Dinky snatches historic title for oldest buildings

The designation won’t include height restrictions like in some other historic neighborhoods.

by Elizabeth Smith

Minneapolis City Council members decided in a unanimous vote Friday to make Dinkytown a commercial historic district. The designation will apply to buildings erected during DinkytownâÄôs Streetcar Era, which stretched from 1899 to 1929. Though city officials considered including buildings established through the 1970s under the designation, they eventually agreed upon the shorter time frame late last month. Some expressed concerns that the 1899 to 1972 span would designate buildings that werenâÄôt equal in historic value, such as the McDonaldâÄôs on Fourth Street Southeast. City leaders plan to create more flexible guidelines for the area than are implemented in other historic districts. As part of the looser rules for Dinkytown, there wonâÄôt be height restrictions for buildings, and parking lots that fall within the district wonâÄôt be designated as historic. âÄúThis is a beautiful example of being able to grow while still preserving the area,âÄù said Ward 3 City Councilman Jacob Frey, who represents the iconic neighborhood. City staff members began working on the preservation more than a year ago as they conducted a study to decide which buildings in the Dinkytown Business District could be considered historic. The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission requested a historic study after developing agency Doran Companies proposed a hotel that would have displaced a building now deemed historic.