GEOG 5361 Real Estate Blog Assignment – 1st Post: New Condos in Central Minneapolis

This is the first post regarding real estate topics such as residential and commercial developments within the Twin Cities region. I will mainly focus on articles that are about the infill developments within the central cities.

One recent article in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal discusses the first new condo project in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. A proposal by Curt Gunsbury and Robb Miller envisions “602 Residences” on North 1st Street, which would have a glassy exterior, be 8 stories tall, and would house 30 condo units. They will be marketed as upscale residences, and would be the first new condominiums to be built in almost 10 years. This may show that trendy neighborhoods that are attractive to affluent young urban professionals may be trying to diverse their housing stock by giving people the option to actually own their residential property, rather than renting which seems to be the norm regarding these types of neighborhoods. This may encourage more residents to stay on a long-term basis, especially if they are looking to treat it as a lifelong investment.

A Star Tribune article discusses the 602 Residences proposal further, and states that real estate agents believe that the local housing market is currently in demand of owner-occupied housing such as the Gunsbury and Miller proposal. Developers within the central neighborhoods of Minneapolis have been focused on upscale rental apartments since a housing crash in 2007, though many believe that the rental market is becoming over-saturated due to a high number of new developments being built at the same time. The market could become more diluted if new condo units arise, although that doesn’t mean that building condos don’t carry a risk despite a high demand for them. Condos come with a litigation risk after structural problems arose in condos built during the last condo boom. This lead to many lawsuits from various homeowner associations, which may explain why have focused on rentals since they may be a faster bet from a legal perspective.

The good news about condos though is recently built condos in other neighborhoods such as Stonebridge Lofts (a 164-unit, 12-story highrise developed by Jim Stanton) in the Mill District of Minneapolis almost had all of its units sold out before the building was even completed. This has lead Stanton to propose other condo developments (such as the 20-stories tall Eclipse along Hennepin Avenue), along with other developers to propose ambitious developments. One example is Bob Lux proposing a 40-story residential tower across the Mississippi River in Northeast Minneapolis, which may either condos or apartments.

By analyzing the recent successes of new condo units in addition to a still existing high demand for owner-occupied housing, developments such as. Some questions to ask may be if there could be condo units that have a more affordable price tag, as the final prices. Middle and low income households may feel left out, despite the fact they may also be part of the demand for owner-occupied housing despite having more modest budgets for housing. Could older apartments with rents for 1 to 2 bedroom units under or around $1000-1200/month be converted to condos to help balance out the rate of owner-occupied housing on a socioeconomic scale throughout the city?

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