We have been receiving tons of questions on the Rivoli Revival! Due to unfortunate events, the Rivoli houses will be delayed until spring 2022. Continue to keep an eye out for our updates on the project and contact us for any information about the houses.

There is some good news about the development of the Hillcrest site. Janet Leadholm has worked hard at recreating a new plan for the site and is working to get this plan out to the public for support. To view Janet’s plan in comparison to the plan the city has in place, scroll below! The photos appear small but click on them for a better view.

You can email Janet Leadholm at janleadholm@gmail.com or our Broker, Seanne Thomas, if you want more information on the development of the Hillcrest site.

As June comes to a close, we want to share some of the highlights we recognize this month.

First, June is when we celebrate Juneteenth. It marks the day the word of freedom reached the last enslaved people in Galveston Texas in 1865, more than 2 years since the emancipation proclamation was put into place. Though we celebrate Juneteenth as a victory out of enslavement, the oppression of the black community has taken many other forms that we still work tirelessly to end. Today we celebrate all the hard work of not only us, but of our ancestors.
We also celebrated the entire month in recognition of our LGBTQ+ community! Did you know that we celebrate June as Pride Month because of a black bisexual trans woman? ?️‍? It all started when Marsha P Johnson threw a brick at police in a revolt against their violence to the LGBTQ+ community.
Home ownership rates for LGBTQ+ are still low due to discrimination. Regardless, ABC Realty has worked with many people in the LGBTQ+ community to become homeowners! We also have agents who are LGBTQ+ to work personally with you!
This month we recongnize the oppression the community has faced and still faces daily, and we stand in solidarity with you ❤️?????

Many exciting updates came out of April!

First, our Broker, Seanne Thomas, got nominated as the honorable SPAAR Hero for the amazing work ABC Realty has done for the community; Particularly for our role in becoming a launchpad for young professionals starting their careers.

Click the link below to watch the video on YouTube!

Second, an update on the Village on Rivioli modular solar-powered homes:
Last month, crews started building the first two houses. The south-facing end of the house will be covered with solar panels that are expected to generate most, if not all, the power that’s used by residents.These houses are among the biggest single-family affordable developments in St.Paul for decades. Buyers can earn no more than 80% of the local area median income. For a family of four, that’s $78,500, and the houses will be priced less than $250,000. But just because it’s affordable, doesn’t mean it can’t be quality! With a star architect and high-end materials and construction techniques, the project shatters many of the stereotypes about the quality and character of affordable housing.


Lastly, ABC Realty is teaming up with YardHomes MN to bring you a new type of unit coming to the Twin Cities! Their spacious, single level unit is great if you’re looking for a gorgeous newly built home at a fraction of the cost.  This can potentially be used as an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) on your property to use as an office space, guest-house, or space for a son or daughter moving back home. Even if you love your current home, what’s better than a get-away? Use this up-north as your family cabin!


After a full year in the pandemic, how is the spring 2021 real estate market? Like so many other industries, the housing market was not exempt from Covid-19’s effects. Remarkably, the residential real estate market (including existing homes and new construction) has flourished over the last twelve months. Sales are up, prices are appreciating, and more new homes are being built. The housing market has been a pillar of strength in an otherwise slowly recovering economy. New listings and showings are up since last year, and homes in St. Paul receives 6 offers on average and sells in around 31.5 days. This is down from an average of 41 days on the market in 2020 and 45 days in 2019! The average sale price of a home in St. Paul was $238K last month, up 6.3% since last year. The average sale price per square foot in St. Paul is $164, up 10.4% since last year. The market is clearly still in the seller’s favor. Home prices continue to rise while interest rates remain low and home buyers continue to chase opportunities to buy a house. Buyers who wait for price reductions or open houses will miss out. We have never seen anything like the current housing market, but we hope it is here to stay! Stay tuned for upcoming listings on the Village on Rivoli and  across Scattered Sites this Spring 2021.


February is Black History Month, an annual celebration which calls on all Americans to reflect on the significant roles that African-Americans have played in shaping US history. We take this time to celebrate being the only black female owned full service brick and mortar brokerage in the Twin Cities.

