St. Louis Park - General Topics

Twin Cities Suburbs
bapster2006
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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby bapster2006 » March 24th, 2016, 8:00 am

I have spent time in Meadowbrook due to friends that used to live there, and I currently live just north of there. The owner is in a tight spot because if they don't fix up the buildings the residents will call them a slumlord and take them to court. When they do the right thing and fix them up then there is the subsequent rent increase. St. Louis Park is so different from Edina in that in Edina along the creek you have the big mansions but in St. Louis Park you have low income housing and industry. I really do hope they can help the residents find places they can afford.

min-chi-cbus
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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 24th, 2016, 8:14 am

bapster2006 wrote:I have spent time in Meadowbrook due to friends that used to live there, and I currently live just north of there. The owner is in a tight spot because if they don't fix up the buildings the residents will call them a slumlord and take them to court. When they do the right thing and fix them up then there is the subsequent rent increase. St. Louis Park is so different from Edina in that in Edina along the creek you have the big mansions but in St. Louis Park you have low income housing and industry. I really do hope they can help the residents find places they can afford.
The thing I don't get is why they "have to" raise rents when they maintain the space. Keeping a building in shape shouldn't warrant rent increases in and of itself -- that should be paid for using part of the rent roll as an operating expense. Now if they are drastically renovating the units to become something extravagant and unlike anything they ever were before, or the units are under-priced for what they could fetch in the marketplace, then I can see the warrant for a rent increase.

At the end of the day if they can increase rents it's hard to tell them they shouldn't, but like others I worry about where the current residents will go.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby FISHMANPET » March 24th, 2016, 8:47 am

If rents aren't high enough to cover regular maintenance then you have to raise rents to do basic maintenance.

The "problem" here is that so many low income renters are in the private market with no help from the government. There's a baseline rent amount that allows a landlord to keep up with maintenance and properly staff the building and save money for capital improvements (or more likely pay off debt on those improvements). If a low income tenant can't afford that baseline then something has to give. And as you defer maintenance and capital improvements, it becomes more expensive to bring it up to a basic standard.

And because of where construction costs and median rents are, it's often easier to buy one of these "run down" buildings and fully renovate and then charge near luxury rents, and make a tidy profit.

So just like with the Crossroads, I feel like blame is somehow going to land on the "evil" current owner or some "evil" developer that buys the complex. This notion of "evil" actors is just a smoke screen put up around society to hide the fact that we as a society have chosen to not help these people. We have chosen to vilify public assistance. We have chosen to perpetuate the mortgage tax interest deduction that mostly helps already wealthy people. We have chosen not to fund public housing. Hell, we've chosen an economy where a person can work hard and not be paid enough to live.

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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby Sara Bergen » March 24th, 2016, 10:07 am

This plan disproportionately negatively impacts families of color. As I am sure most of you know, decades of legal and illegal private and government racial discrimination in the housing market have made it more difficult for non-white families to benefit from homeownership, and more difficult to find and maintain affordable, stable rental housing. This just feels like more of the same. As a multifamily rental property owner, the owners should have maintained adequate reserves for replacements, not deferred maintenance, and undertaken capital improvements as needed. This could have been supported by regular annual rent increases that are easier for families to absorb.

I am wondering if Meadowbrook is solely "naturally occurring affordable housing" or if it has a capital or ongoing public subsidies? Also, if they currently accept section 8, I wonder if that will continue. Meadowbrook is in the Susan Lindgren school attendance area and a large chuck of non-white and/or lower-income kids that attend Susan Lindgren live in Meadowbrook. It is one of the few affordable (either naturally or via subsidy) options in the SL attendance area. If most residents will have to move it will leave Susan Lindgren much whiter and wealthier. Sigh.

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Anondson
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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby Anondson » March 25th, 2016, 9:41 am

I've had a burning question come to mind. If the rent increases are due to the cost of fixing dilapidated buildings, repairing problems, it sounds like BS. In the city of SLP owners are required to bring residences up to code in every way before a buyer can claim the property. No exceptions.

Unless the city has a double standard for multifamily residences vs. single family residences and multifamily are allowed to decay without bringing down the infamous city inspectors. Why didn't the seller need to bring Meadowbrook Manor up to modern city code like every single seller otherwise? Something sounds incomplete to this story.

I know the new owner can just as well upgrade the units and go for a higher income customer as is their right. They could demo the place, too. Without greater details, something sounds terribly off about the excuse of rent increases due to repairing old structures.

