Sixty-four units of affordable “workforce” housing are coming to the Whittier neighborhood. This is good for Whittier, and Minneapolis as a whole, which has a need for affordable housing. The project will have plenty of parking, which is disappointing, but not surprising (I once made a bold prediction that we hadn’t seen the end of off-street parking in Minneapolis).
You might think Whittier–with over half of households cost burdened, a third living in poverty, and a quarter without cars–would be a logical place to make your affordable housing more affordable by building less parking. But in this case, the developer anticipates a building occupied by car owners, which means giving residents a place to store them. So much for the aparkolypse. Rest easy Chicken Littles, the sky isn’t falling nearly fast enough.
More surprising than the persistence of parking are comments directed at the developer from official representatives of the Whittier Alliance:
“I think you’re underestimating the neighborhood in terms of design, character and cost,” [Executive Director] Biehn said.
[Board Chair] Christ requested larger units. She said families are desperate to find larger apartments in the neighborhood. She also suggested that the neighborhood could handle higher-priced rents.
Neighborhood associations like the Whittier Alliance are city-funded, and ostensibly tasked with advocating on behalf of neighborhood residents. In Whittier, that would mean advocating for the 83 percent of residents who are renters, most of whom already spend too much of their income on housing. But the Whittier Alliance doesn’t even pretend to do that; they come right out and ask for higher rents. Six months after implementing radically restrictive rules that exclude renters, the Whittier Alliance is still doing a terrible job representing neighborhood residents.
“We’re trying to build reasonably-priced housing.” N’hood org: “What about EV charging stations and a rooftop deck?” pic.twitter.com/EKTwOJLmmx
— Anton (@anton612) July 23, 2015