Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top 15 Properties Adding Blight To West Broadway


200 Club/Good Sports
200 West Broadway
Who misses those wings?

You know, this neighborhood bar has major potential to go from a "Good" sports bar to a "GREAT" anchor for this district of liquor establishments.
It's not that its vacant, it's not that even though it's a sports bar, it still seems real dive-ish.
It's the vanilla-colored walls of the structure and the typical boring plum-looking awning.
This bar is in a premier location! It deserves to be gussied up, complete with throwback neon signage!

Fun Facts:
Built: 1950
County Taxable Value
Building: 284K Land: 60K
Total: 345K

Washington LLC
5661 International Parkway
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55428


Fish & Chicken

1127 West Broadway

Not a lot to see here. A quick fix of the tattered awning and some new paint could go a long way to improve this business' Broadway appeal.
I never understand why people choose red in their logo and facades, it's the fastest fading pigment color and is often the culprit of these once fancy and colorful schemes.
The parking LOT is the biggest eyesore of this property.  Rut with potholes, litter, and crappy landscaping, the overall vibe of the lot makes walking back to the car with meal in hand all the more sketchy.

Fun Facts:
Built: 1981
(Originally a part of the "Church's Chicken" fast food chain!)

County Taxable Value
Building: 127K Land: 92K

Burqa Properties
11651 88th Ave N
Maple Grove 55369

Absolute Tire and Wheel
220 West Broadway

Absolute Tyre
(I hate when people spell tire like that) 

I don't like criticizing open, thriving businesses, but one can not turn a blind eye to the blatant single coat of lime green paint used to cover the street-side facade of this building.
The lot is uninviting and confusing and I feel like they don't separate themselves from their competitors at Rusty's. Absolute should do more to promote their knack for working with high-priced rims and customs.
Like most used tire/rim shops, the disorganization and filth is the main turnoff. 

Fun Facts:
Built: 1943
County Taxable Value
Building: 333K Land: 301K
Total: 635K

Washington LLC
5661 International Parkway

1400 West Broadway

Ripped awning, boarded up windows, OWNED BY THE COUNTY...WTF!?

One would like to think that at a very basic level of government, the county could think of a way to connect to the community and come together to spruce up the damn front!
Take down the skeletal remains of the awning or repair it! It looks terrible! Address the wood boards with some basic art or something cool like this G.I.F.T.!

Fun Facts:
Built: 1929
County Taxable Value
Building: 60K Land: 20K
Total: 80K

Owner:Hennipen County Forfeiture Land

Golden Chicken Strip (lol)
2400-2404 Penn

Ahhhh, the memories of my parents bringing home a bucket of Golden Chicken after a night of bowling or something. I always looked forward to food from this Northside classic.
Truthfully though, keep the sign up for now or if it really must come down, then donate it to a local historian. Hint, hint. ;)
I digress,
WHAT the HELL is going on with the COLOR SCHEMES?
The owner needs to enforce a uniform palette or go ahead and open the windows up and bring some  GLASS and CLASS to this "point" that makes up the historic 5 points corner of Broadway and Penn.
With the new development coming across the street in coming months,  now is the prime time to clean up this corner's look and appeal!

Fun Facts:
Built: 1922
County Taxable Value
Building: 95K Land: 25K
Total: 120K

Owner:Keith Reitman

2339 Penn Ave N 
P.O.Box 11832
Minneapolis, Mn 55411

Old Detail Shop?
1521 & 1531 West Broadway

The faded blue metal awning wrapping the top half of this building is in hideous condition.
The WBC has this property listed on their website as available for lease/sale but with auto-related restrictions?
The sq.ft and over-all open area space of these two properties are impressive but it's hard to brainstorm a "non-auto" related business for this property.

The sun stained, flaky metal  "blight blue" P.O.S facade dominates the hard angle points of this corner even more then the bigger-than-life billboard of Q Bear.

