Five15 on the Park - 515 15th Avenue South

Calhoun-Isles, Cedar-Riverside, Longfellow, Nokomis, Phillips, Powderhorn, and Southwest
min-chi-cbus
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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 3rd, 2014, 11:18 pm

I don't know.....there's scores of vacant buildings in [name that city] with absentee owners and it doesn't seem to cause any undue harm to the owner. Perhaps it's different for a redevelopment site, IDK...

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby helsinki » March 4th, 2014, 2:21 am

Silophant wrote:Maybe, but given the recent Dinkytown decision, it looks like it was a prudent choice.
I suppose; but presumably the developer isn't totally ignorant of the fact that the incident isn't exactly helpful PR and that it will undoubtably resurface if they again seek favorable treatment from the authorities (as they certainly have here).

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby schmitzm03 » May 4th, 2014, 8:18 pm

Time to revive this one. I wandered by this afternoon and the small parking area that Fine Associates leases out on this site had a "Lot Closed" sign on it. There were also relatively fresh utility markings all over and the trees along 15th Ave had pink ribbons around them (anyone know what that means?). I would bet this one is going to break ground within the month.

Here is a picture of the lot on the site.
Image

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby FISHMANPET » May 4th, 2014, 8:21 pm

My guess is trees with pink ribbons are coming down. It's pretty standard in forest management to tie trees with specific color ribbons to determine their fate (cut down as scrub, cut down for lumber, etc etc) so I'd guess they mark them the same when they come in to the city to cut the trees.

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby schmitzm03 » May 12th, 2014, 6:23 am

Walked by this weekend. The site is fenced off and an excvator is on site digging. I'd say this project has begun.

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby WHS » May 28th, 2014, 8:47 am

This development is a housing segregation nightmare. Probably illegally so.

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby FISHMANPET » May 28th, 2014, 8:56 am

Could you elaborate on that a bit more?

In other news, an article about this, and also about Bianca Fine, in the Strib today (yesterday? how is print media frommed?). Well anyway, it's online here: http://www.startribune.com/local/minnea ... 60451.html

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby WHS » May 28th, 2014, 9:10 am

FISHMANPET wrote:Could you elaborate on that a bit more?

In other news, an article about this, and also about Bianca Fine, in the Strib today (yesterday? how is print media frommed?). Well anyway, it's online here: http://www.startribune.com/local/minnea ... 60451.html
It's rent-restricted affordable housing being built in a neighborhood that is already overwhelmingly nonwhite. Occupants of rent-restricted housing -- particularly in Minneapolis -- tend to also be overwhelmingly nonwhite. You could hardly ask for a clearer violation of the Fair Housing Act's rules barring perpetuation of segregation.

Projects like these are modern-day, privately-developed successors to the public housing projects of the 50s and 60s. They trap low-income and minority residents in struggling neighborhoods, and subvert the entire purpose of federal affordable housing funding. It's always the same argument: that we have to preserve affordability for coming gentrification. When gentrification never comes, the developers declare success.

tab
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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby tab » May 28th, 2014, 10:34 am

WHS, there is a lot of daylight between the typical rent levels (and average incomes of residents) in Public Housing and the rent levels in apartments funding by Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Most residents of Public Housing would not be able to afford the rents at Five15, not even in the 50% of the apartments that will have rent restrictions. The other 50% of the apartments at Five15 will have no rent restrictions.

Are you suggesting that only luxury housing projects be allowed in many parts of Minneapolis & St. Paul? However well-intentioned such a law would be, it would have the negative consequence of blocking investments near low-income neighborhoods, which sounds like redlining.

I have never actually heard a developer say "Gentrification never came, great success!" Developers have more options and upside when more people want to live in the neighborhood surrounding their property.

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby schmitzm03 » May 28th, 2014, 10:50 am

It certainly seems fair to be concerned about over-concentration of income restricted housing. When concentration of such housing is beneficial and when it is harmful, however, is not entirely straightforward. This paper provides some interesting insight into the matter: http://closup.umich.edu/files/closup-wp-8-lihtc.pdf

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby WHS » May 28th, 2014, 10:57 am

I'm not sure what public housing you're referring to; virtually all affordable housing development these days is LIHTC-financed. In any case, LIHTC units are required to accept Section 8 vouchers from residents, so many occupants aren't paying the (restricted) rents.

The whole mixed-income thing is a bit of a scam in neighborhoods like this one: it helps developers receive priority for public financing under the guise of providing economic integration, but market-rate units in low-income neighborhoods are going to just offer lower rents anyway, and are probably going to be occupied by renters with the same demographics of the neighborhood as a whole (i.e., lower-income and heavily minority).

