PPL (Project for Pride in Living) decided it was not economically feasible to convert the Bunge “head house” tower, just north of Dinkytown, into housing in its plans to redevelop the complex into rental and owner housing. PPL is a nonprofit organization. It assists lower-income people and families.
PPL made other changes in the plan, including a loss of townhouses, Joan Menken, Southeast Como Improvement Association board member, said. Menken said she and Connie Sullivan at a PPL meeting raised issues about changes in design, price range, and amenities. Menken said she wanted “something the neighborhood could say, ‘This looks great.’” Instead, “We sent them back to the drawing boards,” she said.
Menken said PPL is still in the process of purchasing the site. She warned that a potential buyer would be JPI, a national developer of student housing projects. It built Jefferson Commons in Minneapolis, and recently was awarded rezoning in St. Paul for an industrial site behind the KSTP building off University Avenue. Sullivan urged board members to be active in negotiations with PPL.
The neighborhood has been looking for an alternative use for the Bunge tower for years. It has been a popular gathering spot for young partiers, and earlier this year a woman fell to her death while exploring the structure.