Neighbors upset over proposed development that would replace longtime Minneapolis church

A Minneapolis neighborhood is upset over plans to demolish a former church.

Como Congregational Church is located in the Como neighborhood on 14th Avenue SE and was built in the 1800s. But now there are plans to build apartments there.

Claire Christofferson has called this block of the Como neighborhood home for more than 50 years, and she remembers when the church was open and thriving.

"I've been in it several times," said Christofferson.

She and others are fighting back on a proposed development that would turn the 19th century Minneapolis church into apartments.

"A 39-bedroom rooming house, in the middle of an established residential block, is not the appropriate land use," said Larry Crawford.

Crawford said an initial effort to give the building a historic designation was shot down because modifications were made in the '50s. So, they've explored ways to reuse or adapt the church into possibly a community theater or senior center.

"It's worthwhile saving and reusing these historic parts of Minneapolis," Crawford said.

A representative from Northland Real Estate Group stressed that they've worked with the neighbors on the situation and tried to preserve the church, but said due to the integrity and layout of the building it just wasn't possible. But, he said they're excited, calling this a "unique housing option."

"I would move in a heartbeat," Christofferson said when asked if this development happens.

Demolition could take place in months, with construction starting in the fall.

"We'd feel very sad to see this go," Crawford said.

Those who live here know this piece of Minneapolis history is still standing today, and they're going to do anything to keep it that way. There is a petition online to save the church and the group plans to meet with a city councilmember on Monday.

Northland Real Estate Group said it's going to submit its land-use application to the city shortly but plans to meet with the neighborhood again to discuss these ideas.