’t be an issue.

Lowe said the preliminary plans are to do piercings and tattoos on the second floor, while the first floor would feature body jewelry, tattoo design display and scaled-back retail.

Lowe also stated the building, which has a retail space and eight single-room dwellings – is currently an "eyesore," and their renovations will benefit the area. No one commented on the potential lost housing, instead noting the building is blighted and the dwellings are tiny and in disrepair.

The St. Sabrina’s group collected nearby neighbors’ signatures to support the change. Still, neighboring business owners showed up to voice concerns.

Dave Victor, owner of Dave and Marcy’s Chop ‘N’ Blow Salon, 2653 Hennepin, said there’s already too little parking and St. Sabrina’s arrival would make it worse. Chuck Hanson, co-owner of Discount Video, 2655 Hennepin, agreed.

However, no parking variances are needed for the site as it has six grandfathered spaces with its current zoning.

Victor and Hanson said they’re also concerned about their older clients being "intimidated" by St. Sabrina’s customers hanging around outside, a common sight at the current location.

However, LHENA President Sonja Hayden and board member Steve Benson said they didn’t feel comfortable addressing that issue, which shouldn’t affect a zoning request.

Despite their worries, Hanson and Victor said they think their businesses will benefit from St. Sabrina’s customers and presence. Hanson said he would welcome the new neighbors. 2645 Hennepin Ave. S. "is a pit and we’re very happy someone is taking it over," he said. "I think we’re all going to work well together."

For more information about St. Sabrina’s, visit www.saintsabrinas.com.