The Metropolitan Council awarded $8.5 million in grants for development projects that focus largely on producing affordable housing. The seven grants will go to projects in Brooklyn Park, Hopkins, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and St. Louis Park.
The grants are part of the Livable Communities program, a voluntary, incentive-based approach to helping communities invest in economic development and housing choices, and promote transit connections between where people live and where they need to go.
Six of the seven awards will help create nearly 600 homes for families and individuals, with more than two-thirds of the units affordable to low- and very-low income households. The seventh grant award will help fund redevelopment at a nonprofit youth art and design education center and gallery in North Minneapolis. The grants will:
- Help create more than 90 full-time permanent jobs and more than 800 temporary (or construction) jobs
- Generate an increase in net tax capacity of $840,000
- Leverage $156 million in other public and private investment
Grants are competitive; applications undergo rigorous review
The grants are competitive among communities that participate in the Livable Communities program. The Council received 15 applications totaling more than $17 million in requests in this funding round.
“This was an especially competitive funding round with so many solid and eligible projects competing for limited resources,” said Council Chair Charlie Zelle. “I continue to be encouraged by the quality of the applications and the ongoing interest in this program to help our local partners enhance and improve the quality of life in their communities.”
Applications undergo rigorous review by an internal staff panel as well as the Livable Communities Advisory Committee, an external panel of professionals and content experts.
Scoring criteria focus on projects that:
- Provide choices in housing and transportation and help close the gap between the need for, and supply of, affordable housing
- Promote environmental stewardship
- Encourage redevelopment and infill development that diversifies land uses
Seven development initiatives were awarded funding
Cornerstone Village, Brooklyn Park — $2 million toward a mixed-income, inclusive, multifamily community with 130 apartments. The building will include both affordable and market-rate apartments.
Vista 44, Hopkins — $1.5 million for 50 units of permanent supportive housing for families experiencing homelessness with one or more members who have a serious and persistent mental illness.
Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) Campus Redevelopment, Minneapolis — $1.1 million toward a new 16,000-square-foot Art Center that will become the centerpiece of the campus. The building will include new teaching labs and administration functions.
The Gardens at Bryn Mawr, Minneapolis — $1.5 million to help fund 100 affordable homes with improved connections to regional trails and enhanced public spaces. The housing will be part of a development that includes mixed-income housing and commercial space.
Stryker Senior Housing, Saint Paul — $500,000 toward a new apartment building for lower-income seniors. Five of the apartments will be dedicated to veterans who have been homeless.
Texa Tonka, St. Louis Park — $465,000 toward a development that includes multifamily apartments and townhome-style apartments. Twenty percent of the homes will be affordable for a period of no less than 25 years.
Rise on 7, St. Louis Park — $1.4 million toward redevelopment on the site of a vacant church building. The site will be home to multifamily housing and commercial space. The 120 housing units will accommodate lower-income households, with some units dedicated to homeless families and people with disabilities.
Livable Communities program promotes economic development, prosperity
To be eligible to 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
More than 90 metro area communities participate in the program.