Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Some Signs of Improvement on Lowry Avenue

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

Some time ago, these signs popped up along Lowry Avenue as part of its redesign.  I never got an explanation as to why, but when they initially appeared, they went only from Theo Wirth on to about Girard or so.  Well, today a colleague at Hennepin County informed me that the signs have been posted all the way down Lowry to the bridge.  Huzzah!

Down on Broadway we've got these funny-looking signs hanging from the light posts depicting abstract faces and, at best, abstract emotions.  While I appreciate the youth involvement in the community that went into the creation of those signs, I don't think they accomplish much.  Granted, this is just my own personal opinion, but I really like some of the signs I've seen like this along Central Avenue.  One part of the sign on the light post says Central Avenue, and another sign designates which neighborhood you are in.  That combination, to me, really gives you a sense of place, as if you're somewhere with a strong and proud identity.  I'd love to see something similar along Lowry, with all of the bordering neighborhoods identified and represented.

Now, borrowing from the Irving Inquisition, which manages to be ticked off at one ore more people in every blog post, I've got my own jerks du jour...

...The owners of 3110 Emerson Avenue North.  For some reason the city website isn't giving me any information at the time of this post, but even when that was working I couldn't really discern who is responsible for what here.  It's either Agape/Oasis of Love, which tried to run a day care center here a long time ago, some firm in downtown Minneapolis, or a Floridian LLC with W Broadway in the name.

As I was walking back to the office, I happened to look inside the place because this caught my eye:

That's the interior of the building, full of standing water after only a mild snowstorm.  Imagine what it will be like by the end of the winter, if it's still standing of course.  And for the better part of 2010 this property was on the market.

While it was for sale, I also walked by at one time and saw a notice from inspections stating that the structure had been infested with cats.  I've seen cats come and go from vacant properties, but that had to have been the only time I've seen it rise to the level where inspections had to deal specifically with feline squatters.  The list price at the time - and I can't believe no one scooped up such a great deal - was $450,000, which was down almost 50% from the previous list price of $899,900.  I am not making this up.

Now, thanks to neglect and an unrealistic asking price, you'd probably have a tough time giving away this property, which is too bad because Emerson and Lowry has great potential as a commercial node.

Joe Jones, Oasis/Agape, and other LLC owners are NXNS's inaugural Jerks du Jour.


  1. There's a silver lining to that building falling into disrepair... That building is nothing to get excited about. Removal of the old building is the first step to redevelopment. The worse condition the existing building is in, the more likely that it will be demolished, paving the way for something more useful.

    Of course, I guess there's also the possibility that it will sit there decrepit before falling down on it's own and nothing new is constructed in its place...

  2. What bothers me is this: there are viable businesses along that stretch. (Aside from So Low, not businesses I LIKE, mind you, but still, viable businesses nonetheless.) The Domino's Pizza has been out of that space since 2006, and I don't know how long Agape/Oasis has been out of there.

    While demolishing (if necessary) is the first step towards building something new, this building could have been occupied by other viable businesses and been a contributing factor in the Hawthorne neighborhood. Instead it's been a drain on public resources and a blight, and there's no immediate end in sight to either of those conditions.

  3. Whenever I see the Joe Jones real estate team anywhere I get suspicious. I wouldn't be surprised if digging into Joe Jones' deals uncovered some Larry Maxwell type fraud.

  4. Standing water in a building is NOT good. This means there is a structural problem that needs to be addressed (usually a new roof) which may already have caused a long term mold concern, loosened tile, trim,and wall surface damage, or compromised wiring. Many residential structures have been condemned for far less.

    The economic risk to the community in taking out the building is whether a new business will actually rebuild in that location. Generally only established franchises have the capitol to do a ground up build. But, they aren't attracted to this market because they need a higher volumes of sales versus the costs or potential harm to their image (A couple of robberies or shootings would cost a franchise plenty).

    So, if the building is left, a less secure independent start-up business will try to maintain the structure until it goes broke or is successful enough to relocate. Rinse and repeat.

    Until the city brokers a plan to develop large tracts of Lowry to franchise developers with huge financial incentives, possible eminent domain use, and a massive image changing promotion; I don't see any change happening in this economy. This may be a better use for our economic development dollars than chasing poverty pimps and thugs around and destroying the residential structures they ransack. Once an economic base has been established, property values will rise and these homes will not be as attractive as run down rentals.

  5. A new law firm has opened on Lowry Ave. N., too.



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