Fraternity may be forced to move

A developer’s plan to build new apartments may move a fraternity.

John Hageman

A fraternity chapter affiliated with the University of Minnesota may be forced to find a new home.

The owner of the building that houses Delta Upsilon fraternity, located on Fourth Street near the University , is looking to replace it with a high-density apartment complex within the next few years.

Andy Kahn, president of the fraternityâÄôs alumni house corporation, said they have known about the plans for a couple years. He added that because Lupe Development Partners LLC has been âÄúvery openâÄù with them, they donâÄôt feel like theyâÄôre being kicked out of the house.

âÄúItâÄôs a business,âÄù Kahn said. âÄúAnd we understand that.âÄù

Kahn said the fraternityâÄôs lease ends in August 2013, but Lupe has the right to terminate the lease with a yearâÄôs notice. He added that the fraternity will spend the next year looking for a new home.

Domingo Coto, the president of the fraternity, said many of the current members donâÄôt know about their landlordâÄôs plans. He added that the property owners will have a meeting with the members in two weeks.

Lupe, which has owned the house since 1989, developed plans to build an apartment complex on the site. Those plans were approved by the Minneapolis City Planning Commission on Monday, but city staff must review the plan before building permits can be issued.

The complex will consist of two buildings with 40 bedrooms total, according to the projectâÄôs site plans. The current building has 16 bedrooms.

Steve Minn, vice president of Lupe,  said thereâÄôs a growing trend towards high-density apartments like those sprouting up near the University.

âÄúWe would be remiss if we didnâÄôt acknowledge that and look at our portfolio and look at properties that might be used in a better way,âÄù Minn said. âÄúWe were pretty convinced that a

fraternity use on that parcel might not be the highest and best use.âÄù

Lupe also owns several apartment buildings across Minneapolis, including Marcy Park and Stone Arch apartments near the University. 

Minn added that the timing for the application is âÄúexploratory so that both parties know what the future might hold.âÄù

Senior city planner Jim Voll  said the permit Lupe is seeking allows it to build on the site, but it must go through another administrative process in order to demolish the 60-year-old building.

Chad Ellsworth, program director for the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life, said the majority of greek houses are owned by alumni corporations rather than property owners like Lupe. The alumni corporation typically acts like a renter to the fraternity that currently lives in the house.

About five years after Delta Upsilon disbanded in the 1980s, it was reorganized. The fraternity has moved several times into bigger houses since then, Kahn said.

âÄú[Moving] is nothing new for us,âÄù Kahn said.