Minneapolandia: A $100 million, taxpayer-supported development of "affordable housing" for artists
This story is not a joke, and there are some real trade-offs at stake related to a genuinely historic site that should be preserved. But the writer seems not to even vaguely understand the irony here.
Art is good and enriching, historic preservation is A Good Thing. But the thought that, even if there were not a budget crash on the horizon in a city that has been financially mismanaged for decades (the "weak mayor" system includes a city council that has more Green Party representatives than Democrats, and zero Republicans), any available local funds or tax credits has a better use is not much of an issue.
The Mississippi River runs right through the center of downtown Minneapolis. The industrial origins were flour mills built in the 19th century, powered by the flowing water and then the grain products were shipped South on barges. Both Pillsbury and General Mills got their starts that way. All of the historic old flour mills are now closed down, and the old industrial riverfront has gradually been gentrified as the waterfront property becomes more and more desirable for its aesthetic, rather than industrial, value. The same new generation phenomenon has renewed Baltimore's Inner Harbor and Pittsburgh's Riverfront.
The Tyrone Guthrie Theater and Mill City Museum, two lovely tax money-suckers, as well as a luxury hotel, are already in place on the opposite (South side) river bank, linked to the North & East riverbank (the river path curves) by a beautiful old stone arch pedestrian bridge and there are restaurant-condo developments all through the area on the North & East bank. The Wilde Roast Cafe, named after Oscar, has a natural clientele and is quite popular.
Luxury condos, restaurants, retail, scenic areas, we can understand. "Affordable housing"? For "artists"? Where is Lorenzo de Medici when we need him? Now instead we get some local chairperson of an NGO standing with her hand out.
I am chary of posting photos because of copyright issues these days, perhaps Dr. Lileks has a few in his portfolio, since this is a few blocks from his newspaper office.
"About 65 percent of the project is being financed with affordable housing and state and federal historic tax credits, Metz said. About 1 percent of the project is being paid for with a public subsidy to clean up the site, and the financing package will also include housing revenue bonds."
If we are talking art here, maybe we could lure EJ Hill with a subsidized apartment.