Beer and Live Music at the '612 Brew Fest'

Who doesn't love beer and live music? Well, if you don't, then this event is not for you -- but if you are in the category of loving beer and music, 612 Brew Art Music and Beer Festival has got a weekend of fun for you. This event is in conjunction of the Art-A-Whirl festivities that same weekend. Oh, the best part? The event is open to the public and free to all. 

On May 15th and 16th, Northeast Minneapolis will be lively with many live concerts, an open studio to check out talented local artists, and of course, beer from 612 Brewery. The brewery will be serving its five top selling beers during the event. 

Friday night will play host to five bands and Saturday will showcase eight bands -- the headline acts include: Ash St. John, Nathan Miller, Loons in the Attic, and July Fighter. 

With all the beer and entertainment, those in attendance are sure to get hungry -- well, worry not because there will be six food trucks on hand to give plenty of food variety to quench any hunger. 

To learn more about this event, check out 612 Brewery's website

Image courtesy of: 612 Brewery 


Waite Park Rambler - Northeast Minneapolis Home for Sale

3535 Tyler Street NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

MLS # 4163059


This charming Rambler located in the Waite Park neighborhood of Northeast Minneapolis has been updated, cared for, and ready for you to move in!


Updated kitchen opens to a cozy dining area and 3-season porch.  With newer appliances, new flooring, backsplash and counter-tops, this spacious kitchen is a dream.


Newly refinished ORIGINAL hardwood floors, coved ceilings and spacious room sizes are great for entertaining.


Newly finished basements features a T.V. room, luxury bathroom, bedroom with egress window, light & bright laundry room, and separate playroom/family room.


Live in the heart of the City and never worry about parking with this 2-car garage and extra off-street parking!


U.S. Homeownership Declining

The homeownership rate within the United States declined to the lowest rate in 13 years during the fourth quarter of 2010, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. At 66.5%, the home ownership rate was 0.4% below the third quarter and down 0.7% compared to the previous year.

Across all measurements, statistics for homeownership rates are down. The largest decline happened in the West, where the number of owners fell 1.3% from the previous year. The homeowner housing vacancy rate rose to 2.7% as foreclosures continue to afflict real estate markets, up from 2.5% the third quarter. The South and Midwest tied with 2.8% of homeowner housing stock left vacant. Statistics for the South represented a 1.0% decline from the year before, while the Midwest’s number was unchanged. The West and Northeast showed vacancy rates of 2.7% and 2.0% respectively.

As homeownership rates sank, rental activity has gone up. Rental vacancies reached the lowest reading since the beginning of 2003, at 9.4% in the fourth quarter, down 1.3% on from a year ago. The South has the largest percentage of rental vacancies at 11.5%, but also saw the biggest year-over-year drop with 2.2%. The West and Midwest also saw modest declines in rental vacancies, while the Northeast saw a small increase of 0.3% from the year before.

The mistakes made by financial institutions, the high unemployment rate and a glut of foreclosures are the three main culprits behind home ownership rate reductions and increases in rental activity.

Source: Homeownership Reaches 13-year Low as Vacancies Rise


Upcoming Minneapolis Home Tour

Want to buy a home in Minneapolis? There is a home buyer tour of more than a dozen available updated older homes on June 13. The self-guided tour runs from Noon to 3 p.m.

Home prices range from $100,000 to $250,000. They are built in a variety of styles, including Cape Cods, bungalows and Tudors. Many of the homes are foreclosed properties that have been bought and fixed up by nonprofit community developers.

People thinking of buying a Minneapolis home can talk to residents and get a feel for the northeast Minneapolis neighborhoods in which the tour will take place. They also can gain information about available home buyer assistance programs.

The event is designed to help revitalize Minneapolis neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures, said Cherie Shoquist of Minneapolis' Community Planning and Economic Development department. "It's an excellent way for people to meet neighborhood residents who are invested in the community and see the quality of rehabbed housing," she said.

Additionally, the Get to NOMI grass-roots neighborhood organization will hold tours of available north Minneapolis homes on June 20 to promote the area's attributes. But at the time of this posting, their site isn't up yet and there doesn't seem to be much information about it. So for those who are curious, send an e-mail to mynewneighbor(@)gmail(.)com.


