Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Section of Rockford to Stay in Hennepin County

In a case that has been watched by several Minnesota cities, the Hennepin County Board hindered the City of Rockford’s effort to redraw the county line. On June 17, the Board rejected a measure that would have allowed Hennepin County residents to vote on the matter.

The 3,800-resident city straddles Crow River, which is the boundary for the two counties of Wright and Hennepin. Approximately 90% of the city is in Wright County and about 10% of its land parcels are in Hennepin County. City officials say being split between law enforcement and ambulance service jurisdictions and tax rates has caused a multitude of problems. For years, Rockford MN residents have petitioned to bring all of its land under Wright County jurisdiction.

Commissioners, who stated that they had “no opposition” to the boarder change in Rockford, did not discuss the resolution before voting it down 6-1. Previously, commissioners...

Northstar Building: New Owners, New Upgrades

The Northstar Center is undergoing an ambitious makeover. Downtown Minneapolis' first mixed-use property, adding up to 814,000-square-feet of space which includes offices and retail as well as a Crowne Plaza Hotel, is being restored. 

The work will include tuck-pointing, replacing stone, and cleaning the exterior of the three-building complex over the course of about three to four yearsWork on the parking ramp, which includes replacing some concrete and waterproofing, began in April and is expected to be completed in September. Renovation of the 222-room hotel is underway and is scheduled to be completed later this month. The over $4 million project has included remodeling guest rooms and the lobby and adding a larger Executive Club lounge.

All of this is happening because of new property owner and manager Grubb & Ellis.  Grubb & Ellis acquired the Northstar Center in December when it merged with the parent...

Saint Paul's Dayton's Bluff Neighborhood Highlights

Dayton's Bluff is a neighborhood located on the east side of the Mississippi in the southeast part of the city of Saint Paul, Minnesota. The northern border of the neighborhood is Grove Street and the Burlington Northern Railroad. The southern border is Warner Road. To the west is Lafayette Road and Highway 3, and to the east is Highway 61.

Dayton’s Bluff contains one of the widest varieties of history of any Twin Cities’ neighborhood. The history of the area goes back over 1,000 years when the Hopewell Native Americans used the area as a sacred burial ground. On the edge of the southern and highest part of Dayton's Bluff today, a series of seven large aboriginal burial mounds remain in Indian Mounds Park, overlooking the Mississippi River and the central part of the city. The park features walking paths, playgrounds and a picnic area.

In 1857, Lyman Dayton, a well-known land and railroad speculator from Vermont, platted an "addition to St. Paul"...

Minneapolis’ Northeast Community Highlights

Northeast community of Minneapolis is composed of 13 smaller neighborhoods. The Northeast community blends old architecture, classic housing, bustling commercial districts, and industrial work centers as well as new residential high-rises, suburban cul-de-sacs, and a popular art scene. The Northeast community is part bedroom neighborhood and part job center for the City of Minneapolis. The prominent features of Northeast include ornate churches and massive grain silos and mills, both of which help to create a unique skyline. Formerly known as the City of Saint Anthony before it was annexed into Minneapolis, Northeast is sometimes referred to as Nordeast, reflecting the history of northern and eastern European immigrants and their language influence.

Columbia Park - The Columbia Park neighborhood in northeast Minneapolis is bound on the north by 37th Avenue Northeast, on the east by Central Avenue Northeast, on the south by 27th Avenue Northeast...

Hennepin County Digitizing Records

One hundred years ago if you wanted to look up any sort of vital records, from births and deaths to marriages and property histories, oversized books filled with information on paper was all the county recorders had.  Hennepin County still has its plat books, which are large, awkward, green-bound volumes that measure 31 by 26 inches and weigh 15 to 20 pounds each.

The county didn’t begin microfilming old documents until the 1960s. Electronic recordkeeping began in 1988, and since 1994, all document imaging has been in a digital format.

Now, Hennepin County will spend $2.7 million to digitize more than 24 million pages of records and marriage licenses dating back all the way to the 1850s.  The information won’t be available on the internet to just anyone, however.  The digitization is largely a move to smooth document tracking for Twin Cities real estate, legal and financial professionals who work with mortgages, property titles,...

