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The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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Million-dollar potential

Land around the University that is available for new buildings is scarce.

The vacant Bunge grain elevator in the Southeast Como neighborhood will soon be getting a much-needed face-lift. An area nonprofit housing company, Project for Pride in Living, plans to purchase the building next year and build condominiums on the site. However, it should consider instead building housing that would be a more reasonable option for students at the University.

The condominiums that Project for Pride in Living plans to build on the Bunge grain elevator site have prices from $100,000 to $1 million. In a neighborhood so connected to students and the University, it should consider apartments instead.

According to the 2001 census conducted by the city of Minneapolis, the Southeast Como neighborhood is composed largely of renter-occupied units. In fact, out of a total of almost 2,300 units, 1,500 of them are rented. Also, out of about 5,600 residents, 3,400 are between the ages of 20 and 34.

The potential demand for renting apartments instead of selling extremely expensive condominiums is so great that it is hard to believe the plan proposed for the site. It is difficult for many students to find affordable and reliable housing from year to year, and a new apartment complex in an area with an already large student population would be an easy sell.

Project for Pride in Living needs to look only at the success of the 1301 University apartment complex that finished construction this year. The entire building was filled within the first months of accepting applications, even though the students couldn’t see the apartments because it was still under construction. Floor plans and prices available online and the promise of a new building brings renters who are eager to live in a building in which they won’t have to worry about maintenance.

Land around the University available for new buildings is scarce. The site of the abandoned Bunge grain elevator is a prime space with a lot of potential. No million-dollar condominiums needed here.

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