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Identity Dinkytown apartments leave UMN students scrambling for housing options amid building delays

After paying first month’s rent, tenants were told options include gift cards, hotel accommodations or find housing on their own.
Image by Justine Vance
Identity announced its apartments will not be finished by the expected fall move-in date for students in the Dinkytown neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minn., on Wednesday, August 2, 2023.

University of Minnesota students are facing limited options after a Dinkytown luxury apartment announced construction delays. Now they have to find housing fast.

The Identity Dinkytown apartment complex told tenants Wednesday in an email obtained by the Hubbard Reporting Experience that they “cannot provide a projected move-in date.” Tenants were supposed to move in on either Aug. 27 or Aug. 31, depending on their lease. The email also said tenants will be made aware of “construction milestones” and when they will be able to move in. 

“We know you are probably disappointed, and we are, too,” Identity said in their email to tenants. “We want your experience with Identity Dinkytown to be perfect, and this isn’t how we wanted to start our exciting journey as a community.” 

Building managers offered tenants two options: find alternate housing on their own and receive a $150 gift card for each day until the new move in date or receive hotel accommodations near the University from Identity Dinkytown along with an $80 gift card per day. 

Tenants are given until Aug. 7 at 5 p.m. to pick their option. If tenants do not choose by the designated deadline, they will be enrolled in the first option. Tenants are unable to change their decision after the deadline.

CA Management Services, which owns Identity Dinkytown, said in an email statement that they’re “terribly disappointed by the current circumstances of our delayed move-in” and that the construction team is “working tirelessly and are doing everything they can to complete the remainder of the building as soon as possible.”

“Though construction began on our property May 2021, our partners ran into unforeseen and unavoidable delays which have impacted the delivery schedule of the building,” the statement said. “Our team is working with both the development group and the general contractor to provide regular updates as we receive them to residents via email.” 

The building has been leased by 573 individuals. Amenities in the Identity Dinkytown include a sauna, tanning beds, a golf simulator, a courtyard with a hot tub, a rock climbing wall and study spaces, and several others. 

Students, like upcoming junior Mattea Jacobson and her boyfriend, have been left in the dark and questioning what their future housing situation will look like. 

“The Identity has left us with unanswered questions, limited options, and lots of uncertainty regarding our living arrangements,” Jacobson said.

Lisa Buck, a parent of a University student who signed a lease at Identity Dinkytown, said she’s frustrated by the lack of communication between property management and building tenants. 

“I don’t think if these were commercial tenants, like companies, that there would be this lack of information,” Buck said. “These are students, who, like in my daughter’s case, are not super savvy with the rental process.”

For Buck’s daughter, finding housing accommodations was not an issue because she lives an hour away from the University. 

“They take everyone’s rent on August 1 and then on August 2 they tell you ‘oh you know what you’re not going to be able to move in on time,’” Buck said. “It’s a huge headache; why are we finding this out now at the 11th hour?”

However, some students expressed gratitude for the help they have received from some employees at Identity. 

Liz Hockin, a former UMN student, moved out of Minnesota and found someone to sublease her spot at Identity. 

“The manager has been so helpful and more than accommodating with helping me find a sublease and work with me to find a solution,” Hockin said.

The University of Minnesota Student Legal Services posted on Instagram Thursday afternoon looking for students who have been impacted by the delay and asked for them to reach out.  

This story was written as part of the Hubbard Reporting Experience through the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Visit their website here.

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