Saturday, May 21, 2016


Smart people, good hearts, great idea

Some of you know that I am a real admirer of the work that Dan Collison and his staff are doing at First Covenant Church here in Minneapolis (I also get to preach there about twice a year, most recently last month). 

The church is across the street from the new football stadium, and they are putting their property to good use, as explained in an article in yesterday's Star Tribune:

The city in recent years has seen many new luxury apartments pop up, along with a few affordable housing projects in which rents are subsidized. But new housing options for the moderate-income worker — those who earn too much to qualify for a subsidy yet not enough to pay for high rents — have been left out of the downtown residential boom.

Ryan [Companies, a developer], First Covenant Church and Community Housing Development Corp. a year ago outlined a rough vision for a six-story apartment building across 6th Street S. from the new Vikings stadium. This week, they submitted to the city a near-final plan for the $38 million project, which was designed by UrbanWorks Architecture.

The financing model is key to the project. Workforce housing, or that which is accessible to people making 50 to 60 percent of the area median income, is difficult to execute. Developers need to make money on a project and there are two ways to do that typically: build market-rate apartments that fetch rents high enough to pay back the cost of construction or build units for low-income earners that are eligible for government subsidies.

But Ryan, First Covenant and CHDC found a way to make the math work for their project, one that takes the Olympics for inspiration. They have an unnamed private partner with a nice budget for housing and operational space during the Super Bowl festivities that is close to committing to the project.

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