Real Estate

Torey Van Oot
Oct 11, 2021 - News

More evictions ahead for Minnesotans behind on rent

Illustration of a cardboard moving box with the facade of a house drawn on it
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Another wave of Minnesotans who are behind on their rent could face evictions this week.

What's happening: Starting Tuesday, property owners can end leases for any legal reason and file to evict tenants who are behind on rent but haven't applied to the state's rent assistance program.

  • Landlords are required to give 15-day notice.

Why it matters: Evictions destabilize families and have financial repercussions that make it difficult to rent in the future.

  • Landlords, meanwhile, argued this summer that the ongoing protections were putting them in a tough spot, especially when it came to evicting problematic tenants.
Nick Halter
Sep 20, 2021 - Real Estate

Rent control and housing fuel Minneapolis mayoral forum debates

A Zoom debate among Minneapolis mayoral candidates, including incumbent Jacob Frey, Sheila Nezhad and Kate Knuth.
(From top, left to right) Moderator Joe Nuñez and candidates Kate Knuth, Jacob Frey and Sheila Nezhad participate in a virtual DFL Lawyers Committee forum last week. Screenshot via Zoom

Minneapolis mayoral forum season is in full swing, and while public safety and police reform are taking up most of the energy and attention, candidates are also weighing in on other big issues that will shape the city's future.

What they're talking about: Affordable housing and rent control have been major topics at recent forums.

  • A ballot measure would give the City Council the power to enact rent control policies, which cap how much landlords can raise rent on their tenants.
Nick Halter
Sep 10, 2021 - News

The Ponds at Battle Creek closes as golf course's future remains uncertain

Greenery and a pond at The Ponds at Battle Creek golf course.
The Ponds at Battle Creek will close on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Ramsey County

The Ponds at Battle Creek will close on Sunday after just 17 years as a golf course, but the debate about what to do with the south Maplewood land rages on.

State of play: Ramsey County, which owns the course, made the decision to close The Ponds in 2019, but delayed the closure until now. Officials are currently seeking out developers to buy the 88-acre course, along with a 77-acre site just to the north on Century Avenue.

  • The nine-hole course was built in 2001, near the height of the Tiger Woods-inspired golf boom, and inmates at the nearby Ramsey County Correctional Facility tended to the grounds.
  • But the county says it's the worst performing of its five courses. (The Ponds lost money in seven of the past 11 years, though it turned small profits the last two after getting some debt forgiveness.)

What they're saying: The county is open to selling the two sites to a single developer or splitting them up between two, and private golf course operators are welcome to submit, Ramsey County director of property management Jean Krueger told Nick.

  • But county commissioners have expressed a strong interest in using the land for housing, including affordable homes.

The other side: Golfers and neighbors are pushing back against plans to convert the course into housing. Maplewood Mayor Marylee Abrams told the Star Tribune she wants to keep The Ponds as a golf course, and noted that the city has the authority to rezone the property for housing.

  • Environmental groups are also protesting development, saying the land is an important bird habitat.

What's next: Developers must notify the county of their interest by Sept. 20 and submit a response by Oct. 4.

  • A developer, following interviews this fall, could be selected by late November.
Nick Halter
Sep 8, 2021 - News

Bloomington rekindles Mall of America water park talks

A rendering of the water park next to MOA with a clear roof
Image: DLR Group via City of Bloomington

Bloomington officials on Wednesday will discuss a proposal that's been in the works for years to bring a massive water park to Mall of America.

Why it matters: Traditional retail doesn't drive people to shopping centers the way it used to.

  • MOA and city officials hope the water park can keep the complex, a major driver of Twin Cities tourism, relevant. But some question if the city should get so tangled up in a deal with the mall.
Audrey Kennedy
Sep 2, 2021 - News

Minnesota home for sale stuffed with preserved animals

inside of zillow home filled with animals
Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker Realty

Who needs a zoo when you have this nearly $1.5 million Cold Spring house?

