Recent demolition of housing in Stadium Village is helping advance a plan for the University of Minnesota’s future clinical research facility.
Several housing structures along the 600 block of Erie Street Southeast, south of M Health Fairview Clinics and Surgery, were demolished earlier this month in an effort to move forward with plans for the future Clinical Research Facility. The facility would expand health resources on the eastern side of campus.
According to state documents, the facility is meant to connect clinical research units and activities that will help support education, research, training and patient care.
The demolition comes nearly a year after the units’ acquisition was approved by the Board of Regents for about $11.87 million. Administrators plan on using the land to house properties that will be displaced by the research facility, which is planned to be built on land between Frontier Hall and the M Health surgery building, said Leslie Krueger, University assistant vice president for planning, space and real estate, at the meeting last year.
Some of the properties were deemed suitable to keep as housing while others were demolished, said University spokesperson Jake Ricker. The demolished properties will be maintained as open space for the time being while the standing structures will be temporarily leased back to the seller, he said.
Rebecca Cowin, local government coordinator for the Minnesota Student Association, said tearing down housing near campus is detrimental to the student community even if it was not in the best shape.
“There's other ways to remodel or slightly update homes so that people can still be living in them without fully demolishing them,” she said. “I'm kind of wondering why anyone would be like, ‘Oh, it's better as open space than having some sort of rental property there.'”
While the housing stock for students may decrease with the demolition, plans for the facility could expand clinical resources.
Currently, a University request for state capital funding to help with the design, land acquisition, site preparation and early construction services for the facility is moving through the state Legislature.
The University has acquired other land in the area over recent months. In February, the University obtained land at a block near the corner of Ontario Street and Essex Street, Finance and Commerce reported. Last week, the regents also approved the acquisition of more land, which holds a two-and-a-half story apartment building on Erie Street Southeast, north of the current M Health building.
Some nearby residents say the University has repeatedly failed to tell them about these acquisitions, said Lynn Von Korff, a board member of the Prospect Park Association’s Land Use Committee.
“I was surprised that the University of Minnesota had not communicated with the nearby residents or PPA about their plans for Erie Street Southeast,” she said. “We still don't really know what they're planning to do with Erie Street.”
University administrators have not likely spoken to PPA, said University spokesperson Lacey Nygard.
Cowin, who lives one block away, said she was not notified.
“It was all of a sudden ... I never heard about these getting demolished until like now,” she said. “My biggest concern is that, is this signal of like, what's going to happen to a lot of the housing in that area as the University expands the clinical campus?”