Como Park Bee Skyrise Sparks Fears of Hive Gentrification


Saint Paul, MN — The installation of an artist-designed four-foot-tall “sky rise” condo building for pollinators has local hives abuzz, with some bees excited about the luxury living conditions and some fearing a sweep of gentrification changing the landscapes around the parks and lakes of the Metro area.

“I can see it through the trees from every angle—those tacky geometric color blocks,” says Bertha B. Bloomsbury, resident of a hive several trees from the new condo. “I think the builder is trying to appeal to younger bees, ones who work in corporate at Target, Beecolab, or Best Bee, but I don’t see how this housing pattern is sustainable for the regular blue-collar pollinators making the rounds on local gardens.”

Others, however, find the sky rise an exciting new option for lifestyle improvement in the Twin Cities. “Daycare for my eggs and larvae, nearby garden of pollinating plants, and extra storage space for my honeycombs? I was shocked,” Bobby B. Burt told The Nordly just weeks after the sky rise’s opening, straightening the collar of his Hivezod polo shirt. “Finally a home to stay in for my winter sales meetings where I won’t get frozen solid in some iced-over tree. I’m telling all my friends in Chicago to swarm on over.”

“I was skeptical, but I stayed in a one-bedroom as an AirBnBee during the Final Four, and I was sold,” says Bret Beerson, who has kindly offered to show The Nordly his studio. “Such an improvement on those wooden bee hotels in public gardens. The real marble honeycomb really adds a brightness to the walls. This has nothing, though, on the penthouse upstairs, for my queen.” He beams to a gold-framed portrait above the bed’s headboard.

Due to the success of this first pollinator sky rise, which was created by University of Minnesota Bee Lab researchers, funding has been secured for the creation of a second sky rise, on Lake Phalen in Saint Paul.  

Will bee sky rises improve the quality of life of the Twin Cities bee population, or will all the buzz just lead to further economic disparity? Bee Real Bee Everywhere, the group behind the sky rises’ design and construction, has declined to discuss construction bonuses and zoning laws, the average unit in the bee skyrise costs between 1,500 and 3,000 grains of pollen per month.