St. Anthony Park, a cozy St. Paul neighborhood of appealing shops and curvy, tree-lined streets, is a step closer to getting a batch of new housing, the first in decades.
Construction will start within weeks on a 25-unit market-rate apartment building that’s just down the street from Luther Seminary, which on Monday signed a deal to sell a small patch of its shady campus to a developer who plans to build a 50-unit senior cooperative.
“This means a lot to the neighborhood,” said Jon Schumacher, a resident and executive director of the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation.
He said many of the people who live in the neighborhood are seniors who may be attracted by the chance to move to maintenance-free housing. “We get to keep our neighbors, their time, their talents and their purchasing power,” Schumacher said.
Luther Seminary will sell a 1.6-acre site at the southeast edge of the seminary’s campus near the corner of West Luther Place and Como Avenue to Ecumen, a Twin Cities-based, Lutheran-affiliated, nonprofit senior housing developer that will build a three-story cooperative with about 50 units and underground parking. Sales will begin this spring with construction to be finished in late 2017.
That land sale is part of Luther’s ongoing efforts to update some of the historic buildings on the campus, including Bockman Hall, by leveraging underused assets. The seminary has already sold some of its housing to a private investor/manager and has been renting space to other nonprofits.
“To fulfill our primary mission to educate Christian leaders, we need to invest in our core campus and better utilize our buildings and land,” Luther President Robin Steinke said in a statement.
These projects are part of a broader initiative called the Como 2030 Plan, which is part of St. Paul’s comprehensive plan. It calls for creating additional “life cycle” housing options for the growing population of seniors in the neighborhood.
“Bringing cooperative senior housing to St. Anthony Park allows residents to age in place and continue to enjoy their wonderful community,” said Ecumen Chief Executive Kathryn Roberts.
Just a block away at the corner of Como Avenue and Doswell, construction will start soon on Park 24, a 25-unit, market-rate rental apartment building.
Units will ranging from 720 to 1,245 square feet. Preliminary monthly rents range from $1,400 to $2,400.
That four-story building will have an exercise room, rooftop deck and community room with retail on the first floor. Tanya Bell of Grand Real Estate Advisors, which was a development consultant for both projects, said that businessman Ned Wesenberg has owned the site for several years.
His construction financing is already in place and he has already obtained all necessary site approvals. Construction is expected to take less than a year, she said.