Minneapolis rejects landlord’s request to demolish old Dinkytown house

The house is designated as historic, but the owner disagrees.

Mark Freund , the owner of a house located in Dinkytown , which used to be owned by a University of Minnesota sorority, had his proposal to demolish the house and reconstruct a 23-unit apartment building rejected by City Council today. The house on 1013 University Ave. is considered a historic resource by the city because it is located in Greek Letter Chapter Houses historical district in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood. Ward 2 councilmember, Cam Gordon said it is difficult to get approval to tear down a historic property. âÄúOnce you are in a historic district âĦ itâÄôs much harder to tear them down, but itâÄôs not impossible. Typically you have to prove if itâÄôs unsafe, or that there is no reasonable reuse for the property,âÄù Gordon said. The City Council didnâÄôt see the jeopardy in the houseâÄôs safety and consequently upheld the previous decision by the Heritage Preservation Commission to deny the proposal to demolish. Lynn Swon , chairwoman of the Coalition for Non-profit Student Housing, said the city is taking away FreundâÄôs rights to do things that other owners can. Freund argued that the house holds no historic significance other than being located in the same era as the surrounding greek houses. Senior city planner, Aaron Hanauer , said the house has a historic significance. âÄú[It was] found by the city staff and the designation study in 2003,âÄù he said. But Swon said the owners have no right to decide if their property is designated as historic, adding that the city has taken control over the property even though they donâÄôt own it. Freund said that the houseâÄôs rooms have a jail cell-like size and he can only charge $300 a month for rent. But city councilmember, Gary Schiff, said turning the house into an apartment building would not be possible. âÄúThat is where he hurts his argument. He wants a different use and that is not what the law allows,âÄù he said. With the proposal of demolition and reconstruction, Freund said he wanted to attract students and professional populations. âÄúThe population attracted to a room of this rate tends to be criminals and drug dealers,âÄù Freund said.