Block 11 houses demolished, other owners standing ground

Though demolition has begun on block 11, several properties have refused to sell to the University, delaying construction plans.

Image by Chris Roberts

Though demolition has begun on block 11, several properties have refused to sell to the University, delaying construction plans.

Several houses, a church and a fraternity are the only structures still standing on block 11, and theyâÄôre not selling. The University of Minnesota has purchased about half of the properties on the block and has been demolishing them as they are acquired. The Minnesota Daily reported in December that the University sent letters threatening eminent domain to the remaining houses on the block if they were unwilling to sell. Two months have passed and the only thing that has changed is that the block now looks pretty lonely with dirt and debris where about half of the properties used to be. âÄúA lot of students and families have lived in these houses,âÄù Stadium Village Church pastor Kathleen Macosko said. âÄúThe University has changed the look of the neighborhood, and itâÄôs sad.âÄù The ambulatory care center project, which was supposed to go up on block 12 east of block 11, has been put on hold for financial reasons.

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Jan Morlock, director of University relations , said in the long term, block 11 will likely be another facility related to clinics or biomedical research. Morlock said, since phase one âÄî meaning the ambulatory care center âÄî was pushed back, all other phases are likely to be pushed back as well. She said the University probably wouldnâÄôt start any construction on block 11 until all the properties are acquired. The University has said there is no building being planned for block 11 at this time. Rebekah Lorence lives on Erie Street close to block 11. âÄúI think they really do have a project, I think it will be medical related,âÄù Lorence said. Lorence was not surprised when the University started taking down the properties on the block. âÄúThatâÄôs the way the University works, whether we like it or not, they just donâÄôt care,âÄù she said. Paul and Samantha Poteat are involved with Campus Outreach Minneapolis and own two of the three houses on the block that the ministry uses. Paul Poteat said he was told by the University that the area on block 11 where the houses were demolished would be used as a staging ground for the ambulatory care center. He said he was surprised to see houses going down after hearing about the block 12 project being put on hold. Morlock said in the future there will be need for more projects, especially at that location, given that it is between the future ambulatory care center and the hospital, and the core of the Academic Health Center . âÄúThatâÄôs just a strategic location for more things that are related to clinics and research,âÄù Morlock said. Samantha Poteat said the location is also important for their ministry. âÄúTo be half a block from the dorms has been huge for our ministry,âÄù Poteat said. âÄúBeing here âĦ would be a strategic location for anyone.âÄù Jared Gustafson is the house manager for the dental fraternity, Delta Sigma Delta, which is located on block 11. âÄúThe way that the University has been treating the residents, I just didnâÄôt like the way they approached things,âÄù Gustafson said. âÄúThereâÄôs a way to get things done, and sending threatening letters didnâÄôt help.âÄù Unlike the houses on the block, Stadium Village Church has not received threatening letters, but rather queries to see if the church would be willing to sell. Macoskow said the UniversityâÄôs real estate office has been pressuring the church to get an appraisal. âÄúTheir office is much more aggressive than other departments; they just want the real estate,âÄù Macoskow said. She said instead of looking to sell, the church is actually looking to expand. Mocoskow said the church serves a lot of international students by offering English as a second language classes. âÄúThey’d be crazy to have us move because we are doing things that they really can’t do for the international students,âÄù she said.