While Minneapolis developers are marketing new luxury apartments with indoor swimming pools and tanning domes to young renters, a group of University of Minnesota students are fighting the high-end student housing trend, saying it threatens affordable housing and historic preservation efforts.
KARE 11 reports that last week a group of U of M students held a town hall meeting to discuss the impact of new luxury housing projects on the neighborhood, including projects that threaten to close existing businesses. Nearly 800 students have signed a petition asking city officials to “strongly evaluate the need for more luxury apartments in Dinkytown and Stadium Village.” They’ll turn the petition over to Minneapolis City Council Member Jacob Frey, who has said he would support the development of more affordable student housing.
The petition reads:
“New developments have noticeably changed our beloved neighborhoods in such a short amount of time. … Unfortunately, these new developments are prone to being increasingly unaffordable, in addition to negatively impacting the landscape of small, locally owned businesses that collectively contribute to the unique charm of our community.
Most recently, a 27-story apartment complex aimed at non-student residents began construction in Stadium Village and contributed to the closing of successful local businesses like Village Wok, Bun Mi, Espresso Expose, Big 10 Restaurant and others. As we continue to see small businesses removed to build student housing and bring in chain restaurants, we worry that the culture and history of these areas may be lost forever.
We encourage decision-makers in the community to consider whether there is real, measurable demand for new luxury housing proposals. More so, we ask those considering luxury housing developments and future proposals to prioritize locally owned and historic neighborhood businesses, which help our community thrive.”
A growing number of cities have seen luxury student housing change the fabric of their neighborhoods and drive up the cost of living, as explored in this Next City feature on San Marcos, Texas.
Jen Kinney is a freelance writer and documentary photographer. Her work has also appeared in Philadelphia Magazine, High Country News online, and the Anchorage Press. She is currently a student of radio production at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies. See her work at jakinney.com.