On the cover of the November ForRent.com magazine is a photo of two bikini-clad White women in a swimming pool with drinks in hands. It is an advertisement for an apartment complex called the Concierge. Problem is, these two women could not be living at the Concierge, because it does not exist.
What the Concierge currently is and has been for a very long time is Crossroads on Penn in Richfield, one of the largest apartment complexes in Minnesota with over 700 one-bedroom apartments. By the looks of the photos in ForRent.com, the goal for the new owner is to make Concierge an upscale White hipster building that does not rent to “undesirables.”
New owner Jim Soderberg who is redeveloping the property said in the Star Tribune November, 17, 2015, “When you get to the point that things are so rundown you attract undesirable residents.” This is a racist statement since 75 percent of Crossroads was low-income people of color. He has forced most tenants out with rapid rental increases. This is the largest mass-eviction of renters in the history of Minnesota, and it happened right at the start of the winter.
This type of treatment of renters has to stop. Stray cats and dogs are treated better. Renters are treated like cash machines and once their cash is no longer wanted they are thrown out into the street.
Even though these “undesirables” provided over half a million in cash flow each month from the previous landlord, he still would not provide them with any long-term protection in a lease. It’s all up to the landlord. These are scary conditions to have to live with day after day, worrying if you will be out in the street in 30 days.
The previous landlord knew his building would be harder to sell if he had Section 8 and other low-income residents locked into long-term leases, so cruel after all the wealth the renters gave to the landlords. Renters pay for everything and also create a lot of cash and equity that grows over time, and the renters get none of this property wealth.
The wealth that the previous landlord made from not just the rents but also the final big cash out — the selling of the building for millions is sickening. It’s sickening that he could not give his renters some protection.
Many in Richfield are happy that Crossroads will be gone; they feel they had too many low-income residents compared to other suburban cities. How does this work, that people who are not poor believe their wealth somehow gives them power over those without wealth, that they can control poor people’s movement? What a burden, having to be around poor people, as if low-income people are like chickens and you can only have a certain amount of them within your city limits.
Frank Erickson lives in Minneapolis.