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University of Minnesota

Meet the neighbors

April 21, 2009

University area house.

This house at 1022 16th Ave. SE is midway through its renovation (with gutted kitchen) and is open during the home tour. The University District Alliance bought the option on this home and it is for sale to an owner occupant.

...and peek inside their homes

By Adam Overland

If you've been putting off that bathroom or kitchen remodel out of a gnawing fear that you could end up with a toilet where the oven should be, it might be time to take steps to remedy your insecurity. You may want to try a low-commitment jaunt down inspiration lane this weekend, April 25 and 26, during the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Home Tour of "real homes, real people, and real ideas."

Fearless local residents who've taken the remodeling plunge, will open their doors to show creative and practical ideas for additions, kitchens, bathrooms, and more. Visitors will be able to chat with homeowners about their experiences, and in many cases the homeowners' contractors, architects, and other trades people will be on hand to answer questions. At the very least, it's an opportunity to get out of your home and into someone else's.

You can approach the tour in a variety of ways, but if you're interested in seeing homes that are, say, in a certain community or have had a bathroom remodel, you can search the Web site for specific categories

Begun in 1988, the MSP Home Tour is billed as "a celebration of city living," featuring homes in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul. While some of the homes are for sale most are examples of restorations or renovations.

Several of those homes are in the University district, an area made up of five neighborhoods: S.E. Como, Marcy-Holmes, Prospect Park, Cedar-Riverside/West Bank, and the University campus itself.

One of the homes on this year's tour (#14 at 518 7th St. SE) belongs to Jan Morse, director of the U's Office of Student Conflict Resolution. Located in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, the house was originally the home of John Tate, former physics professor and dean of the College of Science, Literature, and the Arts (the precursor to CLA). Morse is also a former president of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association.

"Living in Marcy-Holmes is very much like the experience I had while growing up in a small town in western Minnesota," says Morse. According to Morse, the University District Alliance has helped to maintain not only the history of her neighborhood, but its diverse and vibrant nature, as well.

University District Alliance

The University has participated for some time in a larger effort to ensure the quality and character of its surrounding neighborhoods. In 2007, the U and its partners established the University District Alliance to develop a shared vision for the University district.

Through the its Homeownership Preservation Program, the alliance purchases options on homes with funding from the Minnesota Legislature, makes necessary repairs, and re-sells the homes to new owner occupants.

One such home (#15 at 1022 16th Ave. SE) is midway through its renovation (with gutted kitchen), and will have architectural drawings of the improvement options for the house, including a number of energy-saving options. It is for sale.

With so many changes coming, including the soon-to-open TCF Bank Stadium, the planned Central Corridor LRT, and the Biomedical Research and East Gateway facility, to name only a few, the alliance has plenty to keep it busy. So have a look at their work, and enjoy. Perhaps you'll even be inspired to take the remodeling plunge yourself.

More information:

A University District Home Buyers Incentive Program has been designed for University employees seeking to purchase a home in one of the University District neighborhoods.

The University District Alliance maintains a Live Near Your Work Web site that describes the advantages of living near the U and includes listings of available homes.