 As ABC Realty is expanding, we are becoming known as a launch pad to young professionals starting their career. Empowering young adults to find and keep meaningful employment through mentorship, guided community justice work, and career navigation. 

We have two new POC members, Mikayla Patrick and Monet Auguston! Mikayla is the new Operations and Social Media Manager and Monet is our newest Agent on the sales team. As members they will have the opportunity to utilize all of the resources the Brokerage presents.  

While we are excited to gain members, we are also losing a few valued parts of our team. Mhonpaj, Ismail and Ben will no longer be working for this brokerage; though they will all still work with the lovely East Side community in other facets. 

Mhonpaj, one of our highest esteemed Realtors, was a top producer as a six figure agent, bringing 104k in commissions last year alone. You can find Mhonpaj at Home Sellers Realty, or at her farm which has been infamously named “Mhonpaj’s Garden.” 

Ismail, one of our Operations Managers, can be found working as an Engagement Specialist with Minnesota HomeOwnership Center continuing the work for equity and equality for the East Side.

Ben, our other Operations Manager, will continue working as the leader of the East Side Housing Justice Coalition which stemmed directly out of ABC Realty’s justice work. He is based out of the East Side Freedom Library, which has a mission to inspire solidarity, advocating for justice and work toward equity for all. 

Both Ben and Ismail’s new positions are a direct result of the amazing justice work they were able to accomplish through ABC Realty. The Brokerage is a platform to mold and build young professionals, allowing them to get the real life experience they need to put on their resumes and expand into their future.  

Rooted in community, ABC Realty is vested in giving opportunities to both community members and people of color,  making sure they are represented in the work we do here. 

When you support this Brokerage, you are supporting the work we do to uplift and change the lives of young people in the community. 

Recently the National Association of REALTORS released a public apology for their participation in systemic racism. NAR recognized and apologized for their promotion and practice of racist practices such as steering, redlining and the support of racial covenants. They even went as far to admit their upholding of discriminatory practices in their code of ethics from 1924 to 1974. NAR has not only apologized but in January they unveiled their Fair Housing ACT! Plan linked here. This plan aims to right the wrongs and address ongoing forms of discrimination in Real Estate. What are some issues around race you think should be addressed in housing? If you’d like to learn more the full article is attached here.

Next Thursday ABC Realty will be participating in Give to the Max day! November 19th we will participate in a Quiz Bowl challenge hosted by our longtime collaborator the East Side Freedom Library. All donations will go to them during their Unmapping Saint Paul showdown. There will be two teams, relators vs.. local politicians, who will duke it out to see who knows more about Saint Paul. The event is 100% online and will be held on Facebook live. We encourage you to attend and donate if you can. The East Side Freedom Library has done a lot of great work on the East Side and throughout the metro. If you’d like to learn more follow the link attached here. We look forward to seeing you there!

The census is upon us again and this year Minnesota has a lot on the line. Minnesota saw a huge population decline after the 2008 Market Crash. The decline was so bad that this year we may lose one of our congressional seats. In the last decade however, Minnesota has seen an increase in population. From 2010 to 2019 we have grown by 300,000 people. Even though this isn’t enough to offset the loss of population we experienced in the late 2000’s it is still a good trend! The most fascinating aspect of this growth is where it is coming from. Of the 300,000 new residents 2/3rds of them come from natural population growth. Natural growth meaning births that exceed the amount of deaths in the state. The other third of the population growth comes from recent immigrants from Africa and Asia. Of the three forms of population growth, in state migration is the one we fall behind in. Although 2017 and 2018 provided Minnesota with a positive in state migration, it isn’t enough to offset the losses from earlier in the last decade. When we look at this data we should keep one thing in mind, immigration plays a huge part in Minnesota’s history and present day reality. As our state continues to become more diverse what are some things you think needs to change about our attitudes and culture in Minnesota?

