Council grants help create jobs, housing, and economic development

Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Metropolitan Council awarded $3 million in polluted-site cleanup grants that promote redevelopment and economic opportunity in the region. Cities awarded the grants include Bloomington, Falcon Heights, Hopkins, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and St. Louis Park.

Artist rendering of a multi-story building.

The grants are part of the Council’s Livable Communities program, a voluntary, incentive-based approach to helping communities invest in economic development and housing choices, and promote connections between transportation options and land use.

Grants are competitive and reviewed using the following criteria:

  • Increase to the tax base

  • Access to jobs/affordable housing and economic competitiveness

  • Brownfield cleanup/environmental health improvements

  • Orderly and efficient land use

  • Project readiness and market demand

  • Partnership

The grant awards this funding round will encourage other public and private investment, help clean up 13 acres of land, and produce and preserve nearly 800 affordable homes.

The Council received 23 applications for cleanup and investigation funds in this grant round, totaling $5.9 million in funding requests.

“What’s really remarkable about these grants is their ability to leverage additional public and private dollars,” said Chair Charlie Zelle. “The Council’s commitment to these developments lends confidence to the projects that, in turn, invites and prompts other investment.”

The grants fall into three categories, including contamination cleanup, site investigation, and Seeding Equitable Environmental Development (SEED). The latter grants encourage development within and near areas of concentrated poverty that have potential for job or housing creation.

Cleaning up contaminated sites for redevelopment

Projects awarded grants in this category:

Amber Union, Falcon Heights: $962,200 toward asbestos abatement at a 3.7-acre site that includes two vacant and historic office buildings. Redevelopment includes 125 affordable apartments and retail space.

Currie Commons, Minneapolis: $480,300 toward mitigation at a vacant 1.7-acre site historically used for refining, blending, storage, and sale of waste oils. The property will be redeveloped into 187 mixed-income apartments with supportive services.

Elliot Twins, Minneapolis: $233,600 toward mitigation on 2.2 acres with two apartment buildings located on site. Previously the location housed chemical and transportation companies. Redevelopment includes the renovation of 174 affordable homes, 10 new affordable units, amenities, and office space for social services.

2025 West River Road, Minneapolis: $517,100 toward mitigation on a 2.4-acre site that houses a vacant restaurant and was previously used as a rail storage yard. The site will be redeveloped into 163 affordable apartments and commercial space.

Vista 44, Hopkins: $172,300 toward mitigation at a vacant one-acre site that has been used for outdoor storage and recreational purposes. The site will be redeveloped to include 50 affordable apartments with supportive services.

Lyndale Flats, Bloomington HRA: $264,100 toward mitigation on a vacant 1.8-acre site that housed a bowling alley and American Legion post. Redevelopment calls for 81 affordable apartments.

Assessing contamination at potential redevelopment sites

Projects awarded grants in this category:

Artist rendering of a four-story building.

Northrup King, Minneapolis: $50,000 toward abatement assessment and planning at a 13.2-acre site with 13 commercial/industrial buildings historically used for storage and distribution of seeds. Some of the buildings will be renovated into affordable housing and creative commercial space.

Beltline Boulevard Station, St Louis Park: $50,000 toward environmental assessment at a vacant 5.6-acre site previously used for industrial purposes. Anticipated development includes construction of 482 apartments and commercial space.

678 North Snelling Avenue, Saint Paul: $10,000 toward environmental assessment at a 0.2-acre site that has been used for retail and commercial office space. Planned development includes commercial space, including workforce development training.

SEED: Land cleanup in areas of concentrated poverty

Projects awarded grants in this category:

Baldwin Square, Minneapolis: $107,800 to assist with abatement at a 0.3-acre site with two buildings that were used for retail businesses and an apartment building.

The Resolute, Minneapolis: $37,200 to facilitate cleanup on the 0.6-acre site of a former restaurant and vacant duplex.

1517 West Broadway Incubator, Minneapolis: $35,800 toward environmental assessment at a 0.4-acre site with three buildings and a vacant lot. The buildings are currently used for storage.

The Link on 21st, Minneapolis: $38,200 toward environmental assessment at a 0.6-acre site made up of five residential parcels.

1560 White Bear Avenue, Saint Paul: $41,400 toward environmental assessment on a 2.2-acre retail site located near three former gas stations.

Livable Communities program promotes prosperity, economic development

Since the Livable Communities program became law in 1995, the Council has made 548 brownfield investigation and cleanup grant awards totaling $150 million. The awards are helping to leverage billions of dollars in private investment, create and maintain more than 47,000 jobs and clean up more than 2,000 acres of contaminated properties.

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

Nearly 100 metro area communities participated in the program in 2020.

Posted In: Communities

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