Oh my, I had another hissy fit today. Every day, I get zillow postings of homes for sale. Today was this, the one above, here in Red Wing.

13,257 square feet

$2,495,000 price (good luck with that!)

And I wondered who would own this edifice to conspicuous consumption?

Naaah, not Thorsten Veblen. Turns out it’s the Baartman of Keller-Baartman Properties, developers in Red Wing, and elsewhere too.

Ain’t capitalism grand?!?!

Here’s their vacancy map:

Every time we head over to Mayo-Red Wing, and that’s OFTEN until lately, the route on Tyler is right past two of the Keller-Baartman buildings, and I’ve looked at their site with photos, showing the rents. Right now — 60 vacancies in Red Wing — folks are not lining up to rent these apartments:

The City Council approved these apartments, granted developers TIF corporate welfare, and meanwhile, the Council denied a proposal for “affordable” housing (that needed rezoning approval) just on the other side of Tyler. On seeing that “home” for sale, URP! So I sent a missive to the City Council because this is such an extreme example of how our society is SO screwed up.

Sent today to City Council, Mayor, and some staff:

All –

Did ya see this listing?

This is Baartman’s “house.” Baartman of Keller-Baartman.

The Council has approved Keller-Baartman apartment developments in Red Wing, approved building of apartments that are absurdly over-priced. Just over $1,000 a month for a STUDIO,and one right now , a STUDIO, for $1,525!  For a 2 Br, $1,595 at 540Tyler, and $1,465 at 520Tyler.

I believe all of you “own” homes, that none are renters. How many of you are paying less than that $1,030 on your homes? If you are a renter, how much rent are you paying, and for what? Home “values” have shot through the roof. A home purchased right now listed at ~$240k (our zestimate is $239,9, rent zestimate $2,450, ReFi $1,228. HA!), that $240k 3-4 br house has a payment of ~$1,500. Your likely 3+ bedroom homes purchased quite a while ago will likely have much lower monthly payments, and many/most of you are of the age to have paid off your 30 year mortgage, so no mortgage payment. Take a short walk in renters’ shoes.

60 vacancies in their Red Wing properties. https://www.kbproperties.org/vacancies

Meanwhile, as you’re permitting these high-priced apartments, you deny permitting of “affordable” housing on the other side of Tyler, which by my standards (and yours too if you had to pay it monthly?), is NOT affordable. How do you justify this?

Would you rent these options? 60 vacancies means people are not lining up at the door. Isn’t that sufficient proof that that type of housing is NOT needed?!?! NOT wanted? Yet these developers get obscenely rich exploiting regular folks who have nowhere else to go. A 13,257 sq ft. house offered for $2,495,000 is a clear demonstration of lack of balance that the Council is facilitating, enabling.

I realize it’s not “ALL” of you, but enough of you vote to pass and deny these projects.

You are ostensibly in office to represent not just the interests of your demographic, and of those who voted for you, but the interests of ALL of your constituents.  In this case, you should be mindful of all your constituents who are renters. Consider the higher than average percentage of those not voting who are renters! Hmmmm, funny how that works. Renters in your districts ARE your constituents and deserve consideration.

Red Wing needs truly affordable housing, not housing deemed “affordable” by bar napkin calculations. Red Wing does have some “1st time home-buyers” resources, but the cost of housing stock here is obscene and beyond the reach of too many. The Council needs to be mindful of the struggles of regular folks trapped in full-time jobs that don’t pay enough to get out of the renting quicksand. Red Wing needs more affordable rental housing and increased resources for renters to move into home ownership. Home ownership is the most stabilizing force in communities, because then people have a very literal investment in community.

Carol A. Overland, Ward 2 resident, grateful my house is paid off, and homeless if I had to rent or buy a house these days but for the option of affordable hamster-habitats downtown.

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