In a pinch, I suppose you could power-wash the hell out the metal facade and spray a new coat but that's just a band-aid.
I'm quite certain that if a owner gave this a well-deserved makeover (I'm talking flat out removal of the metal top half, going back to the original brick) the building might attract new tenants looking hopefully for something cool, like...(I thought of something!) a local brewery with taproom service! ;)

Fun Facts:
Built: 1930
County Taxable Value

Building: 32K Land: 33K
Total: 65K

Building: 46K Land: 23K
Total: 70K
Owner:1521 W. Broadway Inc 
648 Iona Ln Roseville 55413

Shawn's on Broadway
& Flora's

921 & 925 West Broadway

"Shawn's on Broadway" appears to be one of the premier boutique fronts on Broadway, being both social and trendy in the early 90's.
As a young teen I remember making runs across the street to Tally Ho (a diner/restaurant) to pick up take out for patrons and beauticians alike.
The glory days of the past still represent  themselves in the stubborn fonts on this storefront facade. From there it gets worse. The windows appear to be covered on the inside with thick serial killer quality glad bags and the windows are riddled with streaks and cracks in the glass. The door is ALSO covered on the inside with creepy newspaper. It.Gets.Worse. The sidewalk entrance is chained off from the general public giving it a whole yellow tape crime scene sort of feel.
The "Flora" portion of the address' listed isn't nearly as blighted  as anything on this list. The lovely flower petal front is not an eyesore in the sense of design or aesthetics but, when you add it into the mix of Shawns,Jackson Hewitt,Olympic, Brix etc.. it gives an overall sloppy appeal to the string of small businesses. This stretch of commercial property on Broadway NEEDS something. A unifying theme? Maybe color? Maybe some cool retro light fixtures? Or some awnings if they can be maintained.
Any or all of that would be a valiant effort to recapture that old-time feel of West Broadway and still be hip and cool!

Fun Facts:
Built: 1913
County Taxable Value
Building: 179K Land: 50K
Total: 230K

Owner:Richard Brix
Flora WestBrooks
921 West Broadway

Varnado Printing
1017 West Broadway

This old mom & pop printing shop makes me feel bad when I think about change on Broadway because although I support local small business, I feel this business has no "business" occupying this great location in the center of a strip of fronts with great potential unless it somehow was open to the public.
The covered window glass and shabby top signage fascia look as if Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn white-washed the ol' picket fence over at ma & pa's and then bee-lined it to Varnado's and continued to go to town with the brushes.
In a perfect world, Varnado's opens to the public like a local small town Kinko's.
The current vinyl sign is laughable. With liberated glass windows and some signage with some vibrancy or charm, this place could single-handedly  transform the look of the whole block.

Fun Facts:
Built: 1920
County Taxable Value
Building: 179K Land: 50K
Total: 230K

Owner:Bankers Media Inc.
Moundsview Mn

Gas Station/Old Car Wash
1120 West Broadway

There was no way in hell I wasn't coming in and plastering my face to the little see-thru window where I could magically watch my family car scoot along driver-less through the wash.
The whole experience plays back in my memory like the classic black exploitation film  "Car Wash"
-but cold and boring.
I DO remember the shifty-looking cleaners at the end of the line, eyeballin' my momma like they'd never seen a whitegirl on the Northside. lol

Now:The old service station sign that once held the cooperate logo is now missing the top-most portion and the bottom half displays the current gas prices (I think) and the declaration of
"Now We Have Diesel." The MTC bus stop, as you can see, is clearly in the parking lot. The pumps look old, dangerous and suspect. The interior of the store forces face to face encounters with its one narrow aisle. The lot is terrible. EVERYTHING  needs paint.
This SHOULD be a prime petrol stop or carwash like it was in it's heyday.

Fun Facts:
Built: 1950
County Taxable Value
Building: 143K Land: 109K
Total: 250K

Owner:Fayo Mart Inc
New Brighton Mn

Choi's Auto &
Mn. Battery & Radiator1408-1410 West Broadway

Here we go again with the drab looking spray jobs attempting to combat blight with uniformity. Noble concept but in order for it to work you need to maintain the upkeep and keep it fresh looking, meaning fresh paint every five years at the least.
Choi's general lot around this property looks cracked and worn but in a way that adds character. The whole structure could be re-purposed and have a really cool open garage sort of feel for a coffee shop or Deli with a sweet patio.
The adjacent "Minnesota Battery & Radiator" could also be salvaged and once again serve purpose to the community if the neighboring businesses were to thrive.