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Ricky at Mosaic Christian Community. Mosaic has been doing some interesting things in the community. For example, they started a program where houseless single mothers can use Mosaic’s parking lot to stay in their cars overnight. Recently there has been a new feature in Mosaic’s parking lot, tiny homes! Like many residents, we were curious as to why there were tiny homes parked at Mosaic. It turns out that Mosaic has partnered with a local organization Settled that constructs tiny homes to house homeless people. In speaking Ricky I found out that Mosaic was contacted by Settled to help them with this project. Going beyond just housing homeless folks settled seeks to create community. In the six tiny homes that will be placed on Mosaic’s lot, two of them will be inhabited by people who were not homeless. “don’t look at it as just a tiny home or some church in a neighborhood, all people are welcome here!” Ricky stated on our call. Like Mosaic, Settled puts community first and that is why it is so important that people housed become part of it. Ricky told me that those housed are already connected to Settled and have been selected by the organization for placement. Residents will pay rent and utilities, this is a long term solution as opposed to short term shelter. When I asked Ricky why Settled uses churches to build their tiny homes he said it’s due to the fact that there are federal exemptions that allow them to build. As of now, there are still more tiny homes being built at Mosaic. I asked Ricky if there was one thing you could say to everyone reading what would it be? he told me that “You are worth it and we love you”, fitting words for an institution that is a cornerstone of its neighborhood. If you’d like to learn more about Mosaic Christian Community or Settled I’ve attached links below!

Mosaic Christian Community


With the big cities becoming more and more expensive we are seeing a trend of younger people moving to some unexpected places. This trend of young migrants shouldn’t be surprising as the cost of living in cities like New York and San Francisco have become frankly unaffordable. You may be asking yourself, where are these young folks moving to? It turns out that many are moving to Minnesota! Cities like Rochester and Minneapolis have seen huge a huge influx of young people looking for opportunities. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as Minnesota has reasonably affordable rent, a blooming tech industry, and is often reported as one of the safest states to live in. If you are interested in learning more about this topic please follow this link to our friends at porch.com who have a deeper analysis!

In this continuation of our last blog post we will discuss potential solutions to the problem of policing, property, and racial inequality in Minnesota. For a quick recap, we discussed the intersection between Housing and Policing by looking at the history of Policing in the United States. Policing started not as a system to protect the citizenry but rather the property of business owners and later government institutions. If you haven’t already, please read part one of this series as we will be discussing potential solutions for the problems put forth in part one.

How can we as a community prevent something like the murder of George Floyd from occurring again? If you have been following the news surrounding Minneapolis city council’s plan to disband the police department then you know the current sentiments and arguments going forward. While it is important to acknowledge the role of policing in the betterment of Black lives in Minnesota we must also acknowledge the other facets of Black life here.

Here at ABC Realty we recognize the impact home ownership has on nearly all of the facets of life as highlighted by the NAACP. Having stable housing is necessary for future success. It’s known that a large portion of White-American’s wealth can be directly traced to home ownership. This makes sense because owning a home is an asset as opposed to renting a home. According to the NAACP’s report, In 2017 the median household income for White people living in the Twin Cities was $82,371, compared to $39,851 for Black residents. When compared to home ownership we can see a correlation where White Minnesotan’s own homes at 71.6%, which is above the national average, compared to 24% for Black Minnesotans, which is well below the national average for Black-Americans at 41.7%. If we look at rent payments we see they account for at least 30% of annual household income for more than half of Black renters (55%) and 43% of White renters. With the higher proportion of Black renters we can see that much of the wealth of Black Minnesotans is leaving their households.

While those statistics are jarring many of you may be asking yourselves how is home ownership going to stop the police from killing Black people? With stable housing and home ownership Black Minnesotans are provided one, an asset which has the potential to grow. Two, a stable housing not subject to the whims of a landlord. And Three, a stable address which is necessary for both employment, voting, and education. With the vote for dismantling MPD potentially coming to the ballots this November it is more important than ever for Black Minnesotans to have a say in this decision. This coupled with community based policing could very well change the landscape of the Twin Cities forever.

