CPM Companies' Daniel Oberpriller gave his word. In writing.
In letters to tenants of the apartment building CPM owns at 2533 Third Ave. S., Oberpriller, a principal of one of Minneapolis' larger developers, wrote in late May that "we have no plans to change your rent.…"
His words had been prompted by a bit of public relations and, most likely, political necessity.
Residents of the 15-unit building, in the shadow of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, are overwhelmingly Latino. They'd received notices from their landlord in April. The letters said that current renters could either sign new one-year leases, with rent increases for some of more than 75 percent, or move out by June 30. Owners were also imposing new charges for pets and parking.
But Oberpriller must not have foreseen what would happen next. A group called Whittier Housing Justice! organized a community meeting in opposition. The crowd numbering close to 100 people inside the SpringHouse Community Center on May 22 included City Council member Lisa Bender, whose Ward 10 covers the Whittier neighborhood.
She also chairs the City Planning Commission.
Bender's panel is in the process of deciding whether to grant CPM variances and rezoning of five northeast Minneapolis properties in order to build a new 110-unit apartment building. The city's decision will come at its meeting later today.
The day after the Housing Justice! gathering, Bender posted on Facebook that she'd spoken to CPM: "I talked again with [a CPM principal] this morning and he has committed to contacting all the tenants today and telling them he will leave rents flat."
Turns out now that's not true.
CPM notified tenants last week that come "September 1st the rent price will increase to proposed rents." According to Oberpriller's email, the new prices will be "850.00 for 1 bedrooms" and "1050.00 for 2 bedrooms."
These new dollar figures are as much as $100 higher than the existing rates Oberpriller had said the company had "no plans to change."
Oberpriller and Bender both did not return repeated messages seeking comment.
A rally is planned for this morning outside CPM offices on West Lake Street "to remind Oberpriller of his promise to" his tenants.
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