Loyal Southwest Voices reader David Brauer suggested we run a feature series on long-vacant lots in southwest Minneapolis back in October 2022. We took him up on it and published a short piece on the lot that inspired his call to action. Then we dropped the ball, despite an impressive number of responses to the Twitter list we put together on Brauer’s suggestion.

We’ve picked up the project again, ready to give the people what they want: the lowdown on a curated selection of southwest Minneapolis properties that have sat vacant for years, if not decades.

We start where we left off, with the empty triple lot at 3723-3729 Nicollet Avenue.

#1: 3723-3729 Nicollet Ave.

3723-3729 Nicollet Ave. on March 14. Photo by Melody Hoffmann

Location: 3723, 3725, and 3729 Nicollet Ave.

Value of lot: $288,200 (2023)

Owner: Isidro Perez & Araceli Perez — Isidro Perez also owns Cinco de Mayo Market / La Casa Market at 3733 Nicollet Ave.


Back in the early 20th century, this 0.33-acre lot had at least three dwelling structures on it.
It’s not clear when the house at 3723 Nicollet went up. The earliest building permit record in City archives dates to 1903. In 1905, the owner put a 12’ x 20’ addition on the front. Significant alterations followed in 1920 and 1929, but their purpose isn’t clear. The final entry: a wrecking permit for Oct. 6, 1970.

We do know when the house at 3725 Nicollet was built: 1905, per City records. A major addition — perhaps a three-season porch — followed in 1915. In 1951, the owner added a storefront larger than the original dwelling. Though there’s no real clue as to the store’s purpose, building permit records list several neon signs.

The house and store survived the 1970s, when Minneapolis’s historic building permit archives peter out, but Google Street View archives show it vacant dating back to 2007.

The duplex at 3729 Nicollet was built in 1906. Its history isn’t as eventful as its neighbors’, but the owner did make the questionable decision to install an air conditioning unit in 1967 (cost: $1,600, or $14,774 in today’s dollars). Seven years later, they — or whoever owned the building at that time — paid $1,500 to knock it down.

Known development plans

None known. In 2022, Araceli Perez told Southwest Voices that the family “plans to build on it however not in the immediate future.” Perez didn’t respond to a request for an update on the timing.

Potential future

This part of Nicollet is zoned for relatively intense mixed-use development, so a site of this size could theoretically support dozens of housing units in a single building.

#2: 2116 Nicollet Ave.

2116 Nicollet Ave. on March 12. Photo by Anna Koenning

Location: 2116 Nicollet Ave.

Value of lot: $171,800

Owner: Whittier Alliance


This 0.22-acre Whittier lot has been vacant at least since 2007, according to Google Street View archives.

In the more distant past, the property was actually two separate lots: 2116 and 2118 Nicollet. Minneapolis building permit records contain various references to “hospital,” “health institute,” “mortuary,” “house,” “rooming house,” and “flats,” suggesting a bevy of uses dating back to the 1890s. But a 1937 survey shows only a modest-looking house and garage.

Known development plans

Whittier Alliance purchased 2116 Nicollet in March 2021 as part of its mission to “purchase and develop property in the neighborhood for community benefit.” After a lengthy RFP process, Whittier Alliance selected Alliance Housing Inc. as its development partner for the site.

Alliance Housing’s working name for the project is 2116 Nicollet Ave. Apartments. The site plan calls for a mixed-use building with 54 affordable apartments, including 24 single-room occupancy units to house people transitioning from homelessness, and 4,200 square feet of commercial space available for lease.

Alliance Housing and Whittier Alliance plan to co-locate their offices alongside the building’s housing component, according to Alliance Housing’s 2023 annual report.

A City of Minneapolis housing project data worksheet released in late 2023 pegs the anticipated total development cost at $23.9 million.

Potential future

As of March 2024 the site remains vacant and undisturbed.

“We are in the design phase, but that is moving slowly as we are still working with [Alliance Housing] on securing funding,” Whittier Alliance Communications and Administrative Associate Willow Rheault Kreibich said in an email.

As the financing process progresses, Alliance Housing hopes to submit a building application to the City this summer, Executive Director Jessie Hendel said in an email.

Whittier Alliance and Alliance Housing will share project updates through their respective newsletters and at Whittier Alliance’s Housing and Land Use Committee meetings, Kreibich said.

#3: 4111 Blaisdell Ave.

4111 Blaisdell Ave. on March 12. Photo by Melody Hoffmann

Location: 4111 Blaisdell Ave.

Value of lot: $199,000

Owner: Kathleen R. Hill, a Longfellow resident


The overgrown 0.24-acre lot at 4111 Blaisdell has been vacant since at least 2007, according to Google Street View archives.

Further back, a modest house built in 1908 and garage built in 1920 stood on the property. The house’s history isn’t particularly eventful, with no structural additions in permitting records and no record of its demolition. A city records search reveals four permits issued in 2021 that appear related to stabilizing the depression and securing water and sewer lines serving the site. The depression left by the house’s foundation remains visible near the street.

Known development plans

None known. David Brauer, who once lived in the area and served with Hill on the neighborhood board, told Southwest Voices that the house wasn’t kept up over the years and was eventually condemned.

“I know she talked of rebuilding there, but I doubt it will ever happen,” he said.

Potential future

The 4100 block is a quiet residential street with mostly single-family homes, but it’s just a block off bustling Nicollet Ave. If and when the 2040 Plan is restored, it could support a duplex or triplex, if not an even larger multi-unit structure.

The Vacant Lots of Southwest series will continue on a monthly basis. If there are vacant lots or buildings you are curious about, leave a comment below this story or email us at info@southwestvoices.news.