5344-60 Riverview Road, Minneapolis

Type: Senior rentals

Units: 42

Size: 36,000 square feet

Cost: $8.2 million

Developers: Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation, CommonBond Communities

General contractor: Watson-Forsberg Co., Minneapolis

Details: A fall groundbreaking is on tap for a new apartment building targeted to low-income seniors near the Department of Veterans Affairs complex and light-rail stop in Minneapolis.

The Riverview Senior Housing project will be built on what were once the sites of nine single-family homes along 54th Street and Hiawatha Avenue S. that were bought during the reconstruction and expansion of Hwy. 55.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation held the parcels until they were acquired by the city of Minneapolis, which has since struck a redevelopment agreement for the site with nonprofit housing developers Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation and CommonBond Communities.

The plans call for a four-story, 42-unit apartment complex for very low-income seniors, including the frail elderly. The new building will be less than three blocks from the VA Medical Center Station along the Hiawatha light-rail line.

The Plymouth Church foundation, working on behalf of Minnehaha United Methodist Church and the Nokomis Lutheran Church, started scouring the neighborhood six years ago in hopes of finding suitable property on which to provide affordable housing for the area's low-income seniors, said Matt Crellin, the foundation's director of housing development.

"We did some research and found that MnDOT was going to declare the site as surplus land," he said. "We started talking to the city about it and realized it was a good fit for subsidized housing. The idea was, if not there, then where?"

The project will be mainly funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 202 program, which provides capital advances to finance the construction of new housing for the very low-income elderly, as well as rent subsidies to keep them affordable.

Other funding sources include Minneapolis, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines and the congregations of the two local churches.

St. Paul-based CommonBond Communities was brought on as a co-developer, and the effort last month succeeded in securing the proper rezoning and a conditional use permit from the city's Planning Commission.

Crellin said the final building plans are being submitted to HUD for approval and, if all goes well, a groundbreaking is in the works for September or October.

Don Jacobson, a freelance writer based in St. Paul, can be contacted at hotproperty.startribune@gmail.com.