The Metropolitan Council has awarded $2.6 million in polluted-site cleanup grants to nine projects that promote redevelopment and economic opportunity in the region. Redevelopment will create jobs and invite investment in market-rate and affordable housing as well as commercial and retail space at vacant and underused properties.
The grants are part of the Met Council’s Livable Communities program, a voluntary, incentive-based approach to helping communities invest in economic development and housing choices, and integrate transportation choices into land use decisions.
“Livable Communities has had great success in increasing the regional tax base since the Legislature enacted the program in 1995,” said Robert Lilligren, Community Development Committee chair.
“It’s an important tool we have in the region to help clean up sites that are a threat to the environment or public health and return them to productive use,” he said.
Communities awarded grants this round include Golden Valley, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, St. Louis Park.
Grants will help produce and preserve 350 affordable homes
Grants are competitive and reviewed using the following criteria:
- Increase to the tax base
- Jobs/affordable housing
- Compact, connected development
- Environment and livability
- Project process
- Project capacity
The grant awards will encourage other public and private investment and help clean up 52 acres and produce and preserve 350 affordable homes.
The Met Council received 12 applications for cleanup and investigation funds in this grant round, totaling $5 million in funding requests.
Grants fall into two categories this funding round. In addition to contamination cleanup, the Seeding Equitable Environmental Development (SEED) category is investment that encourages development within and near areas that show low levels of building permit activity, concentrations of low-wage jobs, and concentrations of people of color and low-income households. These are sites that show potential for job or housing creation.
Contamination cleanup grants
Northrup King Residential, Minneapolis: $527,400 toward cleanup on a 3.9-acre site for renovation of some of the existing buildings for apartments, including affordable and market-rate. One of the buildings will be renovated into 8,120 square feet of creative business space.
Calvary Apartments, Minneapolis: $678,500 toward cleanup at a 0.8-acre site that includes a partially occupied church with a food shelf attached to a parish education building. Plans call for renovation of two existing buildings and construction of a new residential building for 41 affordable units with amenity and office space, a community kitchen, and other community space.
115 Plato, Saint Paul: $110,100 toward cleanup at a 1.8-acre site that includes a vacant four-story commercial building currently used for document storage. Plans call for the construction of 63 affordable apartments.
Wooddale Station Redevelopment, St. Louis Park: $477,000 toward cleanup at a 3.3-acre site that includes an occupied multi-tenant commercial building and a vacant commercial building. Plans call for construction of 252 market-rate apartments, 63 affordable apartments, 13,000 square feet of retail space, and a public plaza.
Wooddale Apartments, St. Louis Park: $184,300 toward cleanup at a 4.5-acre site that includes a church. Plans calls for the construction of 114 affordable apartments.
Business Center, Golden Valley: $464,400 toward cleanup at a 28-acre site that includes an obsolete office building. The building will be replaced with 99,750 square feet of office space, 299,250 square feet of industrial space in two new buildings.
Coliseum, Minneapolis: $72,500 toward reimbursement of eligible environmental costs on a 0.9-acre commercial site that houses a vacant building. The building had been used by multiple tenants before being damaged in the summer of 2020.
Native American Community Clinic, Minneapolis: $50,000 toward an environmental site assessment and other related costs. The 2-acre site has been used for a number of commercial uses including auto repair and a drycleaner.
2500 East Lake, Minneapolis: $46,600 toward an environmental site assessment and other related costs. The 1.4-acre site is currently part of a large parking lot for nearby retail stores.
Livable Communities program promotes prosperity, economic development
Since 2018, the Council has made 112 brownfield investigation and cleanup grant awards totaling more than $28 million. The awards are helping to leverage millions of dollars in investment, create and maintain more than 4,000 jobs, and clean up more than 200 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
75 cities and 1 township are participating in the program in 2022. Other partners that fund cleanup grants include the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and Hennepin and Ramey counties.