Northeast Minneapolis impatient for deal to close on old schools HQ

  • Article by: STEVE BRANDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 24, 2014 - 7:53 PM

An issue with the title is holding up the redevelopment of 807 NE. Broadway.

More than a year after the sale was authorized of a large piece of Minneapolis property that includes the former school district headquarters, 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 NE. Broadway 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 were there. It encroaches on the city’s right of way for NE. Quincy Street.

“Buying something with a defective title is a nonstarter,” said Scott Tankenoff, managing partner for Hillcrest Development, which won the right over six other developers to buy the city-block-sized complex, which includes a former factory.

The city suggested that Hillcrest petition the City Council to vacate a small portion of the right of way, but that will take time. So the school board 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 as 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 W. Broadway, into which district offices moved in 2012.

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438 • Twitter: @brandtstrib

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