Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wafana's Moving Toward Demolition...(Recycled Headline)

Photo By John Hoff

The infamous Wafana's "inconvenience store" located at 2326 Lyndale Ave. N. continues to ride the greased-up skids toward demolition, as previously reported, click here.

A couple days ago I was going by and saw activity inside...

Naturally, I stopped by to make sure everything was OK and nothing unsavory was happening. I found a crew inside stripping out the useful components prior to pending demolition. (So you have to wonder, gee, if the city could salvage scrap metal--pictured above--and old refrigerators out of the thug store Wafana's, why couldn't they save Pauline Fjelde's TRUNK?)

The foreman of the two-man work crew told me "about twenty people" had stopped by just like I did, to see what was happening and then express their delight that, finally, Wafana's was coming down.

However, there's nothing actually WRONG with the building. And, after reading recently about the Dream Homes fiasco, I have to wonder if anything nice will actually get built on any particular vacant lot in North Minneapolis or whether some kind of fly-by-night developer will somehow get the lot and erect who-knows-what shoddy CRAP. More bothersome still is the fact a couple of great guys named John and Edwin were interested in buying the old Wafana's to put in a hip, trendy restaurant but had to back away due to all the scary political complications associated with the building and its zoning variance issues.

I don't know the answer to this conundrum and I feel torn in half by it. Naturally, I'm going to be happy to see Wafana's come down...but how unbearably long before anything good replaces it? And will it actually be something GOOD? Or yet another development fiasco?

On the bright side...somebody was actually looking for a location in the Hawthorne Neighborhood to locate a hip, trendy restaurant. As the neighborhood continues to turn around, hopefully we'll see more of that. A lot more.


The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

The lot is being purchased by CPED with financial assistance from the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council towards the demolition and removal of concrete. I think you were out trucking during those meetings when we approved that.

Personally, I feel that the building was usable, and I'm disappointed to see viable structures demolished. But CPED considers the site to be integral to the Block 009 development project; which has been on hold while we worked on the EcoVillage.

But we're taking a new look at 009, and you can rest assured that we won't have a Dream Homes fiasco here.

Kevin said...

Are you sure the crew inside the building was legitimate? It's my understanding CPED made an offer on the building and it was accepted, but the actual closing won't be until next month. Can they start the salvage process before the closing is finalized?

Anonymous said...

That building has a severe mold problem. I think it may also have asbestos as well. At any rate, I know that the citizens of this neighborhood have spent enough of their time, energy and taxpayer money dealing with people who can't successfully run a business in that area. We have been seduced by the silver tongues of developers and would be "oh so caring and concerned"
business owners before. That's been our problem historically,

we always believe a good line and we are left with the devastation these folks leave in their wake.

Most of us that have been here awhile and have been through several cycles of this are no longer willing to listen to a tall
tale. Just a little skeptical these days.

Besides, there are available buildings on Broadway for that sort of business if they are really serious. Where would their customers park? The parking lot is tiny. This is a residential area.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@ anon 2:54 - I agree with much of your comments regarding this structure. This building is NOT well-suited to be the kind of (in)convenience store that it has been.

However, there was a tentative proposal being floated around by someone, and that proposal might have been a good fit for a business at that site.

There were a lot of valid reasons to move ahead with this demolition. And while I didn't wholeheartedly agree with some of them, I helped shepherd this through the neighborhood council because helping enact the will of the community is basically my job.

My big concern is that we're doing too much demolishing and waiting without rebuilding vs. restoring and preserving our housing stock. I hope that dynamic changes soon.

Johnny Northside said...

It was my judgment the folks doing the salvage were legitimate--and I'm not easy to convince--but maybe somebody with more info can add to this blog report.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

My previous comment should have read "waiting around FOR rebuilding."