Editorial: New housing development plans need regulation

by Daily Editorial Board

A new apartment complex means more housing opportunities for the people of Minneapolis and, specifically, University of Minnesota students. The student body claims a large part of northeast Minneapolis with over 50,000 students enrolled in the University. Although the University boasts a great community throughout Stadium Village, Dinkytown, Marcy-Holmes and several other neighborhoods, this makes housing opportunities limited and, thus, expensive. With about one in four Minnesota families spending 30 percent of their income on housing costs, according to a recent report by Minnesota Housing Partnership, hopefully a new Marcy-Holmes development project can bring affordable housing for students and residents alike.

Several buildings are being pitched by CSM Corporation and Doran Companies, including a 25-story high-rise apartment along University Avenue. This complex is being toted with a variety of amenities. The new apartment building could be a great place for students to look for housing, being an alternative to popular apartment complexes and living spaces, such as, FloCo, The Bridges and many apartments and houses surrounding Dinkytown.  Unfortunately, this project is aiming to be a higher-end living option, according to Minnesota Daily reporting. With already limited living options with lower price tags presented to students, cheaper living options would certainly be a welcomed addition by students looking beyond the dormitories, or, simply for a change from their current housing.

The Minnesota Student Association, as per their overall goal for more affordable housing, has been working with the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association to accomplish this goal. Having new housing developments, especially a development as large as the current proposal, reserved for affordable housing, would offer significant assistance to not only students, but the community at large. This issue is not just one involving many students living on campus, but a problem confronting the residents of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Many Minneapolis mayoral candidates list affordable housing as one of their top priorities once elected.  With not enough space and higher-end apartments being approved and built, this predicament will not cease to exist.

There are also several problems surrounding the developmental plans.  As of right now, the plan is not approved. A presentation on Oct. 2 to the Heritage Preservation Commission stands between the plans and execution. Currently, the MHNA is against a building of that magnitude, which would be the tallest in the area, and are skeptical on the location, along University Avenue.Studies show there is a trade off in the density of a community and the pricing of housing. Buildings that exceed a certain height end up costing more.  Guaranteeing that a certain proportion of the new complex be designated as affordable would help address these concerns and add a considerable amount of affordable housing to the market.

We applaud MSA’s effort while trying to represent University students in surrounding neighborhoods and believe that an attempt to regulate housing costs is a must. MSA is currently negotiating for 15 to 20 percent of prospective apartment units to be designated for affordable housing, making them readily available for students to occupy. Disregarding tuition, housing is one of the biggest costs facing University of Minnesota students. The University playing a more robust role in the regulation of apartment pricing will not only help students attend school, but help with many other monetary related issues, leading to a healthier student body and more guaranteed affordable housing overall.