What I'm suggesting is that scarce affordable housing funding be used in areas where it can actually provide new opportunities for low-income residents -- in other words, higher-income neighborhoods and suburbs where waiting lists for affordable housing are long and most poor and nonwhite citizens are currently completely priced out. It's true that a lot of these poor urban neighborhoods are redlined to hell and back (in effect if not explicitly), but there's no evidence that affordable housing construction revitalizes them or serves in any way as a replacement for genuine private investment. If anything, affordable housing in poor neighborhoods actually drives out private investment, by creating areas of endemic poverty, utterly reliant on public funding, where no private enterprise could hope to survive.

As for developers declaring success, here's one recent example:
Rents have also risen along the corridor. The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment leapt to $1,400 in the third quarter of 2013, up from $1,225 during the same period in 2011. But, as the Big Picture report notes, the rent increase in the area likely reflects the increase in apartments located in downtown Minneapolis and new student housing located near the University. In point of fact, it went on to say, "the changes do not appear to be pushing out lower income households."

Eric Muschler, program officer for the McKnight Foundation, one of the constituent members of the Big Picture, was cautiously optimistic. "The signs so far are really positive," he says.
http://www.minnpost.com/cityscape/2014/ ... le-removal

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby WHS » May 28th, 2014, 11:01 am

schmitzm03 wrote:It certainly seems fair to be concerned about over-concentration of income restricted housing. When concentration of such housing is beneficial and when it is harmful, however, is not entirely straightforward. This paper provides some interesting insight into the matter: http://closup.umich.edu/files/closup-wp-8-lihtc.pdf
I hadn't seen this study, thanks. Similar studies in Minneapolis have had very different results. And with that said, it's also important to remember that even benefits to a neighborhood have to be offset by costs to residents, who lose the opportunity to live in high-income area when a LIHTC unit is located in a low-income area instead.

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby schmitzm03 » May 28th, 2014, 11:16 am

I don't mean to be cheeky, but would you be willing to share a link to similar studies in Minneapolis? Would love to learn more.

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby Wedgeguy » May 28th, 2014, 11:27 am

First off, it has been years since I was last really in the neighborhood to walk around to see what the area is like. But after the renovation of the towers I do not think that the area can be considered a slum of any sort. The fact that there is non subsidized housing that is apart of this it makes it all the better. This project is close to the hospitals, the University, and like Brooklyn, a train ride from DT. When 5th is vacated we will also have another way to get into the Elliot park area of the city.

We can also look at this as a catalyst to get other project built in the area. With the LRT station there, it is a great place to put addition housing and some more retail businesses. There are plenty of open areas to work with near the station that can get renovated once the 5th street exit is vacated. There is land south of the station that needs to be looked at also.

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby WHS » May 28th, 2014, 11:43 am

schmitzm03 wrote:I don't mean to be cheeky, but would you be willing to share a link to similar studies in Minneapolis? Would love to learn more.
I don't know of any cluster analyses like you shared, but there have been case studies that examine changes in the neighborhood of individual projects before and after construction (e.g., of the Franklin-Portland development, here: http://www.law.umn.edu/uploads/ee/52/ee ... 1-7-14.pdf), and they haven't shown any indication of neighborhood recovery. A more controlled approach where you can isolate the effects of the actual development would be obviously be useful, though, which is why your paper is moving to the top of my to-read list.

With that said, I think it's important to recognize that even if you assume neighborhoods with high amounts of LIHTC investment would be worse off absent tax credit units, they're still the poorest areas in the city. You run into the "warehousing poverty" issue either way.

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby WHS » May 28th, 2014, 11:53 am

Wedgeguy wrote:First off, it has been years since I was last really in the neighborhood to walk around to see what the area is like. But after the renovation of the towers I do not think that the area can be considered a slum of any sort. The fact that there is non subsidized housing that is apart of this it makes it all the better. This project is close to the hospitals, the University, and like Brooklyn, a train ride from DT. When 5th is vacated we will also have another way to get into the Elliot park area of the city.

We can also look at this as a catalyst to get other project built in the area. With the LRT station there, it is a great place to put addition housing and some more retail businesses. There are plenty of open areas to work with near the station that can get renovated once the 5th street exit is vacated. There is land south of the station that needs to be looked at also.
See, this sort of reasoning kind of throws me, though. If it's such a great, centrally located area, why aren't more people with higher incomes trying to live there? You see this argument constantly in affordable housing circles -- concentrated poverty and racial segregation isn't a problem if it's near transit -- but it always rings a bit hollow to me. Peoples' actual location matters: it determines where kids go to school, it affects health outcomes, it determines whether or not you can get a loan, etc.

It's also hard for me to see how this particular development would be catalytic, all statistical studies aside. There are already thousands of units in the area, including 1200 subsidized ones in the towers. Another 290 units isn't likely to trigger investment, nor its absence likely to prevent it. Instead, it's just tens of millions of dollars, which could have been used for poverty deconcentration, being spent in a poor neighborhood instead.

