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As Dinkytown Transforms, An 80-Year-Old Grocery Closes

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(credit: CBS) Holly Wagner
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The look and feel of Dinkytown, near the University of Minnesota campus, will continue to change over the next year.

Despite protests from neighborhood activists, the Minneapolis City Council approved the rezoning of an area in Dinkytown to make way for a six-story apartment building meant for student housing.

The new development will be located on Southeast 5th Street between 13th and 14th avenues.

Some of the businesses impacted have already moved out and found a new location. But for a longtime grocer, this is the end of an era.

The corner of southeast 5th and 14th Avenue – in the heart of Dinkytown – has been the home of the House of Hanson for nearly 80 years, owned by Laurel Bauer’s family.

“My grandfather started on this property 80 years ago. Forty years ago, we tore that building down, built this building,” Bauer said. “Forty years later, it’s time for another change.”

The change is bittersweet for Bauer. Her family’s quaint store was once a cafe and soda fountain. Decades later, the family revamped it into a grocery store.

“I’m very sad because its history, you know. It’s been my history, but it’s time to move on,” she said.

For Bauer, moving on doesn’t mean moving to a new location, or a renting space in the new building – it means closing up shop for good.

As a new apartment building is set to go up on her block, another development of student housing is being built across the street that will include a bigger grocery store.

“It’s just a sign of the times,” she said.

The U of M campus continues to be a hot spot for new student housing and development. Students like Kelly Miller see the benefit of options, but also the permanent impact this will have on the area.

“I love the old traditional style of Dinkytown, so I’m kind of sad to see things like House of Hanson go when it’s kind of the last grocery store in the area that’s not CVS,” Miller said.

At least one of the businesses forced out by the development plans to come back once new retail space is built.

Bauer was bought out by the developer. She’s not sure what’s next for her, but she has a positive outlook on what’s to come for the neighborhood.

“It’s going to bring new life and more life to Dinkytown,” Bauer said.

The House of Hanson is set to close on Monday. Bauer plans to donate any of the leftover food to Anoka County’s emergency food shelf.

By this time next year, the building should be finished and ready for students and new businesses.

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