A second issue, this puts a strong focus on the threatened loss of affordable housing options in and immediately next to SLP. One of the objections Councilmember Sue Sanger against the P.L.A.C.E proposal at the Wooddale LRT station is that 2/3rds of the 300 units are slated to meet the 60% median income affordability housing, Sue said 200 units of below market rate housing in one place was "concentrating poverty". The city is losing affordable housing options, as Meadowbrook Manor's changes is showing.

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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 25th, 2016, 9:54 am

FISHMANPET wrote:If rents aren't high enough to cover regular maintenance then you have to raise rents to do basic maintenance.

The "problem" here is that so many low income renters are in the private market with no help from the government. There's a baseline rent amount that allows a landlord to keep up with maintenance and properly staff the building and save money for capital improvements (or more likely pay off debt on those improvements). If a low income tenant can't afford that baseline then something has to give. And as you defer maintenance and capital improvements, it becomes more expensive to bring it up to a basic standard.

And because of where construction costs and median rents are, it's often easier to buy one of these "run down" buildings and fully renovate and then charge near luxury rents, and make a tidy profit.

So just like with the Crossroads, I feel like blame is somehow going to land on the "evil" current owner or some "evil" developer that buys the complex. This notion of "evil" actors is just a smoke screen put up around society to hide the fact that we as a society have chosen to not help these people. We have chosen to vilify public assistance. We have chosen to perpetuate the mortgage tax interest deduction that mostly helps already wealthy people. We have chosen not to fund public housing. Hell, we've chosen an economy where a person can work hard and not be paid enough to live.

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I don't mean to argue in circles but doesn't maintenance come out of the rent roll? If you neglect to maintain the space and then raise rents to cover the cost of maintenance, that's like double dipping to me. It's no different than if you delay maintenance on your home, then have to take out a 2nd mortgage to cover the costs in a lump-sum effort to bring the house up to snuff. Rent should cover: the cost of operating the building and its units, taxes, and a premium to generate a profit to run the business and make a living. It's like they forgot the first part, and are asking the tenants to pay for this twice, or leave. And I don't think the owners were being nice and only charging the bare minimum rent amounts to cover the most basic operational needs -- I think they pocketed some profits and didn't invest in their space. I agree with the rest though.

Or do I have it wrong?

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FISHMANPET
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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby FISHMANPET » March 25th, 2016, 10:00 am

Again, if your rents aren't high enough to cover all the maintenance and capital improvements then you need to raise rents to cover those things. There's no "law" that says a percent of rent has to go to certain things. The owners can spend that rent however they want. Staff, taxes, and debt service is probably going to be a higher priority than preventive maintenance and capital improvements. If rent isn't high enough to leave any money left over staffing and taxes and paying the mortgage, then there won't be any money into improvements.

Rents and conditions are set by a combination of what kind of crap people are willing to put up with and how much they can pay, not purely on what it costs to run the building.

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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 25th, 2016, 10:03 am

Sara Bergen wrote:This plan disproportionately negatively impacts families of color. As I am sure most of you know, decades of legal and illegal private and government racial discrimination in the housing market have made it more difficult for non-white families to benefit from homeownership, and more difficult to find and maintain affordable, stable rental housing. This just feels like more of the same. As a multifamily rental property owner, the owners should have maintained adequate reserves for replacements, not deferred maintenance, and undertaken capital improvements as needed. This could have been supported by regular annual rent increases that are easier for families to absorb.

I am wondering if Meadowbrook is solely "naturally occurring affordable housing" or if it has a capital or ongoing public subsidies? Also, if they currently accept section 8, I wonder if that will continue. Meadowbrook is in the Susan Lindgren school attendance area and a large chuck of non-white and/or lower-income kids that attend Susan Lindgren live in Meadowbrook. It is one of the few affordable (either naturally or via subsidy) options in the SL attendance area. If most residents will have to move it will leave Susan Lindgren much whiter and wealthier. Sigh.
Is it this, or are the owners just greedy? Or both?

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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 25th, 2016, 10:05 am

FISHMANPET wrote:Again, if your rents aren't high enough to cover all the maintenance and capital improvements then you need to raise rents to cover those things. There's no "law" that says a percent of rent has to go to certain things. The owners can spend that rent however they want. Staff, taxes, and debt service is probably going to be a higher priority than preventive maintenance and capital improvements. If rent isn't high enough to leave any money left over staffing and taxes and paying the mortgage, then there won't be any money into improvements.

