Photographs by Chad Holder and Caitlin Abrams
Melissa and Kevin Coleman and their daughter, Hallie.
Melissa and Kevin Coleman and their daughter, Hallie.
Snapshot: Melissa and Kevin Coleman and their daughter, Hallie.
Where: A modern farmhouse in Seward.
What’s to love: “Here, you can live in the city with a family,” Melissa says. “We love living near people from all walks of life.”
One of the tenets of the Seward neighborhood is “to foster a community where neighbors know each other,” according to the neighborhood group’s website. And that’s one of the reasons Connecticut transplants Melissa and Kevin Coleman decided to move here a year ago. The couple bought a lot just steps from the Mississippi River without Melissa ever having seen it. “I knew we would be within walking distance of the co-op, and that’s all I needed to know,” says the food blogger. Because of its proximity to the University of Minnesota, Seward has long attracted professors and other academia, but as people move closer to the river, the appeal is broadening. A bustling business district along Franklin Avenue has boosted interest here with mainstays like the Seward Community Co-op and newcomers like the Co-op Creamery where the lunch-goers can sit at the bar and read from the books there to borrow, like Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The local bookstore, Boneshaker Books, is run by an all-volunteer staff, and Growing Lots Urban Farm operates a 1-acre CSA site and market garden here. As one of the oldest neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Seward has restored homes from the late 19th century that have National Historic Preservation status. Homes here are still affordable: The median sales price in 2015 was $191,639.
For the Colemans, who built a new home on a street where a parking garage and multi-story apartment building are only steps away, there’s no place they’d rather be. “I love being around a ton of people,” Melissa says. “I love the activity. It’s like we’re on a skinny plot of land and the backyard looks like Brooklyn.”
Schmidt Artist Lofts’ lobby
You know what they say: First come the artists. In the case of West 7th Street, they arrived en masse three years ago, thanks to a $120 million renovation that transformed an 1855 brick brewery—the perfect historic icon for this solid working-class neighborhood—into the live-work rentals known as the Schmidt Artist Lofts. Of course, these creators plug into the existing community, whether nabbing affordable fixer-uppers, running galleries, painting murals, or simply patronizing the increasingly eclectic mix of businesses along the corridor (think gourmet donut shop, vintage oddities bazaar, and community acupuncture clinic). Bad Weather Brewing Company is one of the more recent to hit the scene, transforming an auto repair shop into a taproom that throws its garage doors open on sunny St. Paul days. And the West 7th list of things to come is long, including a multimillion-dollar mixed-use development already underway across from the Xcel and the old Seven Corners Hardware site, a year-round indoor-outdoor market and park taking shape in the historic brewery’s keg house, and the looming certainty of some kind of public transit along the corridor, connecting St. Paul with the airport. Then, cue the arrival of everyone else, which will likely mean an even greater rise in home prices—median home prices were $169,900 last year (an increase of 64 percent since 2011).
Lulu’s Market and Deli and Whole Foods in Union Park.
Union Park ranks high among those who feel most at home with a fascinating jumble of differences. But first, let’s define Union Park, shall we? Though it’s been nearly a decade since the neighborhood first graced city maps, even longtime St. Paulites don’t recognize this official name for the collection of smaller ’hoods (Merriam Park, Snelling-Hamline, and Lexington-Hamline among them) that sit halfway between our twin downtowns, running between the Mississippi River to the west and Lexington Avenue to the east, between University and Summit avenues. It’s full of renters and homeowners, college students and immigrants, tree-lined neighborhoods and dumpy Midway strip malls, Summit Avenue mansions, luxury condos, and Skyline Tower, one of the largest HUD apartment buildings in the state. Plenty of variety. Plenty of change. The Selby-Snelling area has been classed up significantly in the last decade or so, with Vintage on Selby luxury apartments atop a brand-spankin’ new Whole Foods, upscale shops such as Primp and Karma, facelifts for longtime businesses like Lula Vintage Wear and Lulu’s Market & Deli, and more and more places to eat. (Coming soon: Augustine’s Bar & Bakery, from the people behind the Happy Gnome, opening in an old cleaning business between Selby and Fairview.) In June, the A Line Rapid Bus Transit will traverse Snelling to connect the Green Line with the Blue Line, and the City of St. Paul recently secured 5 acres of vacant lots just south of the Green Line near North Griggs Street, which will up this historically park-poor area’s green space. The new soccer stadium site should help in that area, too, potentially transforming the current urban wasteland at the intersection of I-94 and Snelling into an oasis of housing, entertainment, and parkland. Very Union Park.
Mark and Naomi Sorvari with son, Leo.
Snapshot: Mark and Naomi Sorvari with son, Leo. where: A bungalow in the West Side (St. Paul).
Median home price: $150,000.
What’s to love: “We like the quietness of the West Side, the beautiful scenery from the bluffs near the High Bridge, and the nice, quick access to Stillwater, Hastings, and Red Wing,” Mark says.
The Sunday farmers’ market knits neighbors together.
Cuppa Java and a grocer selling organic foods are big draws.
St. Anthony Park
A hamlet of homes and a civic community.