New Restrictions for Grand-Cleveland Parking Lot Take Effect April 3

Sixteen parking spaces in a St. Thomas lot at Grand and Cleveland avenues can be used only by customers of Davanni’s and Coffee Bene, effective Tuesday, April 3.

The spaces in the southern two rows of Lot K have been restricted the past three years to customers of the two businesses from 5 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to midnight on weekends.

That restriction is being expanded to 7 a.m.-midnight every day as the result of a decision earlier this month by the St. Paul Planning Commission. The restriction will last until March 2021 unless the university and two businesses decide to end the agreement early.

A sign at the entrance to the drive lane between the two rows will be marked for Davanni’s and Coffee Bene customers, and individual spaces also will be marked. St. Thomas Public Safety officers will monitor the area, as will Davanni’s and Coffee Bene parking lot attendants members, to ensure only customers of the businesses will park there.

St. Thomas faculty, staff and students who have university parking permits can continue to park in the lot’s northern two rows.

The lot has been under scrutiny since 2005, when the city approved a site plan for construction of McNeely Hall. The university’s plans at the time called for residential housing to be constructed on the Grand-Cleveland corner but not immediately, and the city agreed to allow a 33-car parking lot on the site for 10 years, until March 2015.

In 2015, the city approved a three-year extension of the lot, until March 2018. St. Thomas reached agreement with Davanni’s and Coffee Bene to allow their customers to park in the southern half of the lot on weeknights and weekends.

The subsequent extension supported by two neighborhood organizations – the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee and the Macalester-Groveland Community Council – and approved by the city has these parameters:

  • No parking will be allowed in the lot after March 11, 2021, at which point St. Thomas must construct housing on the site or return the entire lot to green space.
  • St. Thomas will use lease funds from Davanni’s and Coffee Bene to convert up to three student rental houses in the neighborhood to owner-occupied status.