First thing's first, rip off that top metal facade and bring back the brick!
A paint job isn't the first priority but adding some contrasting colors would improve the look ten-fold.
A quick roller to the bare wood window boards would be the most immediate improvement

1408-1410 West Broadway is in a very unique location when you take into account the proposed Northside Greenway.
It's a no-brainer that this location would be prime real estate for another Northside bike shop. Right?

Fun Facts:
Built: 1925(1410)1926(1408)
County Taxable Value

Building: 58.5K Land: 26.5K
Total: 85K
Building: 25K Land: 25K
Total: 50K

Sung Koo Choi
4640 Urbandale Ln.
Plymouth, Mn 55446
RC Woodis & GE Woodis
James Elms
3308 Eastgate Rd
St Anthony 55418

Salco Lighting/Sallabald Electric

909 West Broadway

It would be cool if Salco was an actual light fixture place where local rehabers and D.I.Y. buffs could shop locally at, but honestly, West Broadway isn't quite there yet in my opinion.

How about some paint on the bare wood and while you're at it, some touch ups to the over- all facade place holder until the owners can make this unit available for occupancy or sale. As it appears now, it stands out like four white guys cruising down 26th Ave after sunset.

As you can see, this section of Broadway also could use a unifying theme  to take advantage of the historic appeal of this stretch.

Fun Facts:
Built: 1910
County Taxable Value
Building: 102K Land: 18K
Total: 121K

Owner:Kevin Sallabard
19835 Co Rd 30
Hamel, Mn 55340

"Broadway Brownies"
1403-1411? West Broadway

This string of shit-stain-colored storefronts scar a stretch of West Broadway just west of Girard avenue.
Who knows what businesses might set up shop in these current storage spaces for the building's landlords if they were made more attractive and AVAILABLE.
Street parking looks dangerous with how vehicles travel this stretch of W.Broadway but how about paving that vacant lot right to the west? From the looks of the picture, people already have a desire and need for one.
I'm just going to go ahead and say it. A neighborhood bar at this location would be great for West  Broadway.  Neighborhood bars/liquor establishments are the driving force behind successful residential growth, just look at the residential appeal of Nordeast Minneapolis- with their plethora of dive bars and some really successful restaurants such as Psycho Suzie's or the classic Jax. Or just look at the Southside of Minneapolis in general.
Liquor and social hangouts are extremely important for residential and commercial growth.

"How has --->NO<---- Liquor establishments been working out for North Minneapolis?"

Who the hell wants to drive to go get liquored up and take a cab every night or worry about getting a DWI. Having a neighborhood bar eliminates the hassle of all that hoopla and adds a great social option close to home.

Let me step down from the soapbox.
These monstrosities need a full blown face lift. Not a simple one, either. At least the brick looks unscathed and in decent condition. That's a start. Second, at least one of the buildings in this stretch has a really unique signage panel.
Making a distinction between the top part of the facade and the bottom window plat boards would be the most immediate way for improvements to be made cheaply.
I would love to see ANYTHING here before I die.

Fun Facts:
Built: 1882(1403-05)1901(1411)
County Taxable Value

Building: 99K Land: 26K
Total: 126K
Building: 141K Land: 224K
Total: 165K

Keith Reitman

2339 Penn Ave N 
P.O.Box 11832

Minneapolis, Mn 55411

Triangle Building
2339-41 Penn

It's been 3 years since the terrible Northside tornado
ripped through this section of Broadway and to much disappointment, this structure STILL isn't fully repaired.
The building already wasnt a very good commercial aesthetic, with its lack of front side windows near the wedge, but I always had faith in this building as a business because of its unique design. At this point though I'm just concerned with its overall condition and well-being.

Before the storm, it once housed a photography studio, a barbershop, various beauty shops and from what I remember from my teenage years, the legendary Northside record shop Soul Survivor.

Business would thrive here as it serves as one of the arms of the historic 5 points corner of Broadway......if we can ever get the damn place back open!

