Council awards $4 million in grants promoting jobs, economic development

Date: Thursday, July 27, 2017

At its July 26 meeting, the Metropolitan Council approved nearly $4 million in grants aimed at cleaning up polluted sites for future development. The grants, known as brownfield cleanup grants, are part of the Livable Communities program (find more information on these grants at the bottom of this release). Funds will go to four cities for 12 projects including:

  • Affordable housing on the former site of the Pioneer Press in Saint Paul

  • Mixed-use development in Edina, including housing, retail and a public plaza

  • A hotel and restaurant near Target Field Station in Minneapolis

The funding helps clean up land for redevelopment, create jobs, increase tax base, produce affordable and market rate housing, and promote other public and private investment in the region.
“The Livable Communities Program, along with state and local governments and private and non-profit developers, make up a partnership that is committed to development and redevelopment, job creation and a vibrant and vital region,” said Beth Reetz, Director of Community Development at the Metropolitan Council.
“The awards will help clean up 54 acres, create or retain more than 1,100 jobs, increase the net tax base by $3.8 million, help to produce and preserve more than 600 affordable apartments and encourage more than $500 million in private investment,” she said.

The Council received 21 applications this funding round, totaling $7.6 million in requests. Below is a listing of all 12 projects receiving funding.

Contamination Investigation grant

  • Calhoun Towers, Minneapolis--$43,900 to support environmental site assessment and prepare a Response Acton Plan for eventual renovation of the existing apartments and construction of 530 new units.

Contamination Cleanup grants

  • 49 ½ Street Mixed-Use Redevelopment, Edina--$338,900 to facilitate environmental investigation and abatement at a nearly 3-acre site that has been used for parking and a former dry cleaner business. Plans include development of 110 apartments, with retail space, public plaza and renovation/expansion of existing parking.

  • 205 Park, Minneapolis--$206,300 to dispose of contaminated soil at a nearly one-acre site that is currently vacant, but was part of the former Milwaukee Railroad Depot. Development plans include 123 apartments, commercial space, parking and four townhomes for ownership. 

  • 1500 Nicollet, Minneapolis--$390,800 for asbestos abatement, disposal of contaminated soil and soil vapor mitigation for development on a 1.4-acre site of 184 affordable apartments, retail space and parking. 

  • Azine Alley, Minneapolis--$267,400 for environmental investigation and disposal of contaminated soil at a nearly one-acre site that is currently a parking lot. The site will be developed into 70 condominiums, a 125-room hotel with retail space. 

  • East Town Apartments, Minneapolis--$250,000 for disposal of contaminated soil for development of 169 affordable apartments on what is currently a two-acre surface parking lot. 

  • The Nordic House site will be developed into office and retail space, and 57 apartments.Nordic House, Minneapolis--$500,000 for disposal of contaminated soil from a 1.5-acre site that currently serves as a surface parking lot. The site will be developed into office and retail space, and 57 apartments.

  • Park 7, Minneapolis--$165,200 to assist with environmental investigation, soil remediation and limited demolition. The site will be developed into 55 affordable supportive apartments with a food center, office and counseling space.

  • Target Field Station, Minneapolis--$363,900 to help with environmental investigation and disposal of contaminated soil on a 0.8-acre site that is currently vacant. Development will include a 154-room hotel, space for a theater and a restaurant. 

  • Pioneer Press Affordable Housing, Saint Paul--$750,000 for asbestos and lead-based paint abatement at the 0.8-acre site on Cedar Street. Development includes 143 affordable units, retail space and a teen tech center.  

  • West Side Flats, Saint Paul--$343,700 for additional soil vapor sampling and disposal of contaminated soil for development on a 5.3-acre site that is currently vacant. Development includes 264 apartments, including 64 affordable units, and a restaurant. 

  • Hardman Avenue South Cleanup and Redevelopment, South Saint Paul--$323,700 for environmental investigation, asbestos abatement and soil remediation at a 36.4-acre site that served as a vehicle service garage, gas station and concrete plant. Development includes a large warehouse and ancillary building. 

Brownfield clean up grants; part of the Livable Communities program

Rendering of Fed Ex campus to be developed in South St. Paul.Since the Livable Communities program became law in 1995, the Council has made more than 400 brownfield investigation and cleanup grant awards totaling $126 million. The awards are helping to leverage billions of dollars in private investment, create and maintain 43,000 jobs, increase the net tax capacity by $130 million, create or rehabilitate more than 20,000 affordable housing units, and clean up more than 2,000 acres of contaminated properties.
Other funding partners helping to clean up brownfields, include the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and Hennepin County.
To be eligible and compete for Livable Communities funding, metro-area cities must participate in the Livable Communities program. More than 90 metro-area communities participate in the program, which provides funding for:

  • affordable housing

  • development that promotes mixed-use and connected land uses linking housing, jobs, and services

  • brownfield or polluted site cleanup

  • transit-oriented development.

Livable Communities Awards for Transit-Oriented Development

 The Council also awarded two other Livable Communities grants for pre-development. Grants of $100,000 each were awarded to Minneapolis and Saint Paul for transit-oriented development projects.
The Minneapolis grant will help with pre-development and design for the Bassett Creek Valley Redevelopment project at a blighted industrial area.
The Saint Paul grant will help with pre-development and design for the River Balcony urban promenade in conjunction with the Ramsey West project.

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