There are many hurdles preventing Black Minnesotans from becoming homeowners, from insensitive credit systems to unfair Unlawful Detainer laws. One immediate and often unrecognized issue showed its face in the reporting of the burning of East Lake Street. For those of you who followed the Burning of East Lake street, you may have seen pundits remark at how the protesters were burning their own neighborhood. Many of these one dimensional arguments neglect to highlight the fact that East Lake street is a neighborhood in the middle of being gentrified. Much like Payne Avenue in St. Paul’s Eastside, East Lake street was a neighborhood left by Minneapolis to fend for itself with little investment from the city up until recently. Within the last decade East Lake street has transformed from a primarily immigrant and lower income neighborhood to one that is seeing an overwhelming influx of high end developers and young professionals. While we advocate that a healthy neighborhood looks like one with a variety of incomes and backgrounds, it is obvious to see that East Lake is not veritable ‘jungle’ but rather a neighborhood with a rapidly changing ‘climate’. With the sudden investment and prioritization of new migrants over old tenants, old East Lake street is seeing many of its residents fleeing gentrification. Instead of affected communities staying in their neighborhoods and having a say in what happens there we see them unable to live there due to rising costs.

Again we come to the question of what can we do to combat this? With the ‘this’ turning into something resembling the mythological hydra as opposed to simple police brutality. The solution, at least the one we practice here at ABC Realty, is to get people into their own homes. Our realtors at ABC Realty reflect our community which is primarily of color and lower income. Between 85%-95% of our buyers are first time home buyers, 90%-98% are people of color, and our average sale price hovers around $240,000 compared to the median sale price of $295,000. By working within our community we are ensuring that the people that live here can make roots here and ensure that they continue to contribute to what makes this community attractive, whilst also holding our elected and appointed officials accountable for ensuring our safety.

That being said, we still acknowledge that home ownership is not the only solution nor is it realistic for everyone. That is why, through our work in East side Housing Justice, we have attempted to tackle housing issues from as many angles as possible through our film series’s to having representatives speak at panels. Having a place to call home is not exclusive to property owners and home ownership is just one facet for addressing housing inequality within the Twin Cities. If you are interested in learning more about other housing issues, follow East Side Housing Justice on Facebook and read this article about Minneapolis’ new zoning laws that allow for more gentrification to take place.

Why here? A question that has rung all over the twin cities in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. With the destruction of East Lake Street in Minneapolis many are asking why. 

In May Minneapolis became something none of us could have foreseen. The murder of George Floyd sparked not only outrage in the metro area but accross the nation and world. With protests and demonstrations still occurring globally the George Floyd protests are potentially the largest public demonstrations in recorded history. A common question floating around the now epicenter of the protests is, “Why here? Why Minnesota?” Minnesota is known as a progressive, welcoming, and safe state synonymous with “Minnesota Nice”. 

According to a report from the NAACP’s Minnesota and the Dakotas chapter, Minnesota is ranked among the worst places for Black people to live. In every facet of life Black-Minnesotans are severely behind, especially in home ownership. 

You may be asking yourself, what does home ownership have to do with the murder of George Floyd? He was killed by police officers, not some deviant group of marauding homeowners. While home ownership is not the catalyst behind this phenomenon it is still very important and is tied with policing in America. 

The first official police department in the United States was founded in Boston in 1838. Before that in the Northern US there were two forms of policing. The watch which usually consisted of citizens who were being punished for affronts to the community, and private security, which merchants and other tradesmen used. In the south the primary form of policing took the form of slave catchers, who’s name is pretty self explanatory. 

Why did we change from loose and decentralized policing institutions to centralized government controlled ones? Dr. Gary Potter has done research on this topic and notes that in the 1830’s the US was shifting from an agrarian society to an urban one. A running theory is that due to the rapid urbanization police forces were needed to quell the upsurge in violence. Dr. Potter refutes this with data that doesn’t support the claim. Rather, the cause for policing comes from the interest to protect capital. Two of the three aforementioned policing entities dealt with the protection of capital and are by no coincidence the ancestors of the United States police force.

Now that we have established that policing in the United States was not formed on the basis of public good but private property, let’s look at the George Floyd case. Mr. Floyd was apprehended because he was accused of violating the property of the US, it’s currency, through forgery. Police protect property, home ownership being an extent of that; Black-Minnesotans don’t own that much property. Minneapolis is the largest city in one of the worst states for Black-Americans to live so it is really no surprise as to why the uprising started here. 

Now that this tragedy has happened how can we address the inequality here? Next week we will discuss solutions to the problems Black-Minnesotans face in our blog post! 


We will be contacting you shortly with information about your home.