Fun Facts:
Built: 1905(
County Taxable Value
Building: 49K Land: 27K
Total: 77K

Keith Reitman

2339 Penn Ave N 
P.O.Box 11832

Minneapolis, Mn 55411

Old Dealership
800 West Broadway

Many people remember this gigantic building as some form of dealership in the 30's through the late 70's, I believe.
Sullivan Motor Company, 800-812 West Broadway, Minneapolis 1926 (MHS)
NOW: 800 West Broadway 2014

A shell of its former glory, I'm actually surprised the majority of the glass is still intact and there aren't that many boarded up windows. It could be MUCH worse!
This is the property that, in my opinion, sticks out the most on this blight list. It's BIG, its UGLY and it couldnt be in a more prominent location on West Broadway.
How it's not ANYTHING is beyond me (probably price). The City/County must be holding out for a payday or something but the community has spoken. On more than one occasion in social media circles, this property keeps emerging as a potential community workspace center.
C'mon county! Let's figure out how to make this happen! How is the most poverty-stricken/violence-ridden section of town  not receiving some sort of special consideration or donation to find a solution for this property to get back into the frey of things on West Broadway.
The Northside and the rest of the city should be in crisis mode when dealing with these disparities of wealth and well-being in the city and should try new things! Where is that teen center we were promised during Murderapolis? 

Fun Facts:
Built: 1925
County Taxable Value
Building: 405K Land: 219K
Total: 625K

Owner:Hennipen County Forfeiture 

Historic White Castle #7 and I.O.O.F. Lodge #4
(Diner and Vietnam-Hong Kong Building)
404-410 West Broadway


Ok, maybe I'm a little bias picking these properties for the #1 spot.
Let me Explain.
First off, they ARE really ugly and DO look quite run down.
But the history...oh, the History!!

The struggle to save these buildings from Kemps' wrecking ball has been a tedious struggle to watch since it was first reported on this Popular neighborhood blog and since the neighborhood residents have fought to inspire rather than demolish.
I've grown to love and admire their history and potential.
The quaint diner is an obvious slam dunk for a small local diner reminiscent of Ideal Diner over Northeast or the historic Mickey's Diner in downtown St.paul. It has that old Bandbox appeal.
Quick little diners like this are the rage and parking across the street is doable with the wide open lot!
Let's not ignore the 100-year-old I.O.O.F (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) Hennepin #4 building and all its proxy potential. It's right next to a classic Northside clothing/shoe store and could compliment Friedmans nicely with added retail space. Anything food would work with the established fast food restaurants located across the street. Extending the bar zone to include a new drinking hole would couple nicely with the ballroom space available upstairs.

The current signage has to go. Bottom Line.
The rest could be addressed with just breaking up the solidarity of the boring red plat boards covering the windows of yesteryear. Adding some accent colors would add some "pop"  immediately but opening the windows should be a long term goal.
The historic White Castle building needs a full on historic renovation. Bring back the glazed brick, bring back the glass block behind the red boards and get some lights behind the glass!
Add some neato 1950's neon signage!
This is possibly the 3rd oldest White Castle building in existence, and the oldest White Castle in Minnesota- even older and more unique then the historically designated brethren over South!

The community needs to keep up the clear message to Kemps! We cherish and respect our Northside history and historic buildings and we won't stand by and let you destroy it!

Fun Facts:
Built: 1895(404)1927(410)
County Taxable Value
404 & 410

Building: 184K Land: 66K
Total: 250K


Kemps LLC

420 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55411(612) 378-8495

Honorable Mention:
So there you have it, the top 15 properties adding blight to West Broadway in North Minneapolis
Here are a few Honorable Mentions!

827 West Broadway
Really just needs the side brick fixed.

2011 West Broadway
Western Motors

I wouldn't be surprised to see this developed soon.

BLO Liquors 5 Points
...Will be gone soon if all goes according to plan

 El-Amin's Fish House 2221 W Broadway Ave

El-Amins really could just use a different color scheme, the current stripes look ridiculous and the sign with arrow needs maintenance/upkeep.

Keep an eye out for future blog posts about thoughts for North Minneapolis and like, like, like!