2 Local Buildings Get Nod for Affordable Housing

A building in Minneapolis and a building in St. Paul were selected as finalists in a ranking of the nation's top affordable housing projects-and both were recognized in the historic rehabilitation category.

Riverside Plaza in Minneapolis and The Minnesota Building in St. Paul are garnering attention as two of the top affordable housing developments in the nation.

Both buildings are finalists in the readers' choice awards hosted by Affordable Housing Finance magazine, which received more than 140 nominations and whittled them down to 35 finalists in nine categories.

The Twin Cities developments are both contenders in the best historic rehabilitation category. They're both also in the running for the best overall development. The six-building Riverside Plaza complex, which consists of a cluster of towers ranging from four to 39 floors that together comprise more than 30,000 square feet of commercial and community space, received funding earlier this year for the rehabilitation and modernization of its 1,303 housing units.

“Many of the finalists overcame obstacles related to the nation's financial meltdown and drop in low-income housing tax credit equity pricing in 2008 and early 2009,” the magazine said. The finalists were selected based on several characteristics, including an analysis of how they added to the affordable housing stock, offered outstanding social services, and used cost-effective and innovative design.

“This publication is nationally known for affordable housing reporting, and the City of St. Paul takes great pride in having a local project being recognized by them,” the city wrote on its Web site.

Voting for the top development is open through Friday. Affordable Housing Finance magazine noted that voting is open to subscribers of its magazine and e-newsletter, although the City of St. Paul encouraged local residents to vote, telling people to insert the words “newsletter subscriber” where the survey requests an identification number. Readers can cast their votes here.

The winners will be highlighted in the November/December issue of Affordable Housing Finance and will be honored in November at AHF Live: The 2011 Affordable Housing Developers' Summit in Chicago.