Greening Minnesota ~ May 2010

As lovers of the outdoors, Minnesotans try hard to be good caretakers of the environment. Read on to learn about environmentally friendly news that happened recently around the Twin Cities and Minnesota!

The Department of Commerce's Office of Energy Security has reported that more solar energy systems were installed in Minnesota in 2009 than in any other year. 72 solar photovoltaic systems were installed in 2009 with a combined capacity of 784 kilowatts, which is also a record for Minnesota. The previous record was from 2007, when 56 systems were installed, providing 286 kilowatts. Overall, just over two megawatts of electricity are produced in Minnesota by solar panels, which is less than 1% of the state's total energy capacity. Officials expect that number to double by the end of 2010.

A new area will be permanantly preserverd as a green space. For a price tag of $1.96 million, a parcel of land along the Mississippi River will become Washington County's latest park acquisition. Commissioners voted earlier this month to buy the forested property, which has 2,000 feet of shoreline along the Mississippi River. The county's parks director, John Elholm, said the sale should be completed in about a month.

Minneapolis park officials have approved the purchase of a significant piece of upper Mississippi riverfront parkland. The City will spend $7.7 million to buy a little more than 11 acres from Scherer Bros. The purchase not only preserves the land as a green space, it will bridge a key greenbelt gap and eventually will allow trails to be developed farther upriver in northeast Minneapolis. Park commissioners voted unanimously, saying that people living along the upper river deserve waterfront parks just like those in south Minneapolis.

The St. Paul City Council has approved a bike lane project to connect W. 7th Street to Mississippi River Boulevard. Council members voted 6-1 in favor of adding striping, signs, sidewalks, traffic-calming...

Get to NOMI - Valentine's Day Home Tour in Minneapolis

Twin Cities house hunters may not know that there is affordable housing as well as plenty of parks, new restaurants and other amenities to be found in north Minneapolis' Camden and Northeast communities. A group of residents has been working to change that perception by starting a grass-roots neighborhood campaign called Get to NOMI to attract prospective buyers by promoting the area's positive attributes. NOMI stands for North Minneapolis.

Joel Breeggemann, co-founder of Get to NOMI and a home owner in the Webber-Camden neighborhood, says "We want to show people that these neighborhoods are just as desirable as others in Minneapolis and St. Paul."

The group has organized a Valentine's Day, self-guided tour of 20 houses currently on the market in several north Minneapolis neighborhoods. The homes are a mix of foreclosures and owner-occupied residences that range in price from $99,000 to $249,000.

"It's a perfect opportunity to scoop up deals that are still available," Breeggemann said.

The homes are available for the tour from Noon to 3 p.m. on February 14. There is also a "Meet and Greet" being held before the tour where interested buyers can talk to residents. That is taking place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the 42nd Avenue Station coffee shop, 4171 Lyndale Av. N. This is also the location to pick up tour maps.


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Strange-But-True: Minneapolis Assessor Contests His Home's Valuation

Many people were upset with their home's assessed values last year. Even Minneapolis' tax assessor wasn't satisfied with his property tax statement.

Minneapolis City Assessor Patrick J. Todd maintains his northeast Minneapolis home was valued at far more than it was worth when he bought it. He appealing to the Minnesota Tax Court to contest the value of his home, which was set by the office he heads. You read that right.

"It's one of those properties where the owner never called [the assessor's office] to say the value was too high," he said.

That's an understatement. He bought the 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom home as investment property in July 2008 for $90,000. On January 1, 2008, the home had been assessed at $166,500 with a tax bill for payable 2009 of $2,239.

The reason behind the discrepancy is easy enough to explain. City assessors don't usually set foot on every property every year. Assessment is done through Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal, which bases values on neighborhood and sales.

The 61-year-old rambler was built of concrete block and still had the original furnace, plumbing and electrical components. The 804-square-foot house had a single detached garage, no basement and no central air conditioning. This simple house with no real updates didn't fit the property model on which assessments are based. The home owner, having lived in the house since 1951, failed to alert the city that it was valued higher than it should have been.

Because of the sheer size of Minneapolis, it would be impossible to do a property by property assessment.

"We're trying to do the best job we can," Todd said. "If you don't agree with us, you've got to call us."

To read more about the case, check out the Star Tribune Article.


