Developers: Two Nye’s buildings to be preserved

Two of the four buildings on the Nye’s Polonaise site could still be saved, even with a new tower development in the works. But that doesn’t mean the landmark northeast Minneapolis bar and restaurant is any closer to salvation.
Minneapolis-based developer Schafer Richardson and Nye’s owners said this week that they are planning to preserve the taller of the two buildings that make up the restaurant. The group shared early plans for a 29-story residential tower at a Thursday night meeting of the Nicollet Island-East Bank Neighborhood Association.
According to the latest plans for the 0.51-acre site at 116 E. Hennepin Ave., the two oldest and tallest at Nye’s would be saved, while two one-story buildings would be demolished. The oldest buildings — one known for a “Harness Shop” sign and the other for its curved corner facing the street — would be pushed together to make room for the tower.
“We always wanted to incorporate those buildings into the project,” Nye’s co-owner Rob Jacob told Finance & Commerce on Friday. “The question was, ‘Are they going to be structurally sound enough to move?’”
Schafer Richardson couldn’t be reached Friday.
Structural engineers inspected the buildings and determined they could in fact be moved closer together, Jacob said. The two structures would sit in front of the tower.
That question wasn’t always so clear. Developer Brad Schafer told Finance & Commerce in December that the project required demolition of the buildings, but said later that he wasn’t sure.
Minneapolis City Council member Jacob Frey, who represents the area, welcomed the news.
“This proves definitively that we can grow the city while incorporating historical character,” Frey said Friday. “Those two concepts are not mutually exclusive.”
Despite parts of the Nye’s campus remaining intact, the owners aren’t interested in keeping the restaurant and bar open.
“The decision’s been made to close it,” Jacob said. “Whether or not there will be restaurant on that site is another story. I just don’t know.”
Jacob said the development team is “looking at options for various types” of retail in the preserved buildings.

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