Uptown living often worth the increased expense

Shira Kantor

Erin Lundeen, a University theater major, moved to Uptown at the beginning of August after a year of living in Dinnaken House on Washington Avenue.

The search took Lundeen and her roommates several months and landed them farther from campus than they’d hoped, but Lundeen said they are happy with their three-bedroom find.

She said it’s bigger than apartments they looked at near campus, and the rent is comparable.

“All of us sort of like to be away from the campus life,” Lundeen said. “We’re not very interested in the party aspect of campus.”

Lundeen added the neighborhood is safe, and “it’s within walking distance of everything, the buses are a block away.”

The area, flanked by highways 394 and 94, Nicollet Avenue, 36th Street West and St. Louis Park, offers a diverse mix of people, entertainment, housing and commerce.

But those luxuries come at a price. Known as one of the most expensive areas in which to live, Uptown neighborhoods host apartments with an average rent of $559 per month for a studio, $675 per month for a one-bedroom, $900 for a two-bedroom and $1,400 for a three-bedroom, said Vicki Wilken, manager of Spectrum Apartment Search.

“There are places for a lot lower and a lot higher,” Wilken said. “It’s a pretty broad range.”

Wilken said the last few years have seen a tremendous increase in area rent – between 2 percent and 4 percent every year. But this year, she said, rent has stabilized.

Wilken attributes the stagnating rent rates to the decrease in turnover. “It seems like our traffic has dropped as far as the number of people looking,” she said. “We may have had a peak.”

Additionally, Wilken said, the vacancy rate has risen.

“Last year at this time we had no vacancies for a two-bedroom. This year we do,” she said. “With the vacancy rate going up a bit, it’s become more of a renter’s market.”

Lundeen said finding a place in Uptown wasn’t hard. She found signs advertising apartment openings posted on several blocks.

Metro Transit spokeswoman Maria Cone said in addition to the regular city bus line connecting the Uptown neighborhoods to other parts of the Twin Cities, two express lines run between Uptown and the University – the 52L and the 52C.

City Council Member Lisa Goodman, whose ward includes part of Uptown, agreed the proximity to services and transportation in the area makes real estate there desirable.

“The big bonus of living in the Uptown area is not needing a car,” Goodman said, noting the public transportation system.

“If I were a student,” she added, “I would rather live in a location like Uptown with several roommates, than live alone in a location that wasn’t as ideal.”


Shira Kantor encourages comments at [email protected]