Biz buzz: 2011 tough for Uptown Market

2011 turning out to be tough year for Uptown Market

THE WEDGE — After two years of turning small profits, it appears the Uptown Market will end 2011 in the red.

During a presentation to the CARAG board on Aug. 16, Brendan Jordan, CARAG liaison to the Uptown Market, said the operation is on pace to lose almost $5,000 this year.

That may not sound like much, and the market’s all-volunteer staff remains optimistic it has a bright future. But with 2011 revenues now projected to amount to less than half of what staff projected at the beginning of the year, there’s no denying that this year has been a financial disappointment.

According to Jordan’s presentation, the Uptown Market expected $25,000 in revenue this year, compared with $23,863 in expenses. But, based on this year’s performance through Aug. 8, the market is only on pace to generate $10,363 in revenue, with expenses of $15,270.

Shaun Laden, volunteer recruiter and vendor manager for the Uptown Market, said the numbers shouldn’t be taken at face value. He pointed out that, for a variety of reasons, organizers didn’t hold their usual large spring fundraiser this year.

He said a large fundraiser that they hope will generate at least $3,000 is in the works for this fall or winter. That money will make up a significant chunk of the gap between revenue and expenses.

Fundraising aside, one troubling number emerging from Jordan’s presentation is that vendor fees are way down this year — from $14,453 last year to a projected total of $6,856 in 2011.

During his presentation to CARAG, Jordan cited “volunteer burnout” as a factor that has made it difficult for organizers to recruit new vendors.

Jordan said that in the market’s first year in 2009, when it was a monthly market held just four times all season, the Uptown Market attracted up to 80 vendors per event. This year, during its second year as a weekly event, the market averages about 20 vendors each week.

Laden attributed the decline to the market reaching a “short-term equilibrium” during its second year as a weekly event. He added, however, that he believes the numbers will look better next year as the volunteer staff continues to get the word out about the good food and art available each summer Sunday along 29th Street between Lyndale and Dupont Avenues.

“People still come up to me and say, ‘I didn’t know this is here,’ so our biggest job is to make sure folks in the neighborhood know about us,” he said.

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Developer wants public feedback on Linden Corner plan

LINDEN HILLS — In response to criticism of his plan for the redevelopment of 43rd & Upton, Mark Dwyer has organized a series of public engagement and feedback meetings this month.

The meetings, which Dwyer is calling Design Review and Input Groups, or Design RINGs, will include 20 participants per session. Participants will discuss the sort of development they’d like to see at 43rd & Upton and manipulate models of Dwyer’s so-called Linden Corner development to see what possibilities exist.

Dwyer has set parameters for the RINGs. First, he said, any project must be built to the full scale allowed by the city’s zoning code, which is 90,000 square feet, in order to make redevelopment financially viable.

Second, while he is open to the idea of reducing the height of the proposed mixed-use development to four floors from five, he thinks that reducing height any further “isn’t a viable option because it doesn’t create livable space,” he said.

Critics of Dwyer’s plan — including members of an informal group called Linden Hills Residents for Responsible Development — argue that Dwyer’s parameters are unacceptable.

Chris Maddox, a Responsible Development member who is among the more than 1,000 people to sign a petition asking City Council Member Betsy Hodges (13th Ward) not to support the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) Dwyer needs to build a structure exceeding three floors at the corner, said Dwyer’s parameters end up “excluding the hundreds and hundreds of people who are opposed to both the height and scale of the project” from the conversation.

His sentiment was echoed by Grant Hawthorne, another Responsible Development member.

Hawthorne characterized the RINGs as “the developer’s tool,” and said he is concerned that “by aggregating five parcels and amassing a maximum floor area of 90,000 square feet, the developer is proposing a building of a scale that is not appropriate for the neighborhood.”

Dwyer argues many of the petition signatories were fed misinformation and insists that a Linden Corner project along the lines of the one he has proposed will be a long-term asset for the neighborhood.

Although he originally intended to submit a site plan for city review last month, he now plans to hold off until October, giving his design team ample time to process feedback received during the RINGs and to incorporate comments into the plan they ultimately submit for review.

“The way it was going, I wasn’t getting a sense that anybody was getting anything accomplished in terms of creating a setting where we could have really constructive input based on facts, so we decided to pause,” he said.

RINGs sessions will be moderated by former Linden Hills Neighborhood Council (LHiNC) member Keiko Veasey. The first meeting is scheduled for Sept. 12, with another scheduled for Sept. 15.

For more information, or to learn about how you can participate in the RINGs process, visit lindencorner.com/public-engagement.html.

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Coming soon to 35th & Nicollet: Pat’s Tap

LYNDALE — Almost a year after Casey’s Bar closed, Kim Bartmann is ready to open Pat’s Tap at 3510 Nicollet Ave. S.

Bartmann said a soft opening would begin Sept. 19, with the doors officially opening Sept. 26.

According to Bartmann, Pat’s will offer a “glorified pub menu” featuring sandwiches and burgers, some entrees, shared plates, meatballs, cheese curds and charcuterie. Everything, including the charcuterie, will be made in-house.

And, of course, beers will be served. Pat’s Tap will offer about 20 tap beers and a full bar.

Finally, in a fun twist for those of us who wax sentimental about birthday celebrations at Chuck E. Cheese’s, Pat’s Tap will feature a skee-ball table. The bar and restaurant’s website, in fact, indicates that Pat’s Tap will host a “skee-club.”

Casey’s was a loveable neighborhood dive known for its diverse clientele, and Bartmann said she hopes Pat’s Tap will likewise become a neighborhood hangout for those in Lyndale.

She said she’s a bit concerned about the effect the impending Nicollet Avenue reconstruction project will have on her latest restaurant, but remains hopeful regulars will support Pat’s Tap until Nicollet roadwork is complete.

“There’s a lot of excitement in the neighborhood for Pat’s to get open, and I think we’re going to have a lot of neighborhood regulars,” she said.

Bartmann said she believes Pat’s Tap is on track to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification about two to three months after renovation work — which was ongoing at press time — is completed.

For more information, check out Pat’s Tap website at patstap.com.

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Now open at 50th & Penn: Adagio Cafe

LYNNHURST — Adagio Café is now open in the old Dragonfly space at 5001 Penn Ave. S.

Owner Chris Yeager had to weather a series of delays on the way to a Sept. 1 opening. Adagio was supposed to open last spring, but city inspections, licensing holds-ups and a late switch of roasters to locals B+W Specialty Coffee kept opening day on hold throughout the summer.

Adagio offers the full gamut of coffee and espresso drinks and light bakery items. The coffee shop stays open until 9 p.m. during the week, 8 p.m. on Sundays and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Bakery items are sourced from Nikola’s Bakery in Bloomington, but Yeager said he eventually wants to bake in-house.

“The bakery is very good, but when I start making items here and kick up the oven it’s going to be even better,” he said.

Yeager’s son, Deven, serves as general manager, as Yeager said he hopes his son will someday take over the business.

Adagio can be reached at 922-2233.

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Timberland coming to Calhoun Square

CARAG — Timberland has signed a multi-year lease for a 2,000-square-foot first-floor space along Hennepin Avenue in Calhoun Square.

The Calhoun Square location will be Timberland’s only stand-alone store in Minnesota, and will offer a range of clothing, footwear and outdoor accessories for young and old, men and women alike. Store opening is projected for Nov. 1.

Timberland joins AT&T and CB2 as another new high-profile tenant scheduled to open in Calhoun Square in time for the 2011 holiday season. CB2’s large one-floor store is currently under construction at 31st & Hennepin.