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Home is where the U is


A University District Alliance house will be on the Minneapolis Saint Paul Home Tour, April 24-25

By Adam Overland

U District house's kitchen
The house at 1022 16th Avenue S.E. features sustainable materials in the kitchen

April 20, 2010

Last year at this time, a house in the University district at 1022 16th Avenue S.E. was midway through its renovation. Now that house is for sale with an efficient new boiler, new windows and insulation, a low water-use toilet, radiant heat in the sunroom floor, sustainable materials in the kitchen, and even more energy efficient improvements. Visitors can tour the home (and many more) during the annual Minneapolis Saint Paul Home Tour, April 24-25.

The house is owned by the University District Alliance—an organization formed in 2007 after an impact study found that neighborhoods in the U district were losing balance as owner-occupied homes were nudged out in favor of rental properties.

To maintain the quality and character of the U's surrounding neighborhoods, the University, state legislature, neighborhood associations, and the city of Minneapolis founded the alliance to fund "demonstration projects" that address the decline in owner-occupied homes.

U District house's woodwork Interior woodwork, 1022 16th Avenue S.E.Through a Homeownership Preservation Program, the alliance purchased options on homes (primarily in the Southeast Como and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods), made repairs that often push each home toward sustainability and energy efficiency, and re-sold the homes to new owner occupants.

Peek inside
The house at 1022 16th Avenue S.E. is listed for sale with Sandy Green Realty. See it on the Minneapolis St. Paul Home Tour.

The U has done much to steer those homes toward U employees through a Live Near Your Work website and the homebuyer incentive program.

A property recently purchased at 405 S.E. 5th Street included a $30,000 grant to be used first toward energy efficiency improvements. The home was bought by Cameron Naughton, a clinical research coordinator at the U with the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center. Naughton and her husband were living in a condo just two blocks from the home on 5th Street, but with the birth of their second child, the condo was simply too small, she says.

"We were bursting at the seams… [but] we loved the neighborhood and didn’t want to leave…the schools, our commutes (my husband takes the $.50 bus downtown and I bike, weather permitting), and the proximity to downtown, the parks, the river, and the nearby commercial district. We knew the properties in the immediate neighborhood were out of our price range until this opportunity with the University District Alliance presented itself," says Naughton.

Naughton and her family received the full $30,000 in their purchase negotiation and $10,000 down payment assistance in the form of a 5-year forgivable loan.

"With the money we saved we were able to purchase a new high-efficiency washing machine and dishwasher. And our heating bills this winter were far less than we ever imagined," she says.

More information on the U District Alliance and the home tour can be found a last year's story, "Meet the neighbors."