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Northeast Minneapolis impatient for 807 development deal to close

Posted by: Steve Brandt under People and neighborhoods, Politics and government, Urban living Updated: June 23, 2014 - 5:01 PM

More than a year after the sale of a large former factory and school district headquarters was authorized, the deal still hasn’t closed and some Northeasters are getting impatient.

The Logan Park neighborhood is eager for redevelopment of the complex at 807 Broadway St. NE to begin but title problems have held up the deal.

“People in the Northeast community have been wondering what’s taking so long,” said Pat Vogel, co-chair of the neighborhood’s 807 Broadway Task Force. “People say that must have fallen apart because I don’t see anything happening.”

The title issue involves a parking lot used by visitors and employees when the school headquarters was there. It encroaches on the city’s right of way for Quincy St. NE “Buying something with a defective title is a non-starter,” said Scott Tankenoff, managing partner for Hillcrest Development, which won the right to buy the city block-sized complex over six other developers.

The city suggested that Hillcrest petition the City Council vacate a small portion of the right of way, but that will take time.  So the school board on Tuesday is expected to extend the closing date for a second time, by another 120 days. The agreement also potentially knocks $516,550 off the previous sale price. That price by law need not be disclosed until the deal closes, but has been estimated at between $2 million and $3 million, based on the price of similar area property.

The title problems date back years, Tankenoff said.  The district has owned the 1914 building and subsequent add-ons since 1930. Hillcrest originally planned to close by the end of 2013. Tankenoff now said he thinks a closing by Labor Day is feasible. “I think there’s going to be work happening in the building in September,” he said.

Vogel said Hillcrest has been responsive to neighborhood concerns but she hasn’t been able to get an answer to what happens if the 120-day closing deadline isn’t met. “That’s the one thing that kind of makes us as a neighborhood group nervous,” she said. But Tankenoff said he expects the first tenant to move in within 100 to 120 days after closing the deal.

Money from the sale is supposed to help pay part of the cost of the new district headquarters at 1250 Broadway Avenue, into which district offices moved in 2012. 

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