Minneapolis begins effort to demolish abandoned houses

Foreclosure demolition
Neighborhood activists say demolition is the only option for some for some of the foreclosed homes in north Minneapolis, where decay or vandalism makes rehabilitation an untenable option.
MPR Photo/Dan Olson

The city of Minneapolis is launching a new program aimed at clearing abandoned properties.

The first of 100 blighted buildings will be demolished today in north Minneapolis.

There are about 950 abandoned buildings in the city. Officials say the number has swelled in recent years, as the housing foreclosure crisis has worsened.

Henry Reimer, Minneapolis director of inspections, said they are targeting the most dangerous properties for removal.

"These are the 100 worst in the city and the reason it's important to abate these nuisances and to get these properties torn down is that they profoundly affect the livability of our neighborhoods," Reimer said.

Reimer said demolition costs an average of $17,000 each. Hennepin County is contributing more than a million dollars to help pay for the program.

Officials say they hope to recover about 70 percent of the $1.7 million total cost by charging fees to delinquent property owners.

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