Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Development Roundup

Posted on 06 November 2017 by Calvin


City seeks more funding for pollution cleanup and redevelopment
St. Paul city officials are on the hunt for more funding for pollution cleanup and property redevelopment. The St. Paul City Council in October submitted nine grant applications to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Metropolitan Council for Tax Base Revitalization Account Program for contamination cleanup.

One submission is for 1745 University Ave., a former industrial building turned charter school. It is the new home for the nonprofit Junior Securement program.

Another is for 700 Emerald Ave., the longtime Weyerhaeuser property. It was sold last year to Dominium Development. Dominium has built hundreds of new housing units and been involved in developed or repurposed buildings throughout the West Midway.

Other projects are on the West Side, Payne-Phalen and North End.

MHFA grants
The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) in October announced $216 million in housing grants, for projects around Minnesota. One of the projects—Ain Dah Yung’s program that provides housing and support services to young Native Americans—will be on University Ave. near Victoria St.

The new four-story building will provide emergency shelter as well as transitional housing for young people who age out of the foster care system.

Ain Dah Yung and Project for Pride in Living will build the development on the north side of University, in Frogtown. It will be by the Green Line light rail Victoria station. There will be 42 apartments for people ages 18-24 in the four-story building. Classrooms, kitchen space, a computer lab, and space to pursue traditional Native American crafts, cultural ceremonies, and activities will be provided.

The residents will each have a case manager.

Ain Dah Yung will receive $9.4 million in low-income housing tax credits to help with its $11.3 million project. It’s one of several St. Paul projects funded this year.

Green space eyed for redevelopment
Remember the Faust, the Flick, and the Belmont Club? Those three adult-oriented businesses once anchored three of the four corners at University Ave. and Dale St. for years. All are gone now, with the new Rondo Community Outreach Library and an Episcopal Homes mixed-use development at two of the corners. Now the northwest corner, which has been used as green space for about two decades, gets its turn.

The Metropolitan Council Oct. 25 announced the award of $4.55 million in Livable Communities funds to transit-oriented development projects. Projects along bus or train corridors in Eden Prairie, Minneapolis, and St. Louis Park were also funded. In total the four projects are expected to leverage an additional $216 million in private investment and $26 million in public dollars. The projects will produce 361 affordable housing units and more than 1,500 new permanent and temporary jobs.

The City of St. Paul made the grant submission. The city owns the property where the Flick once stood, but the project is likely to require other property acquisition. The project is recommended for $1.45 million.

Proposed is a building with 9,000 square feet of retail/commercial space, 15,00 square feet of office space and 61 affordable senior housing units. The project will also include a corner plaza.

Nine projects were submitted in June. Seven were reviewed by Met Council staff and committee members. Some were referred to other programs. One St. Paul project, 1919 University Ave., was deemed ineligible. It is an office building with a small commercial space and had no housing component.

“Transit and development are a dynamic duo,” said Alene Tchourumoff, Metropolitan Council Chair in a statement. “They work better together. Transit is most successful when it provides service where people live and work, and development is successful when people can readily get there. Investments in projects like these help make our region more livable.”

Affordable housing to be saved
Eighty-two units of affordable housing will be preserved at Larpenteur Villa, 182 W. Larpenteur Ave. The St. Paul City Council, acting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Oct. 11 approved ab $40,000 loan to Aeon. The Minneapolis-based nonprofit is buying the building to preserve its mix of affordable studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments.

The apartments were built in 1969 and are part of a portfolio of 10 buildings that recently went up for sale. The buildings are in four cities and are considered naturally occurring affordable housing because there were no restrictions keeping the lower rents in place. They buildings accept federal Section 8 vouchers.

The region’s housing shortage and the turnover of many apartment buildings has meant many investors are buying properties and in some cases dramatically raising rents. That, in turn, has displaced many low-income families.

Aeon, an experienced non-profit affordable housing provider, has stepped in to acquire and preserve all ten properties. The loan from the city is sought to assist with the acquisition and to help put rent restrictions in place for 15 years. Aeon will continue to accept Section 8 tenants.

The funding for the HRA loan will be provided from the city’s tax increment financing affordable housing pool.