New condos set for Marcy-Holmes

by Kevin McCahill

Plans are in the works to build a new luxury condominium near St. Anthony Main, but the development company said the new facility will be an asset to students.

Developers, The Wall Companies and Lupe Development Partners, plan to renovate a former warehouse, dubbed “Flour Sack Flats.” They plan to create a 58-unit complex in the 500 block of Second Street. They had a grand opening last week to increase interest in the facility.

The new facility, part of the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, is being built in two phases on the corner of Second and Fifth Avenue. The developers may begin construction as early as this fall, they said.

President of The Wall Companies, John Wall, said he has started to see the St. Anthony Main area as a popular location for buyers.

“We are impressed at how well we are doing in the neighborhood,” he said. “Some have said it’s like the new Uptown.”

Prices for condos will range from $215,000 to upwards of $700,000 – a price that may be out of reach for most students.

Some are concerned that condos might have an effect on rental availability and prices.

“I already pay enough,” said Amanda Goettl, a sociology junior.

She would like to see the University provide more housing at a lower price.

Elementary education junior Breanne Gilman agreed.

“We have nothing but expensive places,” she said. “We need a residential area for campus students.”

The new push for condo development near the University campus might worry some. Minneapolis City Council member Paul Zerby, whose Ward 2 includes the affected area, said he doesn’t think the new building will have a negative effect on students.

He said the new building will instead add housing options for students.

Wall said the condos aren’t built with only students in mind, but will help students with housing options.

“People moving from the Stone Arch apartments into condos are making rooms available,” Wall said. “It’s a win-win situation. It’s removing less desirable buildings and adding more units.”

Wall has decided to put up condos rather than apartments in the area.

“The apartment market is not as strong as the condo market,” he said. “The condo market is hot. People want to buy a place.”

Wall said the buildings already have 10 reservations. Wall plans to design the units as environmentally friendly, using energy efficient materials.

Bill Dane, an attorney with University Student Legal Service, said students need not be concerned about finding a place to rent.

“There is a lot of change going on (in) that neighborhood,” he said. “So far it doesn’t seem to have impact(ed) students as far as available housing.”

Dane said this is likely because developers, like Wall, are building on sites that weren’t rentals before.

Condos would be a concern for students if they were converted from rentals, Dane said, which rarely is happening.

Recent surveys show that of the nearly 9,000 residents in Marcy-Holmes, 7,000 of them are renters, he said.

Adding top-shelf condos could enhance the environment of the neighborhood, Dane said.

“It’s adding a bigger mix,” he said. “It could result in changes in (the) neighborhood that may be desirable.”