New projects add housing, demonstrate connected land uses

Date: Tuesday, December 17, 2019

A $6.5 million investment by the Metropolitan Council will support six cities to create development that links housing, jobs and services, and demonstrates cost-effective use of land and infrastructure. The completed projects will result in more than 600 housing units and 451 permanent, living-wage jobs.

Rendering of a building with lots of people outside.These competitive Livable Communities grants are used for things like property acquisition, site preparation and utilities, design work, and even the installation of renewable energy sources like solar power. This round of grants will leverage an additional $41 million in other public investment, for example, cities and counties. That investment is attracting another $144 million in private sector funding. Each Met Council dollar invested is leveraging an additional $28.

“The numbers are impressive, but the real measure of the success of this program is in the impact these projects have on the region,” said Interim Chair Molly Cummings. “This particular program invests in innovation, joint ventures between cities, private developers, and nonprofits to find solutions for regional problems. These projects address issues like the shortage of housing affordable to families with lower incomes and connecting workers to jobs and students to schools.”

Grant applications reviewed by advisory group of experts

The Livable Communities Advisory Committee reviews applications and recommends funding awards to the Council based on the program’s criteria for connected development patterns that link housing, jobs and services. The committee is a volunteer panel of local government officials, developers, architects, finance managers, and others with development expertise.

Projects awarded Council funding in December:

Eden Prairie, Paravel/Castle Ridge: Construct 246 units of mixed-income housing as part of a larger development from the area. Estimated project cost: $84.1 million. Met Council grant: $885,000.

Edina, 4100 Edina:  Redevelopment of the former Fltyte Tyme Studios building into a 70-unit affordable housing development. Estimated project cost: $23 million. Met Council grant: $493,950.

Minneapolis, 927 Project: Add three stories to an existing commercial building on West Broadway Avenue will provide for space entrepreneurs to launch new business from and community event space for gatherings, electric vehicle charging stations and public art displays. Estimated project cost: $5.2 million. Met Council grant: $981,816

Minneapolis, Amber Apartments: Construct an 81-unit affordable housing project near the 46th street station on the Blue Line. The project will provide supportive services to individuals recovering from drug and alcohol dependency. Estimated project cost: $18.4 million. Met Council grant: $548,553.

Minneapolis, Bloom Lake: Create 42 affordable, supportive housing units for people living with HIV/AIDS. Estimated project cost: $13.8 million. Met Council grant: $1.6 million.

Rogers, Main Street Rogers Downtown Redevelopment: A mixed-income development that will create affordable housing for the local workforce and senior citizens. It will also add new retail space to the downtown as well as two public plazas for community gatherings. Estimated project cost: $30 million. Met Council grant: $942,500.

Roseville, Owasso Gardens: A new affordable housing development for seniors. The building and grounds are being designed to help people age in place. Estimated project cost: $14.5 million. Met Council grant: $645,000.

Saint Paul, SpringBOX: An innovative model that will transform a vacant car dealership on University Avenue into a community arts center and public gathering space. Estimated project cost: $3.8 million. Met Council grant: $392,500.

Grants awarded to projects in planning phase

In addition to paying for hard costs like site acquisition and utilities improvements, the Met Council also uses Livable Communities Act funds to help cities plan innovative projects. The Council awarded $229,000 for the following projects:

Chaska: $30,000 for a market study in historic downtown Chaska for affordable artist housing.

Saint Paul: $100,000 for Little Saigon Plaza feasibility study, design workshops, community engagement, and other work on a proposed mix of commercial and residential uses.

Saint Paul: $100,000 for River Balcony schematic design on the downtown Mississippi Riverfront.

South Saint Paul: $60,000 for Grand Avenue Gateway residential development planning, testing and analysis of creating mixed-use developments on two sites.

Posted In: Communities, Housing

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