Snelling building gets new lease on life
The long-awaited rehabilitation of a Snelling Avenue building can move ahead, following the July 12, 2023, St. Paul City Council approval of the project. African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) has been granted 180 days to rehabilitate the building at 678 N. Snelling Ave.
AEDS hopes to convert the former auto garage into Little Africa Plaza.
The council vote ends a process that has gone on for some time. The first council hearing on orders to remove or rehabilitate the building was in May 2020.
Legislative hearing officer Marcia Moermond said the project has had no fewer than 28 legislative hearings, as the nonprofit developer worked to line up project funding. A fire in the building several months ago added further delays.
Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali thanked city staff for helping shepherd the project along. She believes it will be a great addition to the neighborhood.
AEDS has several more steps to take. The developer must submit a letter to the city stating that already-dispersed grant funds of $1,055,000 have been retained by AEDS for the purpose of rehabbing this property. Those include Otto Bremer Trust $500,000; Bigelow Foundation $200,000; St. Paul Foundation $150,000; Hardenbergh Foundation $100,000; McKnight Foundation $100,000 and Neighborhoods United Funding Collaborative $5,000. If funds have been spent, details on how they were used must be provided.
Other funds will be released later, including a Neighborhood Sales Tax Revitalization (STAR) grant of $65,000; Ramsey County Critical Corridors Grant $103,507; St. Paul Foundation DEED Main Street Grant $750,000; state appropriation $1,500,000; Sunrise Bank loan $615,000 and Housing and redevelopment Authority request of $1,085,213
Area projects get funding
The Metropolitan Council awarded nearly $3.4 million in Livable Communities grants in June and July, contributing to economic opportunity, redevelopment, and job creation in the seven-county metro area. Two grants were for Midway projects.
Grants awarded funds for polluted-site cleanup at properties included the area near Allianz Field along University Avenue in St. Paul for an office building and hotel.
“This is the latest round of funding from the Livable Communities grant program to invest in our region,” said Lisa Barajas, Met Council Community Development Director. “The program benefits the whole region by helping communities to advance economic development projects, housing choices, and transportation connections.”
United Village Phase 1, St. Paul Port Authority was awarded $652,400 for cleanup and environmental oversight at a mostly vacant 7.4-acre site on University Avenue. Redevelopment will include construction of an 87,000-square-foot, four-story office building with retail space, and a 170-unit hotel, creating 455 jobs. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is a funding partner.
Creative Enterprise Zone was awarded $174,900 for mitigation at an 8.8-acre site on Prior Avenue North. Redevelopment includes renovation of about 100,000 square feet of vacant space within existing buildings, and adding commercial, office, and industrial multi-tenant spaces, and 425 jobs. DEED is a funding partner.
The Metropolitan Council awarded nearly $3.4 million in Livable Communities grants in June and July, contributing to economic opportunity, redevelopment, and job creation in the seven-county metro area.
Grants targeting polluted sites help fund cleanup and investigation for redevelopment. They also help pay for environmental assessments in areas with concentrations of low-wage jobs, low-income households, and Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian populations.