Proposed redevelopment along Penn Ave N

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In my previous post, I pointed readers to proposed changes along West Broadway.  The city is also planning to designate a redevelopment area along Penn Avenue and several intersecting cross streets.  The plan’s language seems somewhat innocuous in this initial stage, although it’s unclear yet how it could affect the various D2 light rail designs.  What has me worried though, is the language on the final page of the document, which states:

Minnesota Statutes Section 469.002, Subdivision 14 includes in its definition of a redevelopment project “any work or undertaking to acquire blighted areas and other real property for the purpose of removing, preventing, or reducing blight, blighting factors, or the causes of blight.”

A “blighted area” is defined in Minnesota Statutes Section 469.002, Subdivision 11 as “any area with buildings or improvements which, by reason of dilapidation, obsolescence, overcrowding, faulty arrangement or design, lack of ventilation, light, and sanitary facilities, excessive land coverage, deleterious land use, or obsolete layout, or any combination of these or other factors, are detrimental to the safety, health, morals, or welfare of the community.”

The proposed Penn Avenue North Redevelopment Project area is determined to be a blighted area, based on the characteristics described above. Indicators of blight observed in the project area include deteriorated or damaged building elements, underused or vacant land, poorly maintained premises, unoccupied residential properties, evidence of tornado damage, buildings in need of major repair, physically and/or functionally obsolete buildings, and lack of adequate parking for commercial operations.

Redevelopment activities in the project area will remove blight and facilitate the implementation of City land use policies and redevelopment objectives.

What’s so scary about that, you may ask?  Well at least several homes targeted for acquisition under the supposed guise of addressing blight are owner-occupied properties in the midst of doing repair work after the tornado.  The city has identified forty-two properties that they might acquire and/or demolish as part of the plan.  I will post a picture of every single house or parcel designated as a possible acquisition.  Many are in fact in need of either significant rehab or demolition.  We should also look at who owns adjacent properties to the ones proposed, as that could tell us more about the motivations (both good and bad) for acquisition.

For now, here is that list of forty-two, with links to the city’s website for ownership info, with noteworthy items expanded upon:

3229 Penn Avenue North
3215 Penn Avenue North – Vacant land adjacent to Union Liquors, owned by Hennepin County
3205 Penn Avenue North – Vacant land owned by Hennepin County
2904 Queen Avenue North – Vacant land owned by Hennepin County
2934 Queen Avenue North – Vacant property owned by Hennepin County
2958 Queen Avenue North
2954 Queen Avenue North
2607 Penn Avenue North – owner-occupied property
3201 Oliver Avenue North – Vacant land owned by Hennepin County
3222 Penn Avenue North
2718 Penn Avenue North – Vacant land owned by Hennepin County
2720 Penn Avenue North – Vacant land owned by “Landmark REO Club Inc” from Detroit, MI.
2639 Oliver Avenue North – House owned by Mahmood Khan, demolition ordered as of 11/18/2011.
2635 Oliver Avenue North – Vacant building
2634 Penn Avenue North – Property appears to be in late stages of foreclosure.
2640 Penn Avenue North
2627 Oliver Avenue North – Vacant property owned by Hennepin County, order to demolish.
2615 Oliver Avenue North – foreclosure, owned by US Federal Credit Union.
2624 Penn Avenue North – demolition order issued 11/18/2011.
2522 Penn Avenue North – Vacant property owned by Keith Reitman.
2520 Penn Avenue North – Another vacant “Reitman blue” property.
2306 Penn Avenue North – Vacant property owned by Hennepin County.
2110 Penn Avenue North – Vacant property owned by Hennepin County.
2202 Penn Avenue North – Vacant property, apparent foreclosure.
2214 Penn Avenue North – Vacant land owned by Hennepin County.
1900 Penn Avenue North – Vacant building.
2020 Penn Avenue North – Vacant land, privately owned.
2511 Penn Avenue North – Vacant apartment building, believed to be pictured in recent City Pages article.
2341 Penn Avenue North – rental property owned by Keith Reitman.
2335 Penn Avenue North – property owned by Keith Reitman.
2327 Penn Avenue North – property owned by Keith Reitman, demolition ordered on 11/18/2011.
2315 Penn Avenue North

1915 Penn Avenue North – Vacant property owned by Hennepin County.
1911 Penn Avenue North – Vacant property owned by a Joshua Clemons.
2200 Golden Valley Road – Vacant land owned by Hennepin County
2221 Penn Avenue North
2131 Penn Avenue North – Vacant land owned by Alan Kwong.
2101 Penn Avenue North – Vacant land owned by Hennepin County, link states “Conv Pending to City CPED Hcwt Hold for Bottineau”
1906 Queen Avenue North
1819 Queen Avenue North – condemned property owned by Gregge Johnson.
1237 Penn Avenue North

Obviously there are some infamous names on the list and the more we can take properties off some of these slumlords’ hands, the better off we’ll be.  I can’t help but wonder though, if the likes of Reitman, Khan, Kwong, and Johnson will continue to neglect their properties right up until the point where it’s time to squeeze every cent they can out of the city.  And of course I’m worried for the owner-occupants on the list.  A photo tour to see each parcel is forthcoming.

Public comments to the city are due to Tiffany Glasper by January 16, 2012.

(Photos by Jeff Skrenes, map from the city of Minneapolis)