CPM development displaces residents

Some were told a few weeks ago that they had to leave by July for construction to begin this summer.

by Kia Farhang

A few years ago, Ardes Johnson was walking to campus on 15th Avenue Southeast when a skateboarder passed her, turned around, and asked if she wanted a ride.

“That’s why I live here,” Ardes said.  “I love Dinkytown. I’m very sad to leave.”

Johnson, a University of Minnesota alumna, decided to sell her townhouse to CPM Property Management, making way for a new apartment complex across from the University’s Gibson-Nagurski Football Practice Facility.

“It was hard to say, ‘Okay, for the right price, I’ll give in,’” Johnson said. “That’s what it amounted to.”

CPM president Daniel Oberpriller presented plans for the complex to the Minneapolis City Planning Commission committee and the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association’s board of directors this week. Construction is slated to begin this summer.

Psychology senior Max Zimbel said one of his roommates got a call May 8 letting her know they had 60 days to vacate their house so construction could begin on the apartment.

“They only spoke to her,” Zimbel said, and the other tenants didn’t receive letters or phone calls. He is currently working with University Legal Services to negotiate an end to his lease with his landlord.

The complex is one of many new, high-density developments that have sprung up in recent years, replacing smaller, traditional housing in the area around the University campus. It will be six stories tall, with 202 units, taking up most of the block.

“Higher density makes sense,” Oberpriller said, “but it has to be treated in a specific way.”

This type of development fits in with the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association’s 15th Avenue Southeast Urban Design Plan, which aims to improve the area as an entrance to the neighborhood.

“New, higher density housing along the edge of the neighborhood,” the plan says, “can help stabilize the core.”

Johnson said the east side of Marcy-Holmes is “pretty much a monoculture” in terms of housing — most complexes are designed for undergraduate students.

“It’s so sad,” she said. “We need more diversity in the population in this area.”

For more on this development and its impact on students, pick up Wednesday’s Daily.