Met Council Grants $9.6M For Development Projects
The Metropolitan Council announced Wednesday that it has approved $9.6 million in grants for various development, redevelopment, and assessment projects in the greater Twin Cities area.
The St. Paul-based regional planning organization approved $5.6 million in five “Livable Communities” grants in three cities, primarily for land and transit development. It also approved $4 million in Livable Communities brownfield investigation and cleanup grants for redevelopment and assessment projects at 13 contaminated sites.
The Living Communities grants are funded by property taxes and the Metropolitan Council's general fund. According to the council, 94 communities in the Twin Cities participate in the grant program.
Housing and Transit Projects
The Metropolitan Council said that its “demonstration account” grants are intended to promote housing, transit, and economic development.
“These grants help to keep communities healthy, connect people with places, ensure the region remains competitive and dynamic, and maintain the quality of life that continues to attract not only residents, but quality employers,” Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh said in a statement.
The Villages at Frost and English project in Maplewood is the largest demonstration account grant recipient, receiving $1.9 million. That residential and commercial mixed-use project includes reconstruction on Frost Avenue, stormwater management improvements at the Maplewood Bowl redevelopment site, and improvements for pedestrian traffic.
The Commons at Penn project and the Hawthorne Eco Village project (both in Minneapolis) are the second-largest grant recipients, receiving $1 million each. The Commons at Penn—a 45-unit, multi-family apartment building at Golden Valley Road and Penn Avenue—project consists of lighting, stormwater, sewer, sidewalk, and bus shelter improvements. Meanwhile, the Hawthorne Eco Village project consists of stormwater, landscaping, design, and engineering improvements at the site of the new 75-unit apartment building at Lowry and Lyndale Avenues.
Other projects receiving “demonstration account” grant money include:
- Downtown Senior Housing (Rosemount) – $942,000 for land acquisition, sidewalks, sewer line replacement, demolition, and stormwater management improvements at the site of a new 60-unit senior housing project
- MoZaic, Phase II (Minneapolis) – $750,000 for a stormwater system overhaul, extended walkway, bike facilities, and relocation of water, electrical, and telecommunications lines at a development on Lagoon Avenue
According to the Metropolitan Council, 600 permanent jobs, 600 temporary construction jobs, and approximately 300 units of affordable housing are expected outcomes of those five grants. The council also said that the grants are expected to leverage roughly $72 million in private investment in addition to another $21.5 million in public investment.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Council said that 13 brownfield investigation and cleanup grants are intended to restore contaminated properties, create jobs, and increase economic development. In total, the council received 19 applications requesting $6.2 million.
“The resources we are allocating today will help clean up 60 acres, create or retain 2,800 jobs, increase the net tax base by $4.7 million, help to produce more than 60 affordable housing units, and encourage nearly $390 million in private investment. That’s an exciting return on investment,” Haigh said in a statement.
With $43,300, Twin Lakes Apartments in Roseville is the largest brownfield investigation and cleanup grant recipient in the “contamination site investigation” category. The grant will go toward the environmental and hazardous materials assessments of 5.9 acres of industrial land that was previously used as a trucking transfer site, to be considered for a mixed-income housing project.
The other project within the “contamination site investigation” category receiving a grant is Gross Given in St. Paul. Gross Given will receive $8,200 for asbestos assessment at a five-acre industrial site that formerly consisted of dye manufacturing, dry cleaning, a lumberyard, and metal manufacturing businesses. Plans also include renovating the existing building for office, storage, and manufacturing space.
With $850,000, Custom House in St. Paul is the largest grant recipient in the “contamination cleanup” category. The grant will go toward asbestos and lead-based paint elimination at a 1.7-acre site with a vacant 17-story building (that formerly housed the U.S. Postal Service on Kellogg Boulevard). Redevelopment plans include 200 apartments, a 150-room hotel with a restaurant, 94,500 square feet of office space, and 31,500 square feet of public space.
Other projects receiving contamination cleanup grants include:
- Lowertown Ballpark (St. Paul) – $748,000 for environmental investigation and soil and groundwater remediation at the 9.7-acre site
- 807 Broadway Revival (Minneapolis) – $576,700 for asbestos and lead-based paint elimination at a 5.8-acre site; redevelopment plans include 170,000 square feet of multi-tenant office and production space
- Northern Stacks Phase I (Fridley) – $547,000 for asbestos elimination and soil and groundwater remediation at a 30-acre site; development plans include 345,000 square feet of office and warehouse space
- Plymouth Building (Minneapolis) – $500,000 for asbestos and lead-based paint elimination at a partially occupied 12-story office building; renovation plans include a 273-unit hotel with a ballroom and restaurant
- Shapco Printing (Minneapolis) – $224,900 for soil and groundwater remediation at a 1.2-acre site; development plans include a 250,000-square-foot single-tenant office building
- Western University Plaza (St. Paul) – $177,600 for soil remediation at a 1.6-acre site; redevelopment plans include 58 affordable apartments, 5,000 square feet of commercial space, and townhomes or single-family homes
- WaHu Student Housing (Minneapolis) – $136,700 for additional soil and groundwater remediation at a two-acre site; redevelopment plans include approximately 300 apartments and 30,500 square feet of ground-level retail and commercial space
- Miller Bag Building (Minneapolis) – $125,000 for asbestos and lead-based paint elimination and soil remediation at a 1.3-acre site; building renovation plans include 31,000 square feet of office space and 11,500 square feet of production space
- Xenia Project (Golden Valley) – $92,400 for soil remediation at a 5.9-acre site; development plans include roughly 400 apartments
- 129 Plymouth (Plymouth) – $21,800 for soil remediation at a 0.8-acre site; development plans include 10,000 square feet of multi-tenant retail space
The Metropolitan Council said that it has given 370 brownfield cleanup grant awards to 45 communities totaling more than $99 million since the program became law in 1995. The council also said that the grants have helped leverage approximately $6 billion in private investment, create and maintain more than 43,000 jobs, and clean up more than 2,100 acres of contaminated properties.
Earlier this summer, the Metropolitan Council approved 10 brownfield cleanup grants, totaling $2.5 million, for five metro communities.