Live Coverage: Concern at 36th and Bryant

Here’s a lightly edited tweet transcript from last night’s meeting of the East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association. Residents were presented with plans for a 41-unit apartment building adjacent to the famous pit at 36th and Bryant.

Live from the East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood.

Developer says the goal is to provide “accessible” rents. What’s meant by accessible? “More attainable” but still market rate. Lower rents than what you find in most new construction nearby. Calls this a micro-apartment project. Some audience grumbling about the micro-apartment aspect.

Developer’s feel good pitch:

  • “We’re attracted to the neighborhood for similar reasons that you guys were… A lot of people like to be in great neighborhoods.”
  • “We buy in great neighborhoods and hold long term.”
  • “We want residents of our buildings to be great neighbors.”


  • 40 or 41 units/20 parking stalls
  • Sizes from 450-700 sq ft.
  • Goal for rents is to start at $1,000

“You said 20 parking spaces? Do renters have to pay for those spaces?” Yes, they do. “So they’ll end up on the street.”

Guy having trouble hearing, repeats same question. “How many parking spaces?”

Someone suggest the architect is speaking with “hostility and contempt” for people in the room. (I didn’t notice hostility, but I have seen this guy abused at so many neighborhood meetings that I would not blame him.)

Person having trouble imagining a driver-less apartment: “Do you think 20 people are gonna get rid of their cars before they move in?”

To deflect parking concerns, the developer cites the Lyndy project in Whittier, which has 75 parking spaces for 100 units. He says their parking is only half full.

Glad we’re doing this at a hospital because we’re gonna set a record for Fred Sanford style heart attacks.

— Wedge LIVE! (@WedgeLIVE) May 3, 2018

The developer would like to start construction in August, lasting 10 months.

The alley is very dangerous, says lady. Suggests to developer, “You should drive up it.”

Lady talking about the new 4plex across the street. “The day they moved in, there was traffic problems.” And, “There’s beer cans everywhere… They’re single people.”

Another person chimes in: “They’re letting their animals defecate on their deck.”

Lady: “Because they’re young white males they’re getting away with it.”

And, “There’s something about families with kids, they care about the neighborhood.”

Developer: “Are you saying people who rent are not as respectful as people who own?”

Response: “No, I’m a renter.” She doesn’t like that it’s “catering to a certain kind of up and coming young urban person.”

Staff from Ward 10 office says this project has been approved by the planning commission and without an appeal it goes forward. There’s no need for City Council committee approval. The deadline for appeal is today. Analysis: I have been wondering what the point of this meeting was.

Tina from Ward 10 office: “Council member Bender really supports this project.” Cites need for more housing in Minneapolis, proximity to transit, other amenities.

Ron Harris, also from Ward 10 office: “small scale development more amenable to the folks that live here.” Parking reform has made this possible.

Getting feisty in here. Neighborhood org president stepping in to try and let some other people speak, besides this one person.

I think this meeting was an especially bad idea. Meetings that take place after planning commission approval give people the misimpression that something was just shoved down their throat. The time for input was last month.

Lady says deliveries from Amazon are causing traffic problems.

What about snow removal? Developer: “The building will be professionally managed.”

I’m waiting for a question about garbage. Renters produce a lot of garbage. Think of the dumpsters! On cue, a question about the size of the trash area.

What’s gonna happen to the bus routes during construction? Answer: No impact.

Guy validates himself to the room as a homeowner, then asks “How many bike parking spaces?” Answer: 41. He says the proposal “fits the neighborhood.” It matches the scale of nearby apartments. He reminds us that climate change is a thing. This guy is monologuing.

[VIDEO: Highlight from April 23, when this project was approved by the Planning Commission.]

Woman asks, “Do leases specify that it’s just one person per unit?” Developer says federal fair housing laws make it illegal to prevent couples from living together in a 1 bedroom apartment.

People have concerns about all the humans and animals you might conceivably cram into an apartment:

  • “You could have 2 or 3 people in there.”
  • “Are you doing DNA testing on those pets?”
  • Guy says renters may have friends and parents. Where will they park?
Renters, do you have friends?

— Wedge LIVE! (@WedgeLIVE) May 3, 2018

Exceptional quotes from the evening’s most concerned resident:

  • Doing a spiel that the developers are great guys with families who are good at business and the real problem is “this Lisa Bender.”
  • “Lisa Bender wants me to take mass transit? Fine! I called an Uber.” It was going to cost $15 with surge pricing. So she walked to make Lisa Bender happy. “That’s what Lisa Bender wants.”
  • “The livability sucks nowadays. If you think I’m gonna take a bike to Target, forget it, it’s impossible. Guess what? We have cars. I’m upset about this.”
  • “The spot right next to you will be the next spot. Same damn fucking thing!”

I appreciate the comment from Tina, suggesting people imagine there are others who live differently than they do.

Remarkable moment here. Lady who was very strenuously opposed at the beginning of the meeting, announces she’s supporting it because she’s disgusted with the people in this room. She was upset that the sentiment seemed to be about excluding different kinds of people from the neighborhood. She made reference to how white the room was, and left the meeting.

This meeting should have been televised.

Architect says there will be less water runoff from this building than there is currently. City regulations have gotten more stringent recently — a lot more “friendly to our waters,” says architect.

Lady asks if developer guy from San Francisco is connected to Lisa Bender, who once upon a time lived in San Francisco, where she worked as a planner. He assures us this is just a geographical coincidence.

Lady worried about the coming extinction of single-family homes. “You gotta think about the future!”

Older guy who expressed concerns about parking earlier in the meeting: “I’m back to this parking again. You got 41 units, 20 parking spaces.” Maybe they take the bus during the week but “What do they do on the weekends. Where do they put that car during the week?”

He continues: “I got another complaint. Wanna hear it?” People say they do.

Woman has a bottom line for us: “These buildings are gonna decrease the value of our homes.” She’s certain there are people sitting here right now taking a big financial hit. (So, I’m skeptical but if true, hooray for affordability.)

Back to trash concerns. It’s gonna swallow up one of the parking spots, predicts neighbor.

Really, really old guy who you would not expect to support this: “This is a big win for Minneapolis taxpayers, because these people are gonna pay a shitload of money [in property taxes].”

Lady asks if developer will take advantage of city’s new program to help landlords receive tax breaks to keep rents affordable. Answer: “I don’t know off the top of my head what those rent levels are [to be eligible]. If we’re allowed to, yes.”

Meeting done. Here’s the dangerous alley. I survived.

— Wedge LIVE! (@WedgeLIVE) May 3, 2018

Support our live coverage of neighborhood meetings by subscribing on Patreon!