College's bougie neighborhood sees few foreclosures

By David Hertz

While the economic crisis and ensuing foreclosures have in some places destroyed home values and torn neighborhoods apart, it has had little impact on Macalester’s surrounding Macalester-Groveland and Merriam Park neighborhoods, according to High Winds Fund Director Tom Welna.According to Welna, the neighborhoods’ high levels of education and large number of workers with jobs in higher education and state government has insulated it from the economic downturn.

“This is the Twin Cities not Detroit, we’re not making cars here,” he said. “If there is an impact it’s not that severe.”

Still, there might be future consequences for Macalester neighborhoods.

“We’re 45 to 60 days into economic shock,” Welna said. “It’s going to take [another year or two] before we have a true sense of the impact.”

Statistics on foreclosures were unavailable at a neighborhood level, but the Twin Cities overall were less affected by the increase in foreclosures last year, according to RealtyTrac, an online real estate company. In a report made in January, the company ranked the Twin Cities 60 out of the 100 largest US metropolitan areas in the effect of foreclosures.

The High Winds Fund, founded in 1956 to invest in real estate in Macalester’s nearby neighborhoods, has also been insulated from the dowturn, Welna said. Only one of the Fund’s commercial properties is currently vacant, he added.