My name is 3205 Longfellow Ave. This afternoon, the city of Minneapolis will tack a sign on me that says condemned, despite the unusual involvement of neighborhood residents since the bank foreclosed on the Ecuadoran family that called me home. They’re gone now, but I’m still here. So are my neighbors, who are worried I’ll bring down what they’ve worked hard to build in the Corcoran neighborhood.
They say I’m a “tipping point on a tipping point block.” They have big plans for me and dozens of others in this neighborhood that could be a model for solving the foreclosure problem nationwide. But none of them can go anywhere until the bank that owns me answers the telephone.
A lot of folks bet on Corcoran a few years ago when light-rail, and the Midtown YWCA came along. The home values here were still considered affordable. Then the market collapsed and people lost their homes — at least three on this block that I can see from here. And a couple dozen others in the neighborhood.
I’ve been empty for eight months. I’m missing a back door and two windows. So the city is going to condemn me, which changes my chance of survival because after condemnation, the requirements for living in me change and it will cost my new owners another $100,000 to fix me up. Fat chance.
Last Sunday night neighbors met to form a group to find a solution for the foreclosure problem here. Someone who can work with a banker with good sense, maybe help put a non-profit together to put in sweat equity for new owners.
Yesterday, one of them, Bob Milner — he lives across the street — called the bank — Wells Fargo.
“You can’t get a person to talk to you,” he said last night. “I kept getting transferred to people in other states. There’s no one in charge. I was in no-man’s land. It’s unbelievably stupid and incredibly bad business. You can’t find a person to talk to about buying a decent house. The bank is losing its own money.”
And doing a good job of it. Wells-Fargo, the second-largest mortgage lender in the country said last week its home- equity losses are likely to increase in the fourth quarter and get worse next year.
Maybe the turnaround can begin with a door and two windows.
Or answering the telephone.