Rents and conditions are set by a combination of what kind of crap people are willing to put up with and how much they can pay, not purely on what it costs to run the building.
So why do you think they'd keep rents artificially low and defer maintenance -- so families could afford to rent there? Or because their product wasn't valued enough to warrant rent increases? I just don't get why they wouldn't raise rents (if they could) unless they had no choice, and if they had no choice (but to keep rents stable/low) they probably weren't making much money/managing their property well. If that's the case then I get it, but I didn't think Bigos was exactly struggling.

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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby FISHMANPET » March 25th, 2016, 10:43 am

They're not "artifically" low, that's my point. They're at a level that the people willing to live in this place will pay. If that level isn't high enough to pay for maintenance then maintenance doesn't get done. If they raise rents to pay for maintenance then (presumably) people will move out.

He could be a slumlord that's pocketing the cash instead of making improvements, but that doesn't sound like it's the case here.

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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby EOst » March 25th, 2016, 11:41 am

But if the owner had been making improvements and maintaining proactively, rents would have risen slowly over the years, not all at once and dramatically.

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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby MNdible » March 25th, 2016, 1:31 pm

Units like this have a life-cycle. There are ongoing maintenance costs -- painting, patching, keeping the plumbing operational, replacing the carpeting, etc. The existing rent presumably covers this, and leaves a tidy profit for the owner. But at a certain point, maintenance only goes so far. The kitchen cabinets can't be fixed anymore and just need to be full-scale replaced. The bathrooms need to be gutted and completely rebuilt. The commons spaces need to be totally overhauled. The roof needs to be replaced. And if you're dumping all of that money into a project, the temptation to spend a little bit more for "luxury" finishes and then demand higher rents would be very strong.

The decision to sell is probably largely independent of the maintenance or lack thereof. That decision is probably driven by complex tax considerations, the need to access equity, estate planning, etc. etc.

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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby seanrichardryan » April 18th, 2016, 3:19 pm

Some in St. Louis Park want city to curb its enthusiasm for sidewalks
The City Council recently decided to proceed with the $3.1 million project to install sidewalks and rebuild streets in three neighborhoods. But the move doesn't sit well with some residents.

St. Louis Park is on its way to becoming “an inner-city wasteland” with “hoodlums standing around on the corner to harass the young women.” Meanwhile, unelected bureaucrats trample on the rights of citizens.
http://www.startribune.com/some-in-st-l ... 375958971/

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Anondson
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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby Anondson » April 18th, 2016, 3:37 pm

"They comin' for our womenfolk!" Yes, anti-sidewalk homeowners went there...

Did they think this was so subtle it wasn't going to be seen as racist? At least the reporter didn't sugar coat it nor bury it a few paragraphs from the end. There are arguments against sidewalks, but they went for the ones about veiled bigotry.

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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby Qhaberl » April 21st, 2016, 8:37 am

The problem is not the sidewalks. The problem is with the design of the city. If you dont have eyes on the streets, then its should not come as a surprise that you may see some crime. I think the neighbors are overextending their worries of crime.

acs
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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby acs » April 21st, 2016, 8:48 am

Lots of eyes on the sidewalks has really made North Minneapolis such a crime-free paradise, lol. By contrast, go into the RAIDS database and zoom in on any cul-de-sac neighborhood in woodbury and see how much crime there is despite "bad" city design. Crime is all about the people in the area.

phop
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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby phop » April 21st, 2016, 8:58 am

Off topic, but I wouldn't consider North Minneapolis as a place with a lot of eyes on the sidewalks relative to other inner-city neighborhoods.

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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby mnmike » May 6th, 2016, 1:31 pm

Surprised this hasn't been posted...rendering of that west end office building. Don't really care for the design.

https://twitter.com/BusinessMN/status/7 ... wsrc%5Etfw

Image

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Anondson
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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby Anondson » May 6th, 2016, 1:42 pm

I'm not able to nitpick architecture, I don't think I'm informed enough, but I don't see anything to bother me from this. But I'm all ears if any of the forum's architecture-mind care to opine.

grant1simons2
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Re: St. Louis Park - General Topics

Postby grant1simons2 » May 6th, 2016, 2:41 pm

Is it wearing a hat?


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