Apartments incomplete, leaving U of M students displaced

Connie Kim and Sophie Pham were supposed to move into their new apartment with two other roommates early next month. But now, it looks like Prime Place won't be ready in time.

"I read the email three times in total because I was not able to believe what they were saying," Kim said.

Last week, the U of M seniors got an email from the under construction apartment building's management saying that due to construction delays, their apartment won't be ready until Dec. 29, instead of Sept. 2, as promised in their lease.

Management offered students four options: Move in in late December and get 30 percent off their rent or a $1,500 bonus, terminate their lease and get their security deposit back, or have Prime Place find them another place to live, which could be difficult so close to the beginning of the school year.

"I was frustrated. So lost. No idea what to do," Kim said.

The University of Minnesota's Legal Service says it has heard from 35 students representing at least 100 students affected by the delays.

Staffers are helping them find other places to live and figuring out if they have any legal recourse, like making Prime Place pay any relocation expenses.

"We've had, on occasion, a house or duplex or a unit that affected two or three students who were displaced. We've never had anything where the numbers are in the hundreds," Mark Karon, Director of the University Student Legal Service said.

Kim, Pham and their roommates found another apartment, but it will cost them each $230 extra each month for rent.

They are hoping Prime Place makes up the difference.

"No one knows what's going to happen, so we're just waiting and being patient to find out what's going to happen for us," Kim said.

This isn't the first time the developer, Elsey Partners based in Manhattan, Kansas, has had trouble meeting a construction deadline.

Students found dust, construction debris and units that weren't done at a similar Elsey development in Lincoln, Nebraska, a couple of years ago.

We did reach out to management at Prime Place, but they had no comment.