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U of M to Finally Stop Hoarding Native Remains

Plus Ties Lounge & Rooftop closes, Maplewood Mall is for sale, and questions about a proposed healthcare merger in today's Flyover.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

After 32 Years of Non-Compliance, U to Repatriate Mimbres Collection

In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which facilitates “the repatriation and disposition of certain Native American human remains, funerary objects, and sacred objects.” The University of Minnesota and its Weisman Art Museum have not complied with that federal law during the subsequent 32 years, the Minnesota Daily reports in an excellent deep-dive feature. At issue: the "Mimbres Collection," a trove of “ancestor remains and associated funerary objects” that the U's anthropology department excavated in the 1920s. Affiliated Pueblo Tribes from New Mexico have repeatedly attempted to reclaim the collection, the Daily reported in 2020, but it remained inside the Weisman, where it has sat since 1992. “An honest mistake,” ex-Weisman director Lyndel King told the student paper. (Click here to see a shameful timeline of theft, mismanagement, and rebuffed retrieval efforts.)

The U, finally, is taking steps to correct its decades-long "mistake." In February, the Board of Regents green-lit a repatriation process; a final inventory of the objects is due this month. “The University, in essence, was holding those ancestors, and their related funerary objects for ransom by continuing to stall the inventory,” An Garagiola with the Towards Recognition and University-Tribal Healing (TRUTH) Project tells the Daily’s Lara Boudinot. “To our knowledge, they have not established policies that ensure that this abomination will never happen again.”

Downtown's Ties Lounge & Rooftop Abruptly Closes

When news broke that a trio of friends would be opening an ambitious, multi-level eatery, entertainment venue, and bar downtown at 9th at Nicollet, people were pumped. And, judging by Ties’ social media feeds, plenty of crowds came, sang karaoke, and drank. “I really think it’s a perfect location, but the past two businesses that have been there have been in and out,” creative director Gene Sanguma told Racket in February before opening mid-March. “We’re kind of trying to break that curse and be the one that stays for more than four years.” Unfortunately, that curse has not been broken, as the venue announced that, after nearly eight months, the business was closing indefinitely effective immediately, due to “unforeseen circumstances.” “All we ever wanted was to be the spark to push downtown back in the right direction,” the social media announcement states. The location had previously been occupied by Rojo Mexican Grill, sports bar Randle’s, and Ling & Louie’s.

Healthcare Merger Might Suck for Patients

Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls, and Minneapolis’s own Fairview Health Services announced plans to merge in November. What would that mean to you? Nothing good, say several economists the Strib’s Christopher Snowbeck talked to. Their unanimous consensus, as Snowbeck sums it up: “Bigger health care providers typically have more power to negotiate higher prices to be paid by insurers and their members.” And, the economists say, that’s likely the impetus for this merger. Unsurprisingly, the CEOs at the two healthcare companies deny that, insisting the merger will allow them to reduce costs. The two companies initially tried to merge nearly a decade ago, in 2013, but the effort collapsed after meeting resistance from Minnesota officials. This time, though, the state may be more receptive, if comments from Gov. Tim Walz are any indication.

Giant Mall, Giant Office Tower Head to Auction

Wanna buy a flipped mall? Six months ago, Brookwood Capital Advisors acquired the 321,000-square-foot Maplewood Mall for $27.5 million. Now the Nashville-headquartered real estate firm is ready to move on from the 48-year-old shopping center that currently boasts a 72% occupancy rate and almost $7 million in net operating income. You can bid on the damn thing from February 13-15 over at RI-Marketplace. In a PR pitch to Racket, a representative from Brookwood stressed how important it is for us to write about his firm’s mall-flipping. “This article may help to change the economy of the Twin Cities region!” we were told. You’re welcome, Twin Cities region! In other commercial real estate news: LaSalle Plaza, the 30-story downtown Minneapolis office tower, is also headed to the auction block. Nick Halter of Axios has a nice breakdown of that building’s saga and, generally, the plight of suckers who own commercial office space in the WFH era.

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