Type: Rental apartments
Size: 3 stories
Cost: $8.7 million
Developer: Alliance Housing Inc.
Details: A long-planned effort to construct 46 units of "workforce" housing on the site of a vacant gas station in North Minneapolis is about to get underway after financing was secured and city approvals given this month.
Initially proposed in 2004, the Gateway Lofts project at first encountered political and community opposition and then a long wait for funding in a highly competitive landscape for scarce tax credit allocations. But a milestone was passed in January when the effort's nonprofit developer, Alliance Housing Inc., was able to secure $686,000 in low-income housing tax credits from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.
That will be added to other funding sources that include low-interest deferred loans from the city and Hennepin County affordable housing moneys to produce a hoped-for fall groundbreaking, said Herb Frey, executive director of Alliance Housing.
"Some of the neighbors didn't like the project when we proposed it, and the political support wasn't really there at first," Frey said. "But since then I think people have realized that this answers the need for more dense housing along transportation corridors like West Broadway. That's really what you need to help revitalize the North Side."
Its location is considered the "gateway" into Minneapolis from Robbinsdale, and Frey says an attractive new apartment development at the spot catering to low- and moderate-income tenants with jobs would be a valuable addition to the city.
He said the finished product would be very much like Alliance's 80-unit Hiawatha Commons in south Minneapolis, which placed affordable housing along the light-rail corridor to serve those with low-wage jobs at the airport, the Mall of America and in downtown Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis Planning Commission this month approved a conditional use permit for Gateway Lofts. Under the plan, a long-vacant gas station at the corner of West Broadway and Upton Avenue N. would be demolished and a billboard on the site removed.
Enclosed, below-grade parking accessed from Upton Avenue would be part of the project.
Frey said a possible tenant pool would be workers at nearby North Memorial Hospital.
Don Jacobson, a freelance writer based in St. Paul, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.