Building the New Suburbs

It’s inevitable that in any growing community that those who’ve been around a long time will long for the simpler days. A big showdown occurred this past Winter over possible condos in Uptown and now Grand Ave. has been in the news. The funny thing is that none of us want Grand Ave. or any other smaller neighborhood in the Cities to grow too big. None of us want Mom & Pop to go and none of us wanted The Ruminator to die.
But the thing is, when I knew The Ruminator bookstore was dying, I still didn’t have enough money to buy all my books there. So I bought from Barnes & Noble, saving for the one book I would buy at Ruminator. Losing a Twin Cities asset like that bookstore is exactly what the residents of Grand Ave. are trying to prevent in the future by putting a moratorium on development. Sure, it’s a horrible business idea and investors will go elsewhere. But, seriously, let them go to Blaine or Maple Grove. Those suburbs are newer and they have more room for national chains (I’m honestly not trying to harp on the suburbs). Let the tiny neighborhoods of the Cities grow at a slower pace and I don’t think they’ll waste away without development.

6 Comments so far

  1. Lex (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2005 @ 10:20 am

    I live in the city because I love local businesses and don’t want to shop at huge big box chains, if I can help it.

    That said, I bought a condo when I moved back to Minneapolis from downtown St. Paul. However, I like to think it’s helped the neighborhood, because it’s a small building (only 16 units) and we have a wonderful locally-owned coffee shop on the main floor: Tillie’s Bean.

  2. Erica (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2005 @ 11:03 am

    I’m continually appalled by all the condo developments I see as I drive around town. And it pisses me off even more that so many of them are “luxury condos.” What kind of neighborhood are you gonna create when only really rich people can afford to live there?

  3. WH Burdine (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2005 @ 12:02 pm

    I understand what you’re saying about the skyline, but at the same time would you rather that the rich escape to the suburbs? City folk tend to look down on the suburbs and the “white flight”. But now that the rich are moving back into the city, we complain about that.
    I’d much rather have a vibrant economy in downtown MPLS. So build up in downtown MPLS, but let’s make sure it doesn’t simply spread into the neighborhoods.

  4. Erica (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2005 @ 12:46 pm

    “would you rather that the rich escape to the suburbs?”

    I suppose not. But it irks me that in a number of cases, already existing apartment buildings (that I could afford) were knocked down to build these condos (that I can’t afford).

    And it’s different in downtown than it is in Uptown. I would fully expect anything downtown to be expensive. New condos downtown don’t surprise me at all. I just hope there are still enough people interested in buying them when they’re finished. Uptown ain’t what it used to be, and I personally feel like that’s not for the better.

  5. Kristi (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2005 @ 4:49 pm

    Thanks for posting about this. I totally meant to post about this a couple days ago since Grand Avenue is totally in my ‘hood, but I didn’t know how I felt about it, since this has only been my ‘hood for one month and one week.

    I like the idea of a moratorium, giving business owners and prospective developers and neighborhoods time to think through what they’re doing and deciding if they really want to be run over by chain-store-type businesses, because sometimes it happens so fast, you have no idea when decisions were made for you. I personally prefer mom-and-pop-type places, even though they tend to be a bit more expensive. It’s totally worth it because of the extra customer service you tend to get, and it’s fun to know the people in your neighborhood. And the thing I hated–absolutely hated–about living in the suburbs was the cookie-cutter-ness of it all. I felt lost in a sea of fluorescent lighting and giant aisles. Let the chain stores stay out there, I say. People who want urban neighborhood goodness will move to urban neighborhoods, and those who want bland can move to the suburbs.

  6. Erica (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2005 @ 6:59 pm

    those who want bland can move to the suburbs

    Yes. Fer chrissake, go back to Woodbury. I lived in various places in Plymouth for a total of 2.5 of my 5 years here (why, I don’t know, because I hated it the whole time), and it was awful.

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