Plans in the works to move Runway Bar to new Hermantown site

As if remodeling The Other Place Bar and the Twig Bakery and Cafe weren't enough, Martin Hinz III and Rob Hargraves have another big project this summer.

Plans to move the Runway Bar building in Hermantown a quarter-mile down Arrowhead Road have fallen through. The bar closed May 1. (News Tribune/ 2011 file)

As if remodeling The Other Place Bar and the Twig Bakery and Cafe weren't enough, Martin Hinz III and Rob Hargraves have another big project this summer.

The second coming of the Runway Bar & Grill.

The two bought the Hermantown business a year ago, though the property they leased at 4766 Arrowhead Road had been purchased by Kolar group. And the building eventually would be razed along with neighboring properties to make way for a new Kolar-Chevrolet-Buick-GMC facility.

With construction soon to begin, the Runway closed May 1, destined for



But businessman Kevin Ruhnke has struck a deal with the Kolar group to move the building a quarter-mile down the road to 2½ acres he owns on the southwest corner of West Arrowhead and Haines roads. Ruhnke lives in the house on the corner, next to the future site of the Runway Bar. He plans to relocate his home next year. A smaller house next door, which he also owns, probably will be removed this month, he said.

While the bar had once been in his family -- his sister owned it when it was Patrick's Pub -- he sees it as a business venture that should be profitable.

"I've known the people running it for the last year," said Ruhnke, who has several businesses including a snowplowing service. "I've done work with them. They showed me their profits over the last year."

And those profits were good.

Once the Runway is moved, Ruhnke would own the property, while Hinz and Hargraves would again run the business.

"We're looking at possibly being open over there by the end of the summer," Hines said. "As of right now, it's looking 100 percent."

Bartender Krissy Carl, who had worked at the Runway, is looking forward to going back.

"I can't wait," she said, as she tended bar last week at The Other Place on East Calvary Road. "Everybody's excited, because it's been there for 20 years. I spent more time there with locals than with my family."


Prep work to move the building next to Arrowhead Auto Body already has begun. Last week, workers were readying the vacant building for moving, including removing floor bolts that secured the building to the slab foundation. The Runway's contents -- tables, chairs and kitchen equipment -- are in storage.

"It's moving one way or another, and most likely by the end of the month," said Peter Kolar, a co-owner of the car dealership.

But before that can happen, several permits must be gotten. Two permits are needed from the city of Hermantown, including a building permit that allows the site to be altered.

Ruhnke has applied for those city permits, but before they can be granted and used, erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plans need to be approved by the city, said John Klaers, Hermantown's city planner and zoning director. A public hearing on the matter will be at 7:20 p.m. Tuesday before the Hermantown Planning and Zoning Commission.

Klaers expects the Hermantown permit process to wrap up soon.

"So far they have been responsive to everything we ask them to do," he said. "I'm optimistic for their project."

But other permits are needed from St. Louis County, including a transportation permit to actually move the building down the road, Those permits haven't been sought yet, but would come at the end of the process, said Victor Lund, the county's traffic engineer.

"By the end of the month, it'll be down the street," Ruhnke promised.


Other structures around the Runway Bar that must be removed before the Kolar construction can begin also are finding new lives, but through disassembly and re-assembly rather than demolition. They include a storage building Ruhnke already has removed.

"He took it down in sections so he can reuse it," Kolar said. "All the buildings will have a second life, so it's a win for everybody. It just kind of came together."

Before the Runway reopens, Hinz and Hargraves plan to redesign the bar and its layout and make other improvements. That could include adding a deck for outdoor dining.

"We're taking the opportunity to do a few changes and upgrades to the existing structure to make it a little more unique and more enjoyable," Hinz said.

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