Acme's old parking lot next to its remaining parking lot.

Acme Comedy: The Parking Crisis That Wasn’t

Acme's old parking lot next to its remaining parking lot.

Acme Comedy’s remaining parking lot was half-filled during a Friday show last June. Old parking lot (at left) is now an apartment building, opening soon.

In 2016, Acme Comedy Co was the subject of the most high-profile movement to save a parking lot in recent Minneapolis history. If the owner of an adjacent parking lot was allowed to turn it into apartments, Acme’s owner predicted he would be forced to move his business out of Minneapolis to a parking-rich suburb. Nationally-known comedians rallied to Acme’s defense. Nearly 6,000 people signed an online petition to save a parking lot — in order to save a beloved comedy institution.

Today, with a new apartment building occupying that former parking lot, Acme owner Louis Lee tells the Star Tribune (in a story unrelated to parking) “Acme is enjoying its strongest business in a decade.”

This dynamic plays out on a smaller scale every week in neighborhoods across Minneapolis. Parking concerns are pervasive in a changing city. But people don’t usually pay attention long enough to check predictions against reality. We get headlines that say Neighborhood Threatened by Change. We never get the follow-up headline years later: Oops, Things Are Actually Just Fine.

So it’s important we honor bearded soothsayers like streets.mn writer Peter Bajurny, who was right all along. There’s one less parking lot in Minneapolis but the comedy business is booming in the North Loop. Go have your obnoxious “I told you so” moment, Peter — you deserve it.

7 thoughts on “Acme Comedy: The Parking Crisis That Wasn’t

  1. Mike SonnMike Sonn

    See also: Cleveland Ave has seen 3 major restaurant investments since the bike lanes have gone in (Bar Brigade, Stewart’s, Tilly’s). And the project’s biggest opponent (landlord of building at NE corner of Randolph/Cleveland) bought another building this fall at SE corner of St Clair/Cleveland.

  2. Alex SchieferdeckerAlex Schieferdecker

    Something that used to mystify me was how bicycle projects in a place like Minneapolis could still draw such vehement opposition, even though bike lanes had been operating for years in some areas with few adverse effects.

    Then I realized that nobody ever reports on the follow-up. Nobody from the Strib is going to do an independent analysis of 26th and 28th St. traffic volumes and check whether the hyperbole is accurate. Nobody is going to check back when the I-35 bridge construction is over. It’s just going to linger and everyone will move on, but none of the disputes are ever adjudicated.

    1. Karen

      Good point and only a deep dive into that data explains things – hey look traffic everywhere else in metro area is up X, but here it is only up Y – we saved this many car trips etc.

    2. Justin D

      Yup, and the angry people just move onto the next fight, and they use the completed (and successful) bike lanes to say “there’s too damn many already.”

  3. Peter Hoh

    Can we get a follow up on all the claims that the indoor smoking ban was going to doom bars and restaurants?

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