As a St. Paulite, your blogger has watched with interest as the sleek new $6.9 million headquarters for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has sprung up at the corner of University and Prior avenues.

The mass-transit friendly contemporary building will formally open on Feb. 24. The group has outgrown its current quarters located at 3001 4th St. SE in a Minneapolis industrial park.

Habitat for Humanity is perhaps best-known for its homeownership programs, where volunteers build and rehab housing for low-income families. The organization also helps homeowners maintain their homes, and assist with financial literacy programs related to homeownership.

The Minneapolis office of the architectural firm, Gensler, designed the new 28,000-square-foot headquarters with McGough Construction handling the building component. LEED-silver certified, it features meeting space for individuals, small and large groups, as well as space for Habitat staff on the second and third floors.(Habitat currently employs about 125 people.)

About $400,000 of the materials were donated to the group for the new building, including a $50,000 donation from the Anderson Corporate Foundation.

"We wanted to create a place that is happy and hopeful," said Betsy Vohs, senior associate at Gensler. "We want the building to say, 'We are here to help.'"

Pictured above is Sue Haigh, president of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, (left) and Betsy Vohs, senior associate at Gensler. They're standing in front of a "Quilt Wall," that was made from fabric pieces donated by donors, volunteers, and families who have been involved with Habitat.

Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.

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