CommonBond Communities closed this month on four transactions that will result in 267 affordable homes through new construction of 166 units and renovation of 101 units.

CEO Deidre Schmidt added that CommonBond — the St. Paul-based developer and manager of affordable housing that is the largest in Minnesota — expects to produce a record 925 housing units in total this year at an average cost of about $191,000, including renovation and new construction.

“And we are tens of thousands of units behind,” Schmidt said. “The support we are starting to get from employers is really critical.”

Schmidt said CommonBond and other nonprofit housing managers increasingly are working jointly with for-profit developers, as well as major employers who want to see more housing. The recent CommonBond developments include:

• Acquisition of Stonehouse Square Apartment at 215 Broadway Street NE., a 90-unit complex built in 1895 that will be renovated to include masonry work, new mechanicals and interior enhancements.

• Construction of the Willows in Shakopee, which include 60 apartments for people who make less than 50% of the area median income. Major employers such as FedEx, Shutterfly and Amazon have had to bus in employees because of the lack of affordable housing.

• Construction with partners of Trail Pointe Ridge in Eden Prairie. It will include 58 mixed-income apartment units that is part of a larger neighborhood development called Smith Village. It includes United Properties’ Applewood Pointe, a senior co-op development, and six houses being developed by Halley Land Corp. This will be the first affordable housing in Eden Prairie in a dozen years.

• Purchase and renovation of Guardian Angels Apartments and Townhomes in Hastings, plus three new units.

Neal St. Anthony

Business associations

Jungbauer named Minnesota Chamber chair

CEO Molly Jungbauer of Hollstadt Consulting of Mendota Heights will take over as chair of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce board of directors for the 2019-20 term, which begins at the annual meeting on Nov. 21.

The chamber’s membership elected new officers and board members in August.

“The Minnesota Chamber is focused on pursuing policies that foster Minnesota businesses’ ability to provide economic opportunity for all citizens statewide and to strengthen their ability to compete in national and global markets,” Jungbauer said in a statement. “This includes creating a more competitive tax and regulatory environment and defining an appropriate role for government at every level.”

Other chamber officers include: Chair-elect Mike McMahan of Allina Health; Secretary-Treasurer Stephanie Laitala-Rupp of Commonwealth Properties of St. Paul and immediate past chair David Ahlers of Graco.

Jungbauer, a veteran public accountant and corporate controller of the Minnesota Wild, joined her husband, Jim Jungbauer, when they acquired Hollstadt from founder Rachel Hollstadt in 2012. Jim Jungbauer joined Hollstadt in 2006 and was president at the time of the acquisition.

The volunteer board of the chamber represents 2,300-member businesses that employ more than 500,000 employees across the state.

The board sets a public policy agenda designed to improve Minnesota’s business climate, and “for shaping the chamber’s workforce efforts and one-on-one business assistance programs that help businesses succeed in a changing and growing economy.’’

The chamber and its local affiliates have been active in the areas of workforce development, immigration reform, helping expand local businesses, and waste reduction and recycling programs.

Neal St. Anthony

startup cities

St. Paul lauded as a good city for startups

St. Paul, along with Madison, Wis. and Plano, Texas, are the best three “untapped cities” in the United States for startup businesses, according to a survey by Fundera, the small-business adviser.

Startup culture is centered in a few regions in the country. The Silicon Valley Bay Area accounts for 45% of total venture capital investment in the U.S. Throw in other startup hubs, such as New York, Boston and Seattle, and that covers nearly three-quarters of the country’s venture capital investment. Many experts have called out so-called “second tier” startup cities, such as Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas, but even those regions are now becoming costly and saturated for would-be entrepreneurs.

Fundera gathered data on 50 midsize cities with a population of less than 500,000. It measured each city’s labor pool, average labor cost, office space cost, average cost of living, and proximity to a larger startup system. More at

Neal St. Anthony