Mpls. Approves Funds for Riverside Plaza Project

The $1.9 million in assistance and up to $80 million in revenue bonds that the City Council has approved is expected to preserve affordable housing, create construction jobs, and improve public safety at Riverside Plaza.

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously approved $1.9 million in assistance and the issuance of up to $80 million in tax-exempt, multifamily housing revenue bonds for the stabilization and revitalization of Riverside Plaza.

Riverside Plaza is a 27-year-old, 11-building campus that is the largest affordable housing development in the state. Bounded by Cedar Avenue, South Fourth Street, 15th Avenue South, and South Sixth Street, it consists of 1,303 mixed-income units that house approximately 4,440 individuals. The campus also has a kindergarten- through eighth-grade charter school, a grocery store, a post office, and a tenant resource center with various social services-including a computer lab and job training.

According to a City of Minneapolis news release, the City Council approved a neighborhood development agreement between the city and the property owner, Sherman Associates. The city said that the revitalization project will:

¥ Preserve and improve 1,303 units of affordable housing /> ¥ Create 250 construction jobs, 90 of which will be reserved for residents of Riverside Plaza and surrounding neighborhoods /> ¥ Improve public safety in the form of security, lighting, sidewalks, signage, and wayfinding /> ¥ Reduce energy consumption /> ¥ Improve the pedestrian and bicycle environments and streetscape

“This is a critical piece in the transformation of the West Bank that includes housing for people of all incomes and some of the best transit options in the Upper Midwest,” Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said in a statement. “This builds on work of other large projects like the Midtown Exchange, where the City of Minneapolis has shown that new development can and must create economic opportunity for people who live in the community.”

The funding for the project will close by the end of 2010, and construction-which will take two years-will begin in January 2011, the city said.

The city's investment in Riverside Plaza is part of a larger strategy for the Cedar Riverside/West Bank neighborhood. Called the “Marshall Plan,” the idea is to prepare for the Central Corridor light-rail transit line and to help the neighborhood realize its potential as a model transit-oriented development community.