Meet with us to talk about your project! 

Schedule a time to meet with the program coordinator for this grant program to talk about the scoring criteria, funding opportunities and how your project fits in. Schedule a time here.


Pre-development grants are for teams who are defining or redefining a project that will support Livable Communities and Thrive MSP 2040 goals. Eligible costs are for early-stage activities like design workshops, financial studies, project impact analyses, and community engagement. Reach out to the program officer for more information on the program and eligible costs. 

Pre-Development Goals

  • Add new housing types and create affordable housing. Priority for projects with deep affordability and/or serving populations who have barriers to finding housing
  • Create or preserve long-term living wage jobs or support economic opportunity for people experiencing the most economic hardships
  • Increase density on the site and make it easier for people to travel between housing, jobs, services, and amenities
  • Minimize climate impact by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving natural
  • Further equity outcomes by fostering regional connections, mitigating climate impacts and implicit bias, removing barriers to access affordable housing, creating living wage jobs, and supporting the creation of small businesses owned and operated by a historically marginalized population


Pre-Development Applications Open June 17
Applications for the second round of 2024 Pre-Development funding open June 17. You can review the application process and access the application portal at the LCA Apply page. Applications are due on July 22. A Word document of the application can be downloaded here. Many applicants find this helpful for collaboration. 
For Developers: You can find more information about the application process and the role of developers in LCA grants on the For Developers page.

2024 Pre-Development Webinar

Learn more about important information for the 2024 Pre-Development Program including funding amounts, eligible activites, scoring criteria and changes for 2024.
Watch the webinar here

2024 Minneapolis and St. Paul Prospective Applicants - Required City Pre-Application Date

Feb 11th - Minneapolis (applications are now closed)
Feb 21st - St. Paul (applications are now closed)
The City of Minneapolis and the City of St Paul have a pre-application process to decide which applications they will sponsor. For more information and local contacts please see the City of Minneapolis website and City of St. Paul website.


  • Revised language in the scoring and less duplication 

Match amount: No match required

Award limits: $300,000 per city per round

Application Limits: Six per city or county per round

Grant terms: Two years

Extensions: Up to one year

Distribution: There is an option to have 50% of the award distributed upfront when an agreement is signed by the City and project team then reviewed by Council staff. Check with City staff to see if this is an option for your project. 

$2,000,000 available

Pre-Development Timeline

April 22nd
Round One applications due
Round One awards decision
July 22nd
Round Two applicaitons due
Round Two awards decision

Livable Communities grants support specific project activities rather than giving money to the project as a whole. As part of the application the project team will list specific activities and estimated costs. Livable Communities grants cannot pay for work done before the grant is awarded. Keep this in mind as you think about what activities you plan to ask to be supported.

The eligibility table is an outline of costs that the Pre-Development grant can pay for. If there is a pre-development activity not on this list but your project team thinks it will help the development project better meet Livable Communities and Thrive goals, talk with the program coordinator.

Eligible Activities 

What: Proposed Project Outcomes
Environmental Sustainability 

  • Soil testing to determine feasible land uses that increase diversity or intensity on the project site (not environmental testing) 
  • Project-specific or district-wide stormwater management plans, district-wide heating and cooling plans, and district-wide waste management plans that conserve natural resources and mitigate impacts on climate change 
  • Passive building design and energy efficient improvement planning to conserve natural resources and reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions 
  • Development of Travel Demand Management Plan or other strategies to reduce emissions in and around the project site 
  • Landscaping plans that will conserve natural resources, increase greenspace, and prioritize native plants and pollinators
  • Sustainability assessments, design and engineering (for example project/district stormwater management and district heating/cooling)
  • Environmental Assessment (EAW or EIS)

Site Planning 

  • Development of site plans, public realm plans, and/or outdoor recreation plans  
  • Public art design process to create an intentionally designed piece of public art. The design process should include an artist or arts organization.
  • Phasing or staging plans for an identified parcel or multiple contiguous parcels
  • Site selection between 2 -3 potential sites
  • Additional design work to include Universal Design or other accessibility features beyond local requirements
  • Culturally specific site design and planning to best reflect priorities of the community/ies being served by the project
  • Architectural design services (schematic design, design development and developing construction documents)
  • Alternative Urban Areawide Review (AUAR)

Acquisition and Preservation/Rehab

  • Physical or capital needs assessment or energy audits for rehab of affordable housing buildings and/or units (only eligible for units affordable at 60% of AMI with income restrictions in place for a minimum of 15 years) or ecpnpmic opportunity projects that meet outlined scoring criteria.
  • Appraisal for site acquisition
  • Strategies for site acquisition

