Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Stay Of Execution At 2939 Lyndale Ave. N.

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

It happened a month ago, but I promised to write about it and so here's the promised info: The duplex at 2939 Lyndale Ave. N. came up for consideration in front of the board of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association. CPED was thinking of acquiring the property for demolition even though...

...like a handful of properties that have been demolished in North Minneapolis, it's a solid structure and deserves to be saved. (The vast majority of houses torn down in North Minneapolis NEEDED to be torn down)

The issue came before Hawthorne: what should CPED do? Acquire the house to tear it down? Or let it go on the open market?

The house in question has seen better times, but it has amazing features inside like many of the houses in North Minneapolis hitting the market at substantial discounts. I wrote a blog post once about suspected drug dealing which was taking place right in front of the house and (without blogging about it) I personally made several 311 calls on the property. The house in question is notable because massive amounts of ivy have taken over one side of the building, a situation way beyond merely decorative. However, the house is right at the border of the Eco-Village, where massive amounts of money have been spent to turn around four tough blocks. Wasn't the whole idea to promote a ripple effect on the area nearby?

At the full board, there was a tie vote: 4 to 4 over whether to recommend demolition to CPED. The chair could have broken the vote but elected to let it stand as it was. And so--because CPED does tend to give these recommendations some weight--it would appear the house is saved from demolition.

This is, of course, not the end of the matter. Something will happen with that house. If a slumlord thinks they're going to turn that house into a disgusting fleabag hovel for no-accounts, (as some in favor of demolition have fearfully expressed) well, be advised: this house is under the special watchful eye of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association and a small but powerful collection of bloggers.


Kevin said...

First, the vote at the Board meeting was 4 to 4, not 8 to 8.

You state: “it's a solid structure and deserves to be saved”. According to the CPED report I saw at the Hawthorne Housing meeting, there is rot in the subfloor and support system (support beams). That’s a pretty big deal when in comes to renovations. If you have some new info not presented at the Housing meeting, I would love to see it or better yet, post it here. If you don’t, I really don’t know how you can state this is a solid structure.

You also state:” but it has amazing features inside”. Could you please list these features or better yet post photos. The only interior photos we saw at the Hawthorne Housing meeting were photos of the water meter, the furnace with all the copper missing, a photo of some distressed wood floors and I believe a wooden banister. Are these the “amazing features” you’re referring to? Check out any salvage place and you’ll see tons of this stuff for sale. Again, if you have documentation of other “amazing features”, please post them. I’m all for saving structures with significant interior or exterior features, but not every old house has these and I’ve seen no evidence this structure has anything that out of the ordinary (if even that).

Finally, the CPED estimated cost of simply bringing this building up to code, minimal cosmetic work, and lead abatement was $229-245 thousand. I realize individuals in our neighborhood have contested this figure, but I have yet to see any documentation these CPED estimated costs are completely out of line. Our non profit partner PPL took a look at this place and they passed because they simply could not justify the cost of rehab. Who is going to put that kind of rehab money into this place?

Again, if you have some information we have not seen, please post it.

Forgot to say, the ivy your referring to isn’t the nice, green Boston Ivy seen mainly on brick structures in climates a bit warmer than ours. It’s most likely a very invasive weed-vine called Virginia Creeper. Once you have this stuff it’s very difficult to get rid of. If you want to grow it on the side of your house, make sure you have a brick or stucco exterior because it has a habit of rotting wood siding and creeping under aluminum or vinyl siding. It looks kind of pretty, but it’s really nasty stuff.

Johnny Northside! said...


You are correct. It was 8 total votes, not 8 to 8. It was 4 to 4. I have corrected the post accordingly. Sorry about the error.

The wooden floors I saw looked great, not distressed, and the stairs looked great, too.

As for CPED's estimates, I'm sorry to say their repair estimates are rapidly gaining a reputation for being notoriously through-the-roof and utterly unrealistic.

I continue to assert this house deserves to be saved. But, of course, I don't have the market cornered on truth and I am glad for you making your points, especially since I got the vote totals wrong.

Johnny Northside! said...

I received the following comment:

Nice one. Keep it up.
The comment is from a spam profile promoting a particular type of tile, therefore I will not publish it with the profile and I have reported it as spam.

Johnny Northside! said...

I received the following comment from a poster using a name often used by a known troll.

Hey John,

Thanks for reporting that as spam. Gotta keep these places clean.
I will post the comment but like I've told that troll before: I won't publish your comments under that name. If you insist on using that name, you won't get published at all.