Grants lay foundation for future development

Date: Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Site of civil unrest in Minneapolis and project near METRO Orange Line Station in Bloomington to receive funds

Ten predevelopment grants totaling nearly $800,000 got the backing of the Metropolitan Council on September 22. These Livable Communities grants support planning, analysis, design, and engagement activities to help ensure the success of future development projects.

Planned and proposed developments this funding round include business incubator space at a site destroyed during civil unrest in Minneapolis in 2020, new mixed-use development near the METRO Orange Line 98th Street Station in Bloomington, and the renovation of townhomes in Brooklyn Park.

Rendering of a multi-story building.

Projects evaluated for equity, livability features

The Met Council’s Livable Communities Fund supports investment in local projects that promote jobs, housing choices, development and redevelopment, and connections between where people live and the places they want to go. The Met Council’s Community Development Director, Lisa Barajas, says staff review applications for project features that encourage equity and livability and enhance the ability of communities to meet the needs of all residents.

“Increasingly, communities want more inclusive and robust engagement with residents as part of the process of planning and visioning development opportunities,” Barajas said. “In predevelopment, well in advance of construction, local officials want residents to be part of identifying possibilities and exploring ways to incorporate equity in development projects so that all residents are served.

“Working together, listening to all voices, we set the stage for development that will make our region thrive and prosper well into the future.”

Grants focused on efficient land use and linked housing, jobs, and services

  • 921 West Broadway, Minneapolis — $75,000 for a feasibility study, engagement, and site planning for redevelopment into mixed-use commercial and office space, as well as market-rate and potentially affordable housing.
  • 2415-2017 West Broadway, Minneapolis — $75,000 for site and concept planning and a feasibility study to determine development plans for four parcels. Redevelopment will include an outdoor public realm to connect residents with amenities such as small local businesses.
  • 7701 Brooklyn Boulevard, Brooklyn Park — $75,000 to support design workshops and community engagement, and site, design, and feasibility planning at a location where potential development includes the expansion of existing commercial space and introducing housing into the area.
  • The Villas Townhomes, Brooklyn Park — $75,000 for site planning and design with the goal of acquiring and rehabilitating existing housing on the site to improve livability, functionality, and safety, as well as building new rental townhomes.
  • Hardman Triangle Repositioning Initiative, South Saint Paul — $45,000 for soil testing to determine feasible land uses, community engagement, and site planning for possible multi-family housing and commercial space.
  • 1490 7th Street East, Saint Paul — $75,750 for building design and soil testing to determine feasible land uses on a 13.8-acre site, including affordable housing and other housing options, such as supportive townhomes.

Grants focused on transit-oriented development along existing and emerging transitways

A bus rapid transit station under construction.
  • 98th Street Station, Bloomington — $150,000 to identify the development potential of several parcels next to the METRO Orange Line station that are currently land banked for a potential roadway interchange. The study will explore alternative interchange concepts to determine if the site can support new mixed-use development, including affordable housing, commercial space, public realm improvements, and shared parking.
  • The Phoenix, Minneapolis — $75,000 to evaluate development scenarios and document community engagement impacts on redevelopment of a site destroyed in civil unrest in 2020. Redevelopment will provide incubator space for new and displaced community-serving businesses near the Chicago-Lake Transit Center BRT Station, preserving and creating new jobs, and generating business activity.  
  • 892 East 7th Street, Saint Paul — $75,000 for documenting community engagement that impacts development plans, a feasibility study, and site plan scenarios for a mixed-use and sustainable development project in the Rush Line (METRO Purple Line) Arcade Street Station Area. 100 affordable housing units would accommodate extended family living arrangements. Project plans include ground floor retail and entrepreneurial business incubator space, as well as key connections and services for area residents, including a health clinic, early childhood day care, youth learning center, adult day care, and a potential autism center.
  • 652-58 Sherburne Ave. West, Saint Paul — $56,500 for concept design plans and other reviews of plans to rehabilitate affordable housing at a historically significant building. Plans call for six units of various sizes for families near the Dale Street Station on the METRO Green Line. A nearby vacant parcel would be developed into a community garden and park.

Livable Communities Program supports community prosperity

To be eligible and compete for Livable Communities funds, 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

The Met Council makes funding awards throughout the year. The next awards of Livable Communities grants are scheduled for December.

Posted In: Communities