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby Wedgeguy » May 28th, 2014, 12:13 pm

WHS, part of that has to do with it's location. Until the LRT came along. that area of town was quite isolated due to the Washington Ave trench, I 94 to the south, and I 35W to the west. The only way to get around to DT was to go thru the 7 corners area. 25 years ago I''d have called the area a campus ghetto. You have two university with student housing in the area. The Cedar Plaza experiment did not pan out like the urbanist would have liked. Due to the under performance of the towers themselves it would have been hard to get people to have dealt with the lack of proper heating and isolated windows that were not available when it was built. Until the rebuilding of Cedar and Riverside streets, the area did not make you want to travel thru there. Also in the last decade there has been a huge amount of money that has gone to upgrade the hospital, the Carlson school of business and a few more U buildings have now helped to make the west bank of the U a more appealing place to be.

This is why I say, with the recent events of the 5th street exit being vacated, the LRT stations being close by for both the green and blue lines. This area will get more hospitable for people to want to live again. This will take more than one building to do. There are several area close by that also need to be improved to make the area a better fit for more residents.There is a lot going on and if they can get the Lid over 35W that will help to make this area a much bigger draw.

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby mullen » May 28th, 2014, 12:18 pm

the reader comments to that strib article are depressing.

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby WHS » May 28th, 2014, 12:19 pm

Wedgeguy wrote:WHS, part of that has to do with it's location. Until the LRT came along. that area of town was quite isolated due to the Washington Ave trench, I 94 to the south, and I 35W to the west. The only way to get around to DT was to go thru the 7 corners area. 25 years ago I''d have called the area a campus ghetto. You have two university with student housing in the area. The Cedar Plaza experiment did not pan out like the urbanist would have liked. Due to the under performance of the towers themselves it would have been hard to get people to have dealt with the lack of proper heating and isolated windows that were not available when it was built. Until the rebuilding of Cedar and Riverside streets, the area did not make you want to travel thru there. Also in the last decade there has been a huge amount of money that has gone to upgrade the hospital, the Carlson school of business and a few more U buildings have now helped to make the west bank of the U a more appealing place to be.

This is why I say, with the recent events of the 5th street exit being vacated, the LRT stations being close by for both the green and blue lines. This area will get more hospitable for people to want to live again. This will take more than one building to do. There are several area close by that also need to be improved to make the area a better fit for more residents.There is a lot going on and if they can get the Lid over 35W that will help to make this area a much bigger draw.
I don't disagree with any of this -- it's a lot better than it used to be. It's just a terrible place for publicly-subsidized, rent-restricted affordable housing.

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Re: Five15 On the Park - (1515 5th Street South)

Postby tab » May 28th, 2014, 12:30 pm

I'm referring primarily to this public housing:
http://www.mphaonline.org/
http://www.stpaulpha.org/

WHS - you are correct that new construction of public housing has dwindled to near-zero, but the existing stock is still significant - MPHA and the St. Paul PHA are still some of the largest (if not the largest) landlords in the Metro, depending on how you count privately-owned properties with project-based section 8 contracts. Judging from their waiting lists, not everyone is desparately trying to move out to Excelsior. Nothing against Excelsior--some of my best friends live in Excelsior, and they find the lack of transit absurd.

Your paragraph about mixed-income projects being a 'scam' confuses me. If it is truly the case that even market-rate apartments without any income restrictions will still mostly attract low-income renters, then (1) how will said renters qualify for the apartment and pay the rent?, and (2) why does it matter if the apartments are income-restricted or not, if the presence/lack of an income restriction has no meaningful impact on the outcome?

I'm all for a balance in the placement of affordable housing, but looking at the transportation costs of the 'surburban lifestyle,' it isn't clear that putting people of limited means out on the geographic edges of the region is consistently beneficial. It depends a lot on the individual, where they work, and so forth. Should some affordable housing be built in transit-poor locations in the suburbs? Sure, and it is. Should a big red line be drawn around Minneapolis and St. Paul? No, right?

Affordable housing isn't very effective at preventing private investment. Grant Park was built across the street from multiple affordable housing properties, as was Skyscape, which is kitty corner from Grant Park. Many of the early (1990's) developments in the North Loop were publicly subsidized. The same is true in the Mill District. I wouldn't claim that affordable housing can magically turn any neighborhood into Uptown. But in several local examples, affordable housing has been the 'first money in', attracting massive private investment in neighborhoods that were previously not even on the radar of your typical apartment-seeker, condo buyer, or developer.

If by 'developer' you mean anyone who is not WHS' then yes, Eric Muschler, the McKnight Foundation, and the Big Picture are all 'developers.' Do you agree with their basic sentiment that the best outcome along the Green line would be to avoid a massive displacement of lower-income folks, while adding housing across the rent spectrum? If not - then what is your best-case scenario?

Finally, WHS, I don't mean to come across as overly harsh. I agree with some of your ideas, just not all of them. You seem smart, articulate, and well-meaning. I'm curious, what has influenced your thinking on development?


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