More on the Economic Power of Restaurants

Yesterday (1/17/06) the Minneapolis City Council voted to sell a building at a $2 million loss. The reason for the decison was to get the building into the hands of a well-known restaurant developer. The Council’s hope is that David Fhima, owner of Fhima’s, LoTo and Louis XIII, will put a destination restaurant in the now vacant building.

I couldn’t help thinking about Northfield’s version of David Fhima, Norman Butler, who tried to put a high-end Italian restaurant in the vacant Church of the Rock. Butler, developer of Chapati and the Contented Cow, purchased the building with his own money and only asked the City for a zoning change to support his efforts. Although the Planning Commission voted to give Butler the zoning change, Northfield’s City Council turned him down.

As I wondered in a recent blog entry, perhaps this Council might reconsider the topic. A destination restaurant at that busy location certainly seems like an idea worth considering. After all, this important intersection probably could benefit from a little economic development.