Eight properties for eight bucks.
That's the deal between St. Paul and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity after the sale was approved Wednesday by the city's Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA).
The properties are in two of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. Seven are in Payne-Phalen, the eighth is in Summit-University.
"It's an opportunity to focus on neighborhood revitalization and new opportunities," said Sue Haigh, president of the nonprofit affordable housing provider.
Five of the Payne-Phalen properties will be part of a program this October when former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, visit to work on building or fixing up 20 homes in struggling St. Paul and Minneapolis neighborhoods. An additional Payne-Phalen property will be used as a staging area for the project and developed later.
Two foreclosed houses in Payne-Phalen will be rehabilitated, and three new homes will be built on foreclosed lots. An additional five properties near the ones purchased by Habitat for Humanity will get exterior repairs through the nonprofit's A Brush With Kindness program.
The work will take a week and involve hundreds of volunteers.
Habitat is scheduled to go before the Minneapolis City Council next month to talk about 10 properties there.
HRA Commissioner Lee Helgen, also the City Council member who represents part of Payne-Phalen, said the Habitat project is "a great opportunity to have a large impact."
The city paid $197,000 for all eight properties, and then sold them for $1 each to Habitat. The total cost of developing of them is $1.4 million, of which $820,700 is coming from sponsorships, donations and volunteer labor.
The city will provide $50,000 for each property to make them more affordable. The money comes from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a $6 billion stimulus effort to help U.S. communities battle the effects of foreclosures. St. Paul has received nearly $29 million through the program.
Habitat is expected to acquire 50 properties in St. Paul over the next four years.
In other action:
•The City Council approved an updated federal flood insurance map and incorporated it into ordinances. The action ensures the city's eligibility in the National Flood Insurance program.
•The HRA approved a $45,000 loan to Three Deep Marketing, which wants to leave its current North St. Paul location for new space in Lowertown. The loan will be forgiven if the firm maintains 30 full-time jobs over five years.
Chris Havens • 612-673-4148