Nice nice we got some good discussion going on at forum.streets.mn 2day! nice. here goes:
Archiapolis wrote: the EVIDENCE (built projects) is clear - these buildings lease up and get sold. The market for multi-family rental is strong and it is off the charts in desirable cities with strong economies (Minneapolis). The projects are in SUCH high demand from investors that many of them sell before they have left "the drawing board." Do you realize how strong that is as an investment? [...] do you understand that they are being sold for large profits?
Yes. It is painfully easy to understand that these buildings are lucrative investments at the moment in Minneapolis, and why. In 2016 all of us are drowning in a cultural tsunami of fetishized urban visual aesthetics and lifestyle branding. That's fine, sustainability is great, OK. Meanwhile, anyone who has biked alongside Elan Uptown can very easily identify the amount of wealth that these simulacra of "urban design" can attract. Who could contest that? But the question is whether these buildings are really even delivering what they promise vis-à-vis our changing cultural preferences.
Archiapolis wrote:I'll get back to the units in a minute but you clearly don't understand what are driving these projects:
1. Location - neighborhood amenities (restaurants, night life, biking trails, rivers, creeks, cafes, etc)
2. Amenities - pools, pool decks, lawn bowling, fitness rooms, yoga, "private" coffee shops, concierge service, bike maintenance areas, dog runs
3. "Common space" within units - "open plan" living/kitchen/dining
This is exactly my point. Again, it is painfully obvious that windows in bedrooms are low on the list of priorities for the people who are interested in these buildings right now! A great deal of people, however, have no interest in these buildings at present, nor do they have any interest in the simulacra of "restaurants", "night life" and "cafés" that are being aggressively marketed to potential tenants and buyers. Personally I much prefer the cafes and nightlife of Powderhorn, Seward and Cedar-Riverside, and yet for some very interesting reasons (to be discussed elsewhere) these neighborhoods have not (yet) provoked massive investment by the capital forces that are driving construction in Uptown and elsewhere.
Regardless of the building materials, much of the simulated "urban" lifestyle being marketed in many of these developments is flimsy and weak, liable to fall apart as soon as the tenants and buyers realize they are not getting the real thing, despite paying more for it. And then they will also notice that their bedrooms don't even have windows, while lower-income people in South and North are living in luscious green neighborhoods in natural-light filled apartment complexes.
FISHMANPET wrote:You know what's the most annoying thing about so called "progressive" housing advocates? How they've decided to decree exactly how other people should live, usually prescribing their middle class standards, rather than letting people actually choose something that meets their own needs.
I'm absolutely 100% fully aware that the aesthetic sensibilities I described above reflect a pickiness that can only come with privilege and upward mobility. Again, this is exactly my point. The problem isn't that I personally want to dictate that all of Minneapolis live this way. My argument is that in the coming decades, it seems outrageously obvious to me that the wealthy middle class will start to wonder why they sleep in windowless bedrooms in pastiches of urban-style buildings occupying every square inch of a lot, when they could have more windows and green space while still living in high-density city.
This is not a radical or lunatic prediction. Streets.mn writers promoting smaller-scale "missing middle" construction are channeling this turn away from faux-urban warehouses à la Uptown, and developers are already taking note, as in 2008 Bryant and 1900 Colfax. Yes, there are financial barriers to that scale of construction, but my argument is that these are so obviously a better and more solid long-term investment, that as soon as a few developers can make it work, very few people with disposable incomes are going to prefer to live in a windowless bedroom when they don't have to.
The "progressive housing advocate" position doesn't even appear until we start to look at the consequences of this. Once large faux-urban warehouses go out of style amongst the upwardly mobile populations that drive the real estate market, the "market-rate/luxury construction mitigates displacement" argument will evaporate as the young middle class moves out of Lime Apartments and into renovated quadplexes in Phillips en masse.
Archiapolis wrote:I've been in countless meetings with development teams and I've heard it dozens of times, "There are only two things going on in bedrooms and they tend to happen in the dark."
TL;DR: I would never invest in a development team who don't account for humankind's preference for lovemaking next to an open window on a gorgeous afternoon, and it boggles my mind that anyone would. The magnitude of dubious corner-cutting this represents is colossal. But once that bubble bursts, it will be poor and vulnerable populations who take the brunt of it. Dang