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It looks like there will be a burrito restaurant in the former Whole Foods Co-op building on E. Fourth St.

The owners of the Brewhouse, Rod Raymond and Tim Nelson, are behind the project.

“We are all set,? said Raymond, who also is the Wellness Coordinator at UMD. “Now we just need to secure funds necessary to build this joint.?

The business partners have bought the whole building, but the restaurant will not take up all the space. The rest of the building will, as it looks like, be used as a coffee shop. However, the coffee shop will not be run by Raymond and Nelson. Instead, they will lease out that space. Raymond and Nelson now seem certain that they will be able to open a restaurant, but there has been some controversy around the project.

There is a lack of parking lots in the area, and from the beginning the two owners only had access to 12 off-street parking spaces of the 23 that are required by city code. They asked the Board of Zoning Appeals for permission to let their customers' park on the street.

This concerned the neighboring business owners. The owners of Chester Park Laundromat, CarQuest Auto Parts and Chester Park Motors are all worried that their businesses will suffer as a consequence of the new restaurant.

“I think that this is a bad idea?, the owner of Chester Park Laundromat Philip Lundberg said.

He is afraid that his customers, of which many are UMD Students, will have a hard time finding a parking space if there will be a burrito restaurant in the building.

“My customers need to be able to park close by the Laundromat, since they have to carry their laundry. If they can't find a parking space on the street, they will go somewhere else.?

Raymond and Nelson do not think that Lundberg or the other business owners need to worry.

“The more traffic, the more business?, Raymond said. “That's what I think?.

He says that he can understand the way Lundberg feels, but that he is confident that the new restaurant will only have positive effects on the whole neighborhood.

“I can imagine that people might grab a burrito while doing laundry,? Raymond said.

To solve the problem with the lack of parking spaces, the business partners bought another parking lot behind the co-op. They now have enough parking spaces.

Lundberg does not think that a parking lot behind the building means that the problem is solved, though.

“They just bought that lot to make it look good and to satisfy the legal requirements,? he said. “In reality people will park on the street, because it's closer.?

However, a lot of people support the project. Vicky Sandville, who is involved in Campus Neighbors, is one of them.

“I think that a burrito restaurant would bring diversity to the neighborhood?, she said.

The burrito place will be run by students, and it will be a sit in, carry out and delivery restaurant. Raymond and Nelson are still secretive about the project, but they revealed that it would be a little bit of an “adventure? to visit the restaurant.

“It will be a kind of escapism,? Raymond said. “An opportunity to escape from cold Duluth for a while, into a completely different environment.?

The owners are still not certain about when the burrito restaurant will open.

“The fact that we had to buy a parking lot slowed things down,? Raymond said.

“But September for sure.?