Friday, March 20, 2009
The "Lost Victorian" At 3216 3rd Ave. S.
Photos By Connie Nompelis
There was an alarming and sudden demolition of an old Victorian house in South Minneapolis, and though it may be a case of "mission creep" for this North Minneapolis blog to report on the matter, I am concerned that what happens in South may not remain in South, but could become a pattern in North.
Connie Nompelis (pronounced NO-bliss) forwarded me these pictures, and a firsthand account from a neighbor, David Piehl, as follows:
Imagine my surprise, yesterday evening, when I drove down 3rd Avenue and found 3216 to be completely gone...
...except the front porch base, a hole in the ground, and a backhoe near the alley.
This property is not on the most recently published 249 list at all, and certainly had not been approved for demolition by CPED or CANDO. Nobody in the neighborhood, as far as I can tell, received ANY notice of a potential demolition for this property. The house itself was attractive on the exterior with the exception of some bad updates on the rear that have been there (for longer than 16 years).
I've since learned that GMHC at some point purchased the house, and according to city records applied for a demolition permit on March 12, 2009. GMHC did not make any notification to the neighborhood at all.
In the 1990s, the neighborhood group asked GMHC to develop certain lots, and the block clubs as well as the housing committee had input not only into site selection, but also design of the new construction from a list of options provided by GMHC. I am appalled that GMHC circumvented the neighborhood altogether, particularly since they are relying on OUR tax dollars to do so!
Central Neighborhood's resident-approved plans call for renovation of older homes and NO demolition unless absolutely necessary. So, while a burned-out home on the 3100 block of Columbus Ave. languishes, 3216 3rd falls to teh backhoe with no notification whatsoever. This demolition flies in the face of the city's efforts to drastically reduce demolitions, demolishing only where necessary...not just because it is cheaper to demolish than fix the existing construction.
This has to stop. So far the private market has been addressing most of the foreclosed homes in Central; GMHC should only be called in to deal with properties that the private market leaves behind, thereby spending scarce tax revenue only where most needed.
Please support a moratorium on GMHC demolition permits until notification processes and standards can be worked out. As far as the vacant lot that was created, I hope we do not have to endure the construction of another GMHC "Milk Carton." The privately developed new construction on this same block (2nd Ave. side) is the model that should be followed, whether or not it is privately developed.
Yesterday, 3216 3rd Ave. S. was hauled to a landfill. By the looks of what was left in the hole, not even the hot water registers were salvaged.
(JNS says: clearly, no attempt to salvage bricks, either)
Remember that the greenest housing is what's already here. The demolition of 3216 is a slap in the face to the block club, the neighborhood group, the city, preservationists, and the green movement. Please address this with all due expediency.
(Piehl's communication was sent to the following city officials: Elizabeth A. Glidden, Council Member Gary Schiff, Robert Lilligren, and Lisa Goodman)