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Innovative project combines senior and low-income rental housing in the Mill District

After years of planning, construction is underway on a mixed-use project in the Minneapolis Mill District that will be the first downtown to combine income-restricted rental apartments with senior housing. Eagle Iron Partners, the master developer, will build a six-story building with 150 units and about 15,000 square feet of retail space next to a five-story, market-rate senior apartment building called Abiitan Mill City, which will be developed by Ecumen, a senior housing nonprofit, and have 151 rental units specifically for seniors, including independent living and memory care units. It’ll also have a fitness center and restaurant that will be open to the public.

The two-block site is at the corner of 2nd Street and 3rd Avenue S. near the Mississippi River and just down the street from the Guthrie Theater. It’s one of the last open parcels of land in the Mill District and is now a surface parking lot. Matt McNeill, director of business development for Ecumen, said that site work is underway, including securing the site and preparing for excavation. This week crews are focusing on environmental cleanup, which will take at least a month. Then, crews will start work on footings and foundation. Both projects are scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. For information go to millcityquarter.com or abiitan.org.

Steady as she goes for housing construction in the Twin Cities this month

Housing construction in the Twin Cities this month has been relatively flat. During the past four-weeks builders were issued 359 permits to build 516 units, according to a monthly report from the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. That was a 14 percent decline in permits and three units short of last year, and the third month in a row during which construction activity failed to beat last year. (A single permit can be issued to build more than one unit).

“While we are pleased to see construction clipping along at a relatively steady pace, we remain concerned after seeing three months of disappointing numbers,” said Chris Contreras, BATC president.

In contrast to last year, housing construction this spring has outpaced apartments. Only about one-third of all planned units so far this year were multifamily buildings, mostly luxury rental apartments, compared with an average of about 50 percent last year.

  1. Here are the communities with the highest number of planned new units last month:
  2. Champlin: 72
  3. Edina: 65
  4. Lakeville: 34
  5. Blaine: 27
  6. Maple Grove: 23

The report comes after a glowing national report from the U.S. Census Bureau showing that new single-family home sales during April exceeded expectations, rising 6.8 percent compared with the revised March estimate of 484,000

The Builders Association of the Twin Cities has contracted with Keystone Report, a local research firm, to maintain a database with information about new residential construction permits around the metropolitan area. After a builder has picked up the permit from a city, Keystone Report compiles and updates weekly residential housing permits by city for 70 percent of the metropolitan-area municipalities in the greater 13-county region. Planned units are the total number of housing units planned to be built under the permits issued (one permits is issued per building which may include more than one housing unit). Permit value does not include the land/lot costs.

The Builders Association of the Twin Cities has contracted with Keystone Report, a local research firm, to maintain a database with information about new residential construction permits around the metropolitan area. After a builder has picked up the permit from a city, Keystone Report compiles and updates weekly residential housing permits by city for 70 percent of the metropolitan-area municipalities in the greater 13-county region. Planned units are the total number of housing units planned to be built under the permits issued (one permits is issued per building which may include more than one housing unit). Permit value does not include the land/lot costs.

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