Financial Models

  • Financial modeling to determine finance structure for project development and long-term management of affordable housing and jobs projects located in low income areas
  • Feasibility studies to determine project feasibility, a housing mix that increases housing choice or commercial mix to support living wage jobs, or a market study to determine the demand for the proposed development project or project elements
How and Who: Proposed Project Process and Project Partners to Support Equitable Development Strategies
  • Design workshops and community engagement activities that center those least represented and most impact by historic racial inequities (including but not limited to compensation for consultants leading work, participants, advisory committee members, childcare, food for engagement events*)
  • Community Benefits Agreement
  • Understanding history of discrimination and land ownership in and around the project site and using that information to inform the future project
  • Health Impact Assessment, displacement risk assessment and/or mitigation plan, equity analysis or impact analysis, wealth building planning or displacement prevention planning
  • Project managemnt for new and/or small developers (have completed three or fewer development projects OR have a development team of five people or fewer)
  • Developer mentoring for new and/or small developers (have completed three or fewer development projects)
* Food costs should be within Council cost limits and prioritize DBE or DBE-qualifying vendors. Reach out to Program Coordinator with any questions. 

Ineligible Activities
  • Corridor, small area or station area plans
  • Permits and legal fees not directly related to producing an eligible activity, or fees for processingconstruction documents and applications
  • Strategies for land banking and acquisition
  • Administrative overhead and soft costs not directly related to an awarded grant activity
  • Soft costs which are not directly related to an awarded grant activity 
  • Work done before the grant was awarded

Pre-development applications are scored by a review panel of Community Development staff at the Metropolitan Council. The review panel will look to see how much the pre-development grant activities will support a development project that meets Livable Communities and Thrive MSP 2040 goals, the project community engagement plan, and how ready the project team is to use the grant funds if they are awarded. The specific scoring criteria and weighting are in the scoring table.

Projects need to meet a minimum score to be eligible for funding. Meeting the minimum score does not mean your team will be awarded a grant, but not meeting the minimum score means your application will be disqualified from being able to get an award.

Look through the scoring criteria and how each section is weighed to see how your project might score in the review process.

A Word document of the application can be downloaded here. This can be helpful for application collaboration. 

More information about the how the projects are scored is available in the Pre-Development 2024 Evaluation Explanation (PDF). We strongly recommend that you review this document as you complete your application.

Pre-Development Scoring Table

While we recognize there are different types of inequities based on identity and circumstance, LCA is focused on addressing racial inequity in the region given race is the largest predictor of inequitable outcomes in jobs, housing, and other LCA goals. Projects addressing racial equity will be prioritized in scoring. Projects addressing other inequities will earn points towards how they address those inequities but will not receive full points unless they also consider the intersection of racial inequity.

What: Pre-Development Project Outcomes

The goals and vision of the proposed project would meet one or more of the following LCA and/or Thrive goals:
LCA and Thrive Goals
  • Add new housing types and create or preserve affordable housing. Priority for projects with deep affordability and/or serving populations who have barriers to finding housing
  • Create or preserve long-term living wage jobs or support economic opportunity for communities of historic wealth extraction
  • Increase or preserve (for preservation/rehab projects) density on the site and make it easier for people with mobility barriers to easily access housing, jobs, services, and amenities
  • Minimize climate change and/or environmental impact for residents in areas most negatively impacted by environmental justice

How: Proposed Project Process

  • Show an understanding of who will benefit most from the project and in what ways, and use this understanding to shape equitable development strategies and outcomes
  • The project reflects the culture and needs of the community it is intending to serve
  • The strength of the partnership between the applicant (City/County/HRA/EDA) and development partner(s), including the level of support and engagement the applicant has with the project
Applications must score at least 20 of the total 30 available points

After reviewing the funding availability, timeline, and eligibility sections please visit the Apply for LCA Grants page for details on how to apply for the LCDA Pre-Development program. 

The Make-a-Map attachments and the resolution of support are required for the Pre-Development application. Site plans, elevations, and other renderings or supporting documents (perspectives, site photos, area plans, etc.) are not required but can be submitted if you have them completed.

Saving Documents 
Please save all documents as compressed PDF files with the naming format: [Applicant_Project_AttachmentName]. For example, a site plan from City Y for their Downtown Development would be named City Y_Downtown Development_Site Plan. Contact the program officer if you have any questions about how to save or attach any of the required documents.

From the online Make-A-Map tool:

  • Parcel Map 
  • Aerial Map 
  • Overview Map 
Make-a-Map Instructions 
  • Enter an address or landmark in the search bar to navigate to your project area. 

