A new 80-acre downtown for Brooklyn Center. Improvements at a Saint Paul nursing home for low-income seniors. And affordable housing to serve low-income families in Maplewood.
These development projects are among 13 initiatives to receive Metropolitan Council grant awards totaling nearly $15 million. The investments will contribute to development that incorporates housing affordability and improves connections between where people live, work, shop, recreate, and can catch a bus or train.
The grants are part of the Met Council’s Livable Communities program, investing in communities to help them achieve their goals of economic prosperity, job creation, housing choices, and mobility.
Grants help create a more livable, connected region
“A common theme among these grant awards is housing affordability and stability,” said Community Development Director Lisa Barajas.
“Housing is foundational to family and community well-being. In this funding round we’ve invested heavily in developments that offer a range of affordability levels, but specifically developments that incorporate deeply affordable housing that’s accessible to households making 30% or less of the area median income (AMI), or less than $35,460 annually.
“The region overall is experiencing a significant shortage of housing that’s affordable and available to the lowest-income families,” Barajas said. “To the extent that we can, we want to make a dent in that housing gap and increase awareness of that need.”
The Livable Communities grant program includes several funding accounts used for different purposes. Grants approved this funding round come from the Demonstration Account for projects that promote affordable housing development and economic opportunity ($7.2 million in total this funding cycle). The Met Council also approved nearly $7.7 million in grants from the account dedicated to supporting dense and diverse development close to transit.
Grants for affordable housing and economic opportunity
Upper Harbor Redevelopment - Parcel 6A, Minneapolis: $2 million toward a new mixed-use and mixed-income housing development. The 7-story apartment building with 208 units will include deeply affordable rental homes and affordable for-sale townhomes developed in partnership with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.
Cerenity Senior Care, Saint Paul: $1,950,000 to support the nursing home’s need for capital improvements and renovations so it can continue to provide care and affordable housing for low-income seniors. The investment will preserve affordable housing at deeply affordable levels.
Opportunity Site – Entrepreneurial Market, Brooklyn Center: $1.5 million toward a planned business incubator space supporting micro- and small businesses, particularly those owned by BIPOC, women, and immigrants. The space will be attached to a 278-unit market-rate development and is the foundational commercial element of the first 16-acre development phase within the 80-acre future Brooklyn Center downtown.
Emerson Village, Minneapolis: $750,000 to support a 40-unit supportive housing development in North Minneapolis, including deeply affordable homes for people with disabilities and households earning less than $35,460, or 30% of the area median income of $118,200, as well as larger units affordable to families.
2843 Building, Minneapolis: $500,000 toward redeveloping the building to house three main businesses, creating 50-75 jobs, and serve as a training and launch site for inventors and entrepreneurs of color.
1351 Arcade Street, Saint Paul: $495,000 toward the 30,000 (30K) Feet Black Arts and Tech Center. The center will provide workforce readiness skills training and cultural enrichment to the East Saint Paul community. Partnering with local employers and workforce boards, 30K will provide computer science certification to promote career readiness.
Grants to support housing and jobs near transit
Opportunity Site, Brooklyn Center: $2 million toward the city’s 16-acre Phase One of its larger 80-acre Opportunity Site redevelopment. This proposal includes an event center with a 24-hour childcare and Academic Learning Center in one building and an adjacent building with 60 units of affordable housing. Housing choices include larger units for families and affordable housing for underserved populations.
3030 Nicollet, Minneapolis: $1.5 million toward the mixed-use redevelopment of the former Wells Fargo bank on Nicollet and Lake that was damaged in civil unrest in 2020. Phase One includes 109 units of affordable family housing, a new anchor tenant branch of Wells Fargo, affordable commercial condominiums, and a business incubator for BIPOC entrepreneurs.
Kimball Court, Saint Paul: $1.5 million to assist in the renovation and expansion of an existing affordable housing community for people who experience homelessness in the city’s Midway neighborhood. The redevelopment preserves 76 units and adds 22 new and deeply affordable units while also expanding program, office, and amenity space to serve residents.
Gladstone Crossing, Maplewood: $1 million toward development of 40 units of affordable housing with supportive services to serve low-income families with a focus on young families. The development includes a mix of bedroom sizes, and housing for families experiencing homelessness and people with disabilities.
ZaRah, Minneapolis: $500,000 to support a wellness hub and destination place in North Minneapolis. It will provide affordable retail and service spaces for African American women entrepreneurs and business owners in the wellness, food, and professional services industries. The site will include an event space and public plaza.
Wooddale Station Redevelopment Site, St. Louis Park: $747,600 toward a mixed-use development near the Green Line Extension Wooddale Station. The development consists of two buildings with 315 residential units, with designated senior housing and different levels of affordability. It includes 3,000 square feet of affordable commercial space and outdoor public amenity space.
Keystone Community Services, Saint Paul: $445,500 to support a Community Food Center on University Avenue to consolidate food shelf operations and a mobile food distribution program into a single transit-oriented location. The project includes grocery-store style shopping for culturally specific foods, space for support services and community events, mobile food services, and warehousing. The site will increase efficiencies and streamline processes for annually receiving and distributing more than four million pounds of food.
Livable Communities promotes prosperity, economic development
To be eligible and compete for Livable Communities funding, metro area cities must participate in the Livable Communities 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
- Advancing equitable development outcomes
75 cities and 1 township are participating in the Livable Communities program in 2022.