Theatre Garage, Franklin & Lyndale shops make plans to move on

Minneapolis Theatre Garage plans to close and Steeple People is working to relocate in advance of a new development project proposed for Lyndale & Franklin.

Businesses at the southwest corner of Franklin & Lyndale are preparing to leave to make way for a proposed apartment project. The Minneapolis Theatre Garage is closing, Steeple People is working toward relocation, Chi Tailors is moving down the block, and David Petersen is negotiating a settlement for the gallery. One 21 4 East Barbershop has already relocated to 2325 Hennepin Ave.

Minneapolis Theatre Garage has no immediate plans to relocate after a 28-year run.

“The building is coming up on 100 years old,” said owner Hosmer Brown IV. “It’s time to do something else with that site.”

He said one more show is slated for November. The first show on May 20, 1988 was a sellout performance by the Minnesota Opera’s New Music Theater Ensemble.

“It’s just been a service, just a place for artists to work without being handcuffed,” Brown said. “…My role was to provide space and stay out of their way.”

It’s a small theater with large posts — “design, don’t whine,” Brown said he’s repeated over the years.

“As an actor, there is no place to hide there. You have to be real,” he said. “The immediacy of the space is what made it so successful.”

Brown said he always figured the theater would be viable if it was busy 26 weeks of the year.

Before landing a building, Brown remembers staging performances at high schools or chilly warehouses, where they handed out coats to the audience. Brown said he purchased the building with his late father Hosmer Brown III, who returned from World War II to help develop the 50th & France business district. They sold the Linden Hills property currently home to Sebastian Joe’s to make the purchase, he said.

“Finally we found a building we thought would work, and it has,” he said.

Brown said his family purchased the building from fireplace manufacturer Hearth & Home, and it previously housed a car dealership, Van Dusen Aircraft, and the Minnesota Society for Crippled Children and Adults (today the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute).

Brown is an equity partner in the new development group. The current proposal calls for 113 apartment units, a restaurant and retail.

“Why would you not want to live in this area?” Brown said. “It’s so much safer. It’s so much more pedestrian-friendly.”

He said property taxes have risen faster than inflation, and annual taxes at $9,800 have increased to more than $40,000.

“Things change kids, so get used to it,” he said. “That’s the nature of life.”

Steeple People is working to finalize a deal for a new location, said Manager Bob Janssen. He said the board has approved lease terms at a yet-to-be-announced location on Nicollet, and they’re hoping that all property owners will agree to host the thrift store.

“It’s in the neighborhood, and that’s the biggest positive,” he said. “We did not want to move out of the neighborhood. Our customer base is in this area. … If this doesn’t come through, that’s going to be a tough situation.”

— David Petersen said he’s at a stalemate in negotiations regarding his gallery lease, which extends through the end of 2018. He said he’s working toward a settlement, rather than assistance with relocation. He said he plans to relocate if they can reach an agreement.

“That’s still a big question,” he said.

Master Properties did not immediately respond for comment.

New paintings arrive at the gallery in a show running thru Oct. 22 by Atlanta-based artist Ryan McLaughlin. The artwork “subverts advertising’s intention of ubiquitous understanding, preferring subjective translation,” according to the exhibition announcement.

The Movement Minneapolis’ entry would front the new development.

“No lease amendments have been proposed to resolve the lease issues,” said owner David Dellanave. “So no, we have no plans.”

— Chi Tailors & Cleaners is moving down the block on Lyndale to a spot between Red Dragon and Clown Glass. Owner Mor Yang-Moua said the landlord helped her relocate to 2114A Lyndale Ave. S., and she plans to move before the snow flies.

“The earlier the better for me,” she said.