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MINNEAPOLIS-Despite pleas from preservationists and the building’s architect to save the Guthrie Theater building, the City Council’s zoning and planning committee voted to approve a demolition permit requested by the building’s owner, the Walker Art Center. Ralph Rapson, the architect who designed the theater when it was built in 1963, disagreed with those who argue that the Guthrie building has so altered over the years that it no longer has historical “integrity.”

Earlier this month, the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission voted to deny the permit.Its tenant, the Guthrie, hopes to move to a new theater complex on the Minneapolis riverfront by 2005.

The neighboring Walker Art Center, which owns the Guthrie building, wants to raze it to make way for an ambitious $90-million expansion.

It’s a decision that may not stand. There will likely be major turnover on the committee after the November elections, including most of those who voted to grant the permit. Also, it will likely be appealed to the Minneapolis City Council, which has the ultimatedecision. Finally, Walker officials could ultimately decide not to tear down the structure even if they get a permit to do so.

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