Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Friday, February 09, 2007

Condo Conversions - the end

An immensely toned-down and modest version of the Condo Conversion ordinance I have worked on for months failed on a 7-6 vote in today's Council meeting.

Those voting for protecting low-income renters and condo buyers: myself and Council Members Samuels, Glidden, Schiff, Remington and Hodges.

Those voting to do absolutely nothing to protect condo buyers and low-income renters: Council Members Ostrow, Hofstede, Johnson, Lilligren, Goodman, Benson and Colvin Roy.

The majority on the Council has apparently decided that they want our city to be less progressive and less compassionate than Folsom, CA, the State of Connecticut, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, CA, Manhattan Beach, CA, San Diego, CA, and Seattle, WA.

I wish I could have done a better job educating and convincing at least one more of my colleagues that we need to do a better job regulating this industry and protecting consumers (both tenants and condominium buyers). My fellow supporters and I knew that this compromise version offered us the best hope to strengthen our private-public partnership with the industry and fulfill our responsibility as elected officials to protect our residents from the free market that too often (at least in the case of condominium conversion) puts desire for profits before the needs of people.


At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, or maybe it failed because it should have. We have enough government intrusion in the market. Building owners should be able to decide what to do with their PRIVATE PROPERTY without facing a litany of requirements and extra costs.

Unfortunately for nanny-state leftists, this is still America.

At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there--I just moved into Mpls and am still learning about the politics of the city. I started reading through the proposal you cited, but it's a bit too much legalese for me. Can you post a brief summary of the major points of the proposal? Though it's been voted down, I would still like to learn about the proposal.

--Steve (

At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Robin Garwood said...


The original proposal would have done the following:

1) Require developers to get a conversion permit from the City, so that we could collect good data on condo conversions (which is sorely lacking now, as the Council debate proves). This would have required a permit fee to cover the necessary staff time.

2) Conduct a Reserve Fund Study. State law requires that developers leave new condo associations with an "adequate" reserve fund, but does not define "adequate." Thus, the study would have made State law meaningful and actionable, protecting condo buyers.

3) Required that developers pay relocations (originally three months, then compromised down to one) to residents of currently-affordable buildings displaced by conversions.

4) Required that developers do something to offset the loss of affordable housing to condo conversions, when they convert currently-affordable housing. This section was deleted from the final compromise that the Council voted down.

At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Increased residential ownership should be the logical goal of any decaying urban core.

Instead, clueless "liberal" facists promote low income, low responsiblity lifestyles that only benefit suburban slumlords and completely undermine the concept of stable, livable communities.

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