Twin Cities Residents Riding the Rails

At long last, the Hiawatha light rail line is finally complete. The last planned stop, the America Boulevard Station located in Bloomington at 34th Avenue, opened on Saturday. And it opened ahead of schedule, as the work wasn't even supposed to be finished until January.
The $3.3 million station was included in the original plans for the light rail line, but its construction was deferred when the south end of the 12-mile route was redesigned, said Bob Gibbons, director of customer services for Metro Transit. Money to build the new station came from the Bloomington Port Authority, Hennepin County, Metropolitan Council and the federal government.
The new station is northeast of the Mall of America and a short distance from Bloomington Central Station. Three hotels, an office complex and large long-term parking lots are located nearby. The area is being redeveloped and Bloomington MN officials view the new station as a key component to the plans.
"It serves a section of the Airport South district that we hope will become part of a new residential neighborhood," said Larry Lee, director of community development for the city. "It's especially important for residents, but ... tourists and business people [also] have the option of getting around by LRT instead of riding in a car."

That vision of a community built around transit is already a reality at the Reflections condo development by Bloomington Central Station, Lee said. Many couples who bought homes there have gone from two cars to one and some are living with no car at all, he said.
The north end of the line was completed in November when a new station opened in Minneapolis at Target Field. That station also serves as a link for Hiawatha riders to the Northstar commuter rail line.

Speaking of the Northstar, Metro Transit has announced that 33,112 people rode the...

Successful Programs Put Buyers into Foreclosed Homes

Forgivable-loan programs aimed at helping lower-income home buyers have put nearly 200 participants into foreclosed houses in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center. Both cities have offered up to $10,000 for closing or down payment costs to eligible participants who buy foreclosed homes. The interest-free loans are forgiven if the buyer lives in the home for five years.

In Minneapolis, 147 participants have bought homes this year in foreclosure-ridden neighborhoods, mostly in the north, northeast and south-central parts of the city, said Cheris Shoquist, city foreclosure project coordinator.

About 50 others have bought foreclosed homes across Brooklyn Center since that city's program began in March, said Gary Eitel, community development director.

The Brooklyn Center City Council has been updated on the program and has decided to continue it. It gets its funding from $1 million in new taxes generated by a commercial tax increment financing district.

Minneapolis allocated an additional $500,000 to its program after the first $500,000 was snapped up last year by 50 home buyers. At that time, the program had no income limits, but the second installment allows buyers to have up to 120% of the metro-area median household income of $81,000. The city added another $1.5 million to the program from a grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank.

Brooklyn Center limits its ReNew Loan program to lower-income, first-time buyers. The ReNew Loan program provides up to $10,000 to each eligible buyer for closing fees or down payments on vacant homes that the seller has registered with the city. Single buyers or couples can have up to the metro median household income; families of three or more can have up to 115% of the median income.

Buyers also may be eligible for up to $8,000 per home from the Pohlad Family Foundation.


Greening Minnesota - August

The residents, businesses, and government of Minnesota have been doing so much to make the state a greener place to live. Greening Minnesota is a monthly installment that explores some of these actions and developments.

First, a story about an eco-friendly home rennovation. Can a green remodeling project look good and not break the bank? A St. Louis Park bungalow got an affordable, earth-friendly makeover that respected the 1940 home's vintage charm while at the same time reducing its energy costs. The renovation included a two-story addition to expand the kitchen and add a family room and mudroom as well as create space for upstairs bedrooms. St. Louis Park design/build company Sicora followed the new Minnesota Greenstar certification program to meet green building standards, but the bottom line was also a factor. This affordable remodel doesn't include all the bells and whistles. Though there aren't spendy bamboo floors or a geothermal heating system, it does have hardwood floors repurposed from the original home, remnant granite countertops, and two Energy Star-rated furnaces that heat and cool in zones.

The U.S. Green Building Council has announced the introduction of its new LEED for Homes Affiliate Program, which allows regional green home building programs to promote the growing green residential market by partnering with USGBC. The objective of the new program is to increase the availability of the green homes stock through collaborations with local green home building programs across the country and  further promoting sustainable design and energy-and-resource efficiency in all dwellings. Third-party green home building certification system Minnesota GreenStar was one of the first two green home building programs to sign on with LEED for Homes Affiliates.

Let's not forget that Minnesota is about to get $52.7 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to weatherize 16,800 homes this year. A home that is properly weatherized uses...