REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK | Foreclose or demolish in North Minneapolis?


The Story:The high rate of foreclosures in north Minneapolis has sparked debate about whether to preserve vacant historic homes that have fallen into disrepair or to demolish those homes and create more opportunities for low-income housing.

What’s at stake:

Advocates of demolition say that many properties would be too costly to repair. Copper wiring and appliances are frequently stolen from vacant foreclosed homes, many of which become drug and prostitution houses. Demolition advocates say that this could be an opportunity to create safer, more affordable housing in the area, while reducing crime.

Opponents of demolition argue that the community should think about the long-term consequences of destroying historic homes. Vacant lots also create problems, opponents argue, and there’s no guarantee that sufficient funding for low-income housing will become available. Demolition could also be an opportunity for investors to attempt to gentrify the neighborhood, some community members say.

What do we know so far?

From 2007 to 2008, the number of demolitions in north Minneapolis increased by over 60 percent. At the same time, north Minneapolis-area property rehabilitations increased by almost 200 percent.

More than half of all the city’s vacant properties are located in north Minneapolis.

[Here are links to a video on showing a demolition of a north Minneapolis building last year and an article. Watch and read for thoughtful presentations of the pro-demolition argument.

How can citizens respond/participate?

Are you a north Minneapolis resident? What do you think about the demolition versus preservation argument? Even if you don’t live in north Minneapolis, what are your views? Let us know your perspective! Questions? Email: