Seven Corners’ parking has business owners concerned

Tatum Fjerstad

The new Quiznos Subs restaurant at Seven Corners has business owners in a tizzy over an increasing parking problem.

Area business and land owners discussed parking issues and the amendment of GrandMarc’s conditional use permit Friday. Minneapolis Transportation and Parking Services representatives and residents from the Seven Corners area met with Minneapolis City Council member Paul Zerby, Ward 2, who represents the Minneapolis campus and surrounding areas, at Midwest Mountaineering.

Because the Quiznos opening will increase area traffic, the conditional use permit would require GrandMarc to purchase 160 parking spaces for customers’ use at any one of the retail spaces located in the building, said Mike Sachi, project engineer for the Minneapolis Transportation and Parking Services.

GrandMarc wants the city to make an exception to the required permit because it believes there is adequate parking on-street and in local parking ramps, said Eric Galatz, an attorney representing GrandMarc.

Local business owners said there isn’t enough parking and GrandMarc needs to do what it takes to find more, said Steve Malarkey, owner of Sergeant Preston’s Saloon and Eatery.

“We don’t want to set a precedent where people think they can just build things and then say, ‘Whoops we forgot about parking,’ ” Malarkey said.

The Minneapolis planning committee will decide on the amendment Nov. 22.

Also on Friday, restaurant and theater owners expressed irritation about the in-and-out traffic that Chipotle and Noodles & Co. create. Quiznos will also contribute to the problem, some said.

“People are not driving here just to grab a sandwich or a burrito – we don’t need more parking,” Galatz said.

The most inefficient parking spots are between Quiznos and Theatre in the Round on Cedar Avenue South, said Steve Antenucci, executive director of the theater.

These six spots are designated for take-out only, but Theatre in the Round is experiencing problems with people double-parking and blocking employees’ and actors’ access to their private parking lot on the other side of the building, he said.

Along with enforcing the six spots more carefully, other parking options were discussed.

As a solution, the city could raise the cost of the meters and lower the time limit from two hours to 15 minutes, said Judy Cedar, a project coordinator for the Minneapolis Community Development Agency. The city could then lengthen the hours of enforcement, encouraging more people to park at the Holiday Inn and other local ramps, she said.

Sachi said he is going to explore these options and formally introduce solutions before the Nov. 22 meeting.

Zerby said, “It is really worth it to pull something together soon.”