  • Click “Sketch the Project” and select “Livable Communities Demonstration Acct” from the dropdown menu. Provide a name for your project. 

  • Use the zoom and pan buttons to navigate to your project site. Click “Sketch a Boundary” and, using the crosshair as a guide, draw the project boundary. A gray polygon with a red outline will begin to appear. Once you have finished outlining the boundary, double click to close the polygon. If there are multiple, non-contiguous parcels that are part of your project, you have the option of sketching another boundary. 

  • Select “Print” and “Create the maps”. The system will generate three maps for LCDA; a Parcel Map, Overview Map, and Aerial Map. Please be patient – depending on your connection, it can take up to one minute to generate the maps. 

  • Click each PDF to download them separately. See “Saving Documents” as a reminder for how to name each of the three Make-a-Map documents.  

Resolution of local support from the applicant:

  • Sample resolutions for projects coming from cities and counties or development authorities are available in the LCA Resource Library.    

Context plan:

  • Clearly show the site and nearby amenities like parks, trails, plazas, schools, shops, libraries etc.   

Optional (if completed): You can submit up to 7 optional attachments to support your application. These can be site plans, elevations, perspectives, area plans, or other documents that show the context of your project or further explain project goals. Each attachment should be no more than 10 pages.

If you are submitting a site plan, the plan should include:

  • Scale bar, north arrow, and a title block listing the name of the project
  • Property lines, buildings, setbacks, sidewalks and/or trails, landscaping elements, stormwater management features, parking access, and location. 

Grantees submit semi-annual reports outlining ongoing project progress. These progress reports are supplemented by details provided in each payment request. Depending on the activities included in your grant award, there may be additional reporting requirements. These will be included in the grant agreement. For example, projects awarded funding for community engagement should document the engagement process and submit a final report with their final payment request. 
A final report is required with the last payment request. The final report will ask about project successes, the impact of the grant funding, and any challenges in completing the project.
As a grantee you are responsible for alerting the LCA grants administration team of any changes to the project. The grant administrator will work with you to decide if there needs to be an amendment to your grant agreement based on the project changes.
Contact LCA Senior Project Administrator with questions regarding reporting requirements and grant follow-up
Samuel Johnson, Senior Project Administrator, (651) 602-1757 [email protected]

See LCA FAQ page for more information about LCA programs
I don’t have site control. Can I still apply?
Yes. You do not need to have site control to apply for the Pre-Development program.
Can I get a Pre-Development grant and a Development grant?
Yes. Pre-Development grants are available to help projects become development projects that will help meet both LCA and Thrive goals. Projects are encouraged to apply for Pre-Development funds to support activities early on in the planning process to include LCA and Thrive goals before they come to the Development program.
Will the program pay for work done before the grant was awarded?
No, with the exception of site acquisition for affordable housing or jobs projects in low-income areas. Other than site acquisition, the grant money can only pay for work done after the grant is awarded. More information about paying for site acquisition is available in the Eligible Activities tab. 

LCA Project Data Profile Mapping Tool
Use the LCA Project Data Profile Mapping Tool to look up housing, demographic, transportation and job information about the census tract your project is located in. 
2023 Program Webinar
The 2023 Pre-Development webinar covers important information for the 2023 Pre-Development Program including funding amounts, eligible activites, scoring criteria and changes for 2023.
The LCDA and TOD programs offered a series of technical assistance workshops to help applicant teams develop competitive projects in 2021. Information in these sessions are useful for 2023 applicants including 2023 Pre-Development applicants.

The technical assistance is broken out into two parts for each topic: a one-hour webinar about the topic and a three-hour workshop to go deeper into how that topic relates to your project. 

Project Process
Identifying community needs, specific project outcomes and impacts, and community engagement
Watch the Webinar

How projects can contribute to reducing racial disparities in the region
Watch the Webinar

Conserving natural resources and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions 
Watch the Webinar

Ensuring the project design connects to and addresses community needs, racial disparities, and sustainability goals
Watch the Webinar
2022 Pre-Development Strategies Webinar

Webinar comprised of past Pre-Development applicants in order to better understand strategies to a succesful Pre-Development grant application.
Watch the webinar here.

Prefer a PDF document of the key program pieces?
The Program Essentials document has key dates, funding amounts, eligible activities, and the scoring table. 
Pre-Development 2024 Program Essentials (PDF)
Pre-Development 2024 Evaluation Explanation (PDF)
Schedule a time to meet with a Program Coordinator:
Schedule online


Pre-Development Program Coordinator

Hannah Gary (she/her)
[email protected]
Marcus Martin (he/him)
[email protected]