Edina – Land of the Teardowns

Posted by Kris Lindahl on Friday, December 18th, 2015 at 8:44am.

What is it with human beings? We find a lovely place to live, move in and then go about trying to change it. I’m specifically referring to the teardowns going on all over Edina. Although the 2015 numbers aren't out yet, according to the Star Trib's John Reinan, Edina saw a record number of demolition permits issued last year and, in fact, "seven new applications came in on a single day.”

"If Edina isn’t the teardown capital of the country, it’s certainly one of them. In a city of just under 50,000 residents, more than 550 homes were torn down and rebuilt between 2008 and 2014," according to Governing magazine's Alan Greenblatt.

Of course all this demolition has its proponents and opponents. Even some local residents like what's happening. "I don’t think you could have this experience of families with young children, unless you drive far out,” one neighbor explained to Greenblatt. She likes that it's younger families moving in. Naturally, builders and developers are loving it (follow the money, right?) and City leaders salivate over the fact that the rebuilds bring in three times the property tax revenue that they get from the Southdale Center mall.

Other residents aren’t willing to trade character for money – at any price. Think about it – when you purchase a home you’re also purchasing a neighborhood. It’s only natural for longtime residents in these neighborhoods to be resistant to the destruction of the very aspects of their neighborhood that attracted them in the first place. Especially when it's McMansions replacing the teardown.

So, witnessing the destruction of the area’s ramblers and Cape Cods to make way for larger, more modern homes causes more than just a changed complexion in Edina’s neighborhoods, it causes angst for those that lived here first.

Blame it on our schools?

Cindy Larson, the City of Edina’s residential development coordinator, claims that our excellent schools are the “driving forces of this.” New residents are, by and large, interested in living in our school district, not necessarily our existing housing stock. And our schools will benefit from the rising tax base. "In May, residents easily approved a $125 million plan to renovate all the schools and expand the high school," Greenblatt says. 

But, if the remaking of Edina continues as it has over the past few years, will our schools become overcrowded - will the quality they're so well known for diminish? No-one seems to be addressing this concern. Edina Public Schools is, however, conspicuously missing from this year's AP Honor Roll after being listed consistently for multiple years.

While most of the teardowns have been confined to eastern Edina, the Indian Hills and Countryside neighborhoods have also seen their fair share.

To purchase a rebuilt Edina home, get ready to shell out $800,000 to $1.5 million.




Creative Commons “House Demolition” by Fought70 is licensed under CC BY 3.0

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