The July issue of the UNN reported that the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) would sell its Lehmann Education Center building at 1006 West Lake Street in order to use the funds for education because it was not a strategic education building.
As the UNN went to press Dominium Development of Plymouth was recommended by the MPS Board as the finalist of ten proposals to purchase the property and was in negotiations for the sale expected to be finalized in February.
Although the building is not currently designated for historic preservation it still qualifies for state and federal historic tax credits. In addition, Dominium hopes to use subsidies from its designated use as low-income housing to convert the building and not raze it.
Although there will be nothing in the sale paperwork that will legally require them to follow through with the rental plan, Dominium’s Managing Partner, Armand Brachman, confirmed that “These are not condos…this (rental housing) is the only thing that makes sense with this property.”
Carina Ruhlandt, Zoning and Planning Chair, Board member for the Lowry HIll East Neighborhood Association (LHENA) and resident is happy about the plans. “We are glad that the historic Lehmann Center will remain intact. There have been several multi-family housing projects proposed in LHENA lately and it is exciting to add some affordable workforce housing to the mix in our neighborhood.”
Local real estate agent, David Azbill, has had a healthy selling record with Coldwell Banker Burnet and lives in the ECCO neighborhood. He confirms that vacancy rates in the city of Minneapolis are running around 3 to 5% and that that is good for the owners of rental buildings. Any higher percentage would start to create a loss for those owners. “The proposal stands a chance of doing well given the rates they’ll be charging as low-income housing.”
Bruce Cochran is Assistant Editor, Art Director and in charge of Production for the Uptown Neighborhood News and lives in CARAG.