After years of planning, construction is underway on a mixed-use project in the Minneapolis Mill District that will be the first downtown to combine income-restricted rental apartments with senior housing.

Eagle Iron Partners, the master developer, will build a six-story building with 150 units and about 15,000 square feet of retail space next to a five-story, market-rate senior apartment building called Abiitan Mill City, which will be developed by Ecumen, a senior housing nonprofit, and have 151 rental units specifically for seniors, including independent living and memory care units. It’ll also have a fitness center and restaurant that will be open to the public.

The two-block site is at the corner of 2nd Street and 3rd Avenue S. near the Mississippi River and just down the street from the Guthrie Theater. It’s one of the last open parcels of land in the Mill District and is now a surface parking lot.

Matt McNeill, director of business development for Ecumen, said that site work is underway, including securing the site and preparing for excavation. This week crews are focusing on environmental cleanup, which will take at least a month. Then, crews will start work on footings and foundation. Both projects are scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.

For information go to millcityquarter.com or abiitan.org.

Jim Buchta