Oct 27, 2021 - Business
Minneapolis Warehouse District's red paint kerfuffle
A bright red paint job on an old brick building
A new paint job on a Warehouse District building is turning heads. Photo: Nick Halter/Axios Photo: Nick Halter/Axios

The owner of a Minneapolis Warehouse District sex shop decided to paint his building bright red.

  • His neighbors aren't impressed and the city says he better fix it.

Dennis Buchanan said he will comply — probably with some brown paint.

  • "Sorry that I have a little flavor," he told Axios.

Context: Buchanan is the owner of a Sex World, Downtown Intimates and a few CBD shops. In May he bought a small brick building at 314 First Ave.N, where he's been operating Downtown Intimates.

  • He said the alley in between his building and Fine Line Cafe needed to be cleaned up — his wall was covered in graffiti.
  • "Come on, we've got a problem with paint? We can't even police our city," he said.

State of play: With an election less than a week away, the paint job has become political.

  • Dario Anselmo, the owner of the next-door building that houses Fine Line, brought up the paint at a recent Ward 3 City Council forum, saying it's one more thing for downtown businesses to deal with after last summer's riots and ongoing public safety concerns.
  • "We're in a historic neighborhood with rules that regulate things like this. What can be done to stop and correct situations like this as they degrade the neighborhoods?" the former state rep asked.

Incumbent City Council Member Steve Fletcher said the city has issued the owner an order to correct the problem. Warehouse District buildings are only allowed to be painted certain colors.

  • "They're absolutely not allowed to paint their building in that way," he said. "They have I think 30 days to correct it."

In a rare moment, Michael Rainville, Fletcher's main opponent in a tense race for the Downtown/Northeast district, agreed.

  • "I'm really glad to hear that, that the city is on that and ... I'm sure it's going to be corrected," Rainville said.
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