Driving the news: A Minnesota home's Zillow listing, first flagged to us by Racket, is going viral for its unique interior design — namely, its hundreds of stuffed and preserved animals.

  • You've got to see it to believe it. This taxidermy collection has giraffes, elephants, a polar bear, monkeys and zebras, plus an entire room of teddy bears.

Details: The four-bedroom, five-bathroom house sits on 6.5 acres of waterfront land, which hopefully holds only native Midwest creatures.

  • Curiously, the listing's description never mentions the animals. No word on if they come with the house.

Check out more photos at the full listing here.

Nick Halter
Aug 24, 2021 - News

Twin Cities housing pinch coming from both sides

A for sale sign in front of a house
Photo: Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Home buyers, especially first timers, continue to deal with a short supply of houses on the market, bidding wars and waived inspections. But Plan B — renting an apartment — is getting a bit more expensive.

Driving the news: After a year of stagnating rents brought on by the pandemic, prices for rental housing in the Twin Cities increased in July to just over $1,600 a month, according to Zillow.

  • That 4.1% jump from the same time last year puts rents nearly where Zillow projected them to be before the pandemic.

Yes, but: There are still deals to be found, especially in downtown Minneapolis. Now is typically when landlords are trying to fill up their buildings before winter.

  • For example, the Wilf family’s new apartment building near U.S. Bank Stadium — 240 Park Avenue — is advertising two free months of rent for new leases.

Between the lines: With rents rising again and mortgage rates remaining low, it would seem to be a good time to buy a house.

  • But there's only about 7,600 houses on the market in the Twin Cities, down 25% from this time last year, according to the Minneapolis and St. Paul Area Realtors associations.
  • The median home spent just seven days on the market last month, down from 17 days a year ago and 25 in 2016.

What they're saying: "With offers still coming in at an average of 3.6% over original asking price, more people are understanding the strength of this market," Todd Walker, president of Minneapolis Area Realtors Association, said in a news release.

What's ahead: The good news is that housing construction starts in the Twin Cities metro are on pace for about 25,000 new units in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • That would be the most new housing starts since 2004.
Nick Halter
Jul 27, 2021 - News

Dayton's Project developer asks judge to block auction

A rendering of business professionals walking up a large staircase in the renovated Dayton's department store project in downtown Minneapolis.
The Dayton's Project still hasn't opened to the public. Image courtesy of The Dayton's Project

A pair of New York companies are battling for control of the iconic former Dayton's department store in downtown Minneapolis, and it could all come to a head next month.

What's new: Monarch Alternative Capital is attempting to auction developer 601W Cos.' controlling stake in the massive Nicollet Mall building, tentatively on Aug. 23.

  • Monarch, which bought a $78 million loan on the building during the pandemic, said in court filings that 601W has not met benchmarks for leasing the space.
  • 601W said that meeting the benchmarks has been impossible due to COVID, and the developer is asking a Hennepin County judge to block the auction, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
Audrey Kennedy
Jul 20, 2021 - News

Metal shipping container house for sale in the Twin Cities

The exterior of a shipping container home for sale in Minneapolis.
Is this the Twin Cities' first shipping container home? Photo courtesy of Amber Steiner/eXp Realty

Forget about exposed brick interiors — it's all about the metal shipping containers at this $280,000 North Minneapolis home.

Background: This 1,300-square-foot house, built this year by Paragon Designs, claims to be the first shipping container home in the Twin Cities.

  • The three-bed, two-bath, five-container home sits on a .2 acre corner lot in the Jordan neighborhood.
  • It has all the amenities of a typical build and some extras, including a cute balcony and an unfinished basement.

Of note: It's part of the Minneapolis Homes Program, which helps provide funding for affordable homes and promotes homeownership. Potential buyers must qualify.

Our thoughts: Could the appeal of this industrial look be one of the factors behind the global shipping container shortage?

Check out the full listing here.

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