It was the Hillside Chronicles blog which gave 1611 Hillside Ave. N. its nickname:
Turns out the name was eerily prescient, because this morning it caught fire and burned...
KARE-11 and Star Tribune are reporting up to two dozen people, all related, have been displaced by the blaze. The reaction of the general public--both in the neighborhood and in reader comments on news stories--can be summarized as follows:
TWO DOZEN PEOPLE IN ONE DUPLEX? ARE YOU KIDDING?!
Hillside Chronicles reported the fire before any other media source, blogging at 1:55 AM and reporting emergency vehicles converging on the scene. But long before today's fire, Hillside Chronicles documented the problems associated with this specific address. To be perfectly fair, "Hillside Hotspot" was a term used to cover an area bigger than 1611 Hillside, but that specific address was considered the "epicenter" of the problem. Over and over, Hillside Chronicles documented frustrated neighbors and problems associated with the "Hotspot," but who was listening?
April 27, 2010, first mention is made of frustrated neighbors and the area is dubbed the "Hillside Hotspot." Yes, and this "naming ceremony" is what focused the random energy of the universe like sunlight in a magnifying glass and eventually caused that building to burst into flames. Good thing it wasn't dubbed the "1611 Ticking Time Bomb."
May of that same year. The Hotspot actually seems to cool off. This sometimes happens when a problem is aired in public. Word gets around and thugs get "put on notice" they are being watched. They cool it for a while. But it doesn't last forever, because that would require good citizenship and self-control.
July 4, 2010, and as you would expect on the Fourth of July, the Hotspot was heating up again. One resident, quoted therein, says 911 was being called almost every night.
July 11, 2010. A burglary in the "Hotspot." Word is a lot of stuff was happening around the Hotspot in 2011, but Hillside Chronicles didn't always have time to write.
December 16 of last month, government vehicles show up apparently trying to serve a warrant. A couple weeks later, while looking over the jail roster, Johnny Northside (that's THIS blogger) turned up jail roster information about William Donnell Alexander, who declared 1611 Hillside Ave. N. as his address. Alexander has quite a history of (alleged) forgery activities, and apparently hails from Mississippi. How refreshing. Turns out thugs make their way to our neighborhood from somewhere besides CHICAGO.
So the question obviously arises: Who is the owner responsible for this rental housing travesty at 1611 Hillside Ave. N.? Well, the owner and taxpayer is an entity called Assertive Mpls Properties, LLC, listed at the very same address. This house has had ten owners since 1997 according to online city property records, including (my personal favorite) "Lucky Maintenance, Inc."
Here, insert the obvious joke. You'll be LUCKY if you get MAINTENANCE.
But back to Assertive Mpls Properties, LLC.
Confusingly, an entity with this name appears TWICE on the Minnesota Secretary of State's website, but is clearly the same entity. There are three addresses associated with this entity, none of which are 1611 Hillside Ave. N. (Which begs the obvious question as to why the City of Minneapolis would accept 1611 Hillside Ave. N. as the address of Assertive Mpls Properties, LLC when it's NOT the address of this entity with its corporate filings?)
The addresses are as follows:
* 8400 Normandale Lake Blvd #920, Bloomington.
* PO Box 44244, Eden Prairie
* 80 South 8th St., #900, Minneapolis. A manager is listed at that address, one Robert Van Hout.
There is also an entity called Assertive Mpls-CRE Properties, LLC, which lists the same address on 80 South 8th St., #900. An entity called Assertive MN Properties, LLC also lists that address. What a fascinating corporate shell game.
The Star Tribune mentions Assertive Mpls Properties, Inc and a manager named Ken Welch who claimed only four adults were listed on the lease. Maybe there was a typo and somebody wrote "4" instead of "24?"
No, probably not.
In the wake of the fire, there has hardly been an outpouring of sympathy. The house in question was overcrowded and a source of constant troubles to the decent people in the neighborhood. The only question on people's minds is whether this incident will result in any rental licenses being revoked for Assertive Mpls Properties, LLC. Nobody with a lick of common sense believes "Assertive" didn't know there were a lot of people living at that house.
I will write later about William Donnell Alexander, who claimed the house in question was his address. Suffice to say he's some piece of work and belongs in jail.
Here's another photo of the fire.