Hennepin County Speeds Demolition of Problem Properties

Hennepin County commissioners voted last to allocate up to $1.25 million to the City of Minneapolis to speed demolition of at least 50 Twin Cities houses. The actions comes as concerns rise that some Minneapolis neighborhoods may become so scarred by boarded up and vacant houses that they may not bounce back,

For example, northern Minneapolis has 544 of the 925 boarded and vacant houses listed within the city. The effects were cited on streets such as the 2900 block of Dupont Avenue N., where several houses were burned and boarded up after they were foreclosed on or abandoned. Minneapolis commissioners worry that other residents in the area will leave, resulting in even more blighted and vacant homes.

County officials will meet with their Minneapolis counterparts to negotiate an agreement that should allow the city to possibly double the number...

Saint Paul Market Analysis: May 2008

Similar to the experience of Minneapolis but more dramatic, new listings for homes fell in Saint Paul, Minnesota, during the month of May, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities. During May of 2008, there were 623 new listings in the City of Saint Paul. In May of 2007, there were 818 new listings, which is a drop of about 23.8%. St. Paul’s Downtown experienced the greatest decline in new listings at -56.3%. The West Side/Cherokee neighborhood was the only location in St. Paul to experience an increase in new listings over last year. Here is a list of May 2008 new listings in Saint Paul by neighborhood and the percentage of change that has occurred compared to May 2007. (To see a Barker & Hedges article about April 2008 St. Paul Market Activity, please click here.)

Como 41 (-26.8%)
Crocus Hill 50 (-33.3%)
Downtown Saint Paul 21 (-56.3%)
East Side 143 (-14.4%)
Highland Park 55 (-3.5%)...

Minneapolis Market Analysis: May 2008

During the month of May this year in Minneapolis, there was once again a decrease in new listings, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities. During May of 2008, there were 1,098 new listings. In May 2007, there were 1,353 new listings. That is a drop of nearly 20%! It’s also much higher than April’s drop of just 6.9%, but it matches March’s 20% decrease. Basically, many sellers seem to be holding off compared to last year. The slowdown in new listings has really helped to ease pressure on the Twin Cities area real estate market.

Unlike March and April, the University community experienced the greatest increase in new listings during May. There were 56 new listings in University, up 36.6% from May of 2007’s 41. Conversely, the Philips and Nokomis communities had decreases in new listings compared to last year, at -48.4% and -34.9% respectively.

Here is a list of May 2008 new listings in Minneapolis...

2008 U.S. Women’s Open in Edina

The Twin Cities suburb of Edina will soon have the opportunity to present its greatness to the nation. This year, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open is happening right here in our own Edina, at the Interlachen Country Club. This event, which just happens to be the biggest competition in the world of women’s golf, happens from June 23 to June 29.  It is expected to attract 135,000 people to Edina during that period of time.  Edina native Hilary Lunke will be competing in the championship this year, giving the city yet another reason to be proud.  To top it off, the entire competition will be broadcast nationally on channels ESPN, ESPN2 and NBC.The flood of people will also mean a deluge of business for hotels and restaurants.  Because many attendants will be parking at Southdale Center and Galleria, it is probable that they will go shopping before or after they take a shuttle to Interlachen. It is estimated that the U.S. Women’s Open will bring $20 million into Edina’s economy as people sleep at hotels,...

June Is Home Safety Month

Every June, the Home Safety Council celebrates Home Safety Month!  HSC is an organization which encourages people to take easy steps toward making their homes safer for themselves, their pets, and their families.  The theme for this year’s Home Safety Month campaign is Hands on Home Safety. As the name suggests, it suggests some simple hands-on steps to create a safer home environment from the five leading causes of home injury: falls, poisonings, fires and burns, choking or suffocation, and drowning.  Many household accidents like these can be avoided with some precautionary measures!  Also, some aspects of a home safety are good to have in place anyway when one is trying to sell a house.  If a potential buyer hurts themselves on your property, you may find yourself with a lawsuit instead of a sale!

According to the HSC, falls are the leading cause of injury at home. There are several actions which can be taken to prevent many types of falls.  Ensuring that stairwells and...