Under pressure from nearby residents, Mayflower Church and nonprofit developer Plymouth Foundation have decided to reduce the size of their proposed affordable housing development in Tangletown from 40 to 30 units.
“There was concern raised just about the scale of the proposal, and so we wanted to be responsive to those concerns,” said Lee Blons, executive director of the Plymouth Foundation.
The original plan was for Creekside Commons to have 3.5-stories comprised of 40 units with 46 underground parking spaces. Now the development, which will go up on the corner of 54th Street and Stevens Avenue, has been redesigned to lose the top floor. It will be 2.5-stories high, with 30 units and the same number of parking spots. Because the project is being constructed on Mayflower Church’s lot, congregants will be allowed to use 19 of the underground spaces on Sunday mornings or during special events.
The workforce-housing complex will have six rent-subsidized units, 23 tax-credit units, and one transitional apartment for a refugee family. Rents range from $558 for a one-bedroom to $1,262 for a four-bedroom unit, depending on tenants’ income. The building will meet “green” standards by using sustainable building materials, energy-efficient lighting and appliances and eco-friendly paints and adhesives, and by being situated near public transportation.
On Aug. 20, the Tangletown Neighborhood Association (TNA) voted in favor of writing a letter to the city Planning Commission to express approval of the project with some concerns about its size.
Like members of the TNA, some neighbors are also concerned about the number of apartments in the proposed building. “Our group does not feel like taking out 10 units will have a significant enough impact on the parking, traffic and aesthetic concerns that we have about the building,” said Harry Kaiser, who lives across the street from the proposed complex.
Kasier and several Tangletown residents who are opposed to Creekside Commons formed a group called “Minneapolis Residents for Smart Density.” They met with representatives from the Plymouth Foundation and Mayflower Church in an attempt to compromise. The group suggested teaming up with Habitat for Humanity to construct homes for low-income families or creating condos. If building a rental property were the only option, Kasier said, they would be comfortable with a maximum of 12 units.
“The best way to pull yourself out of poverty […] is homeownership,” he said. “If you need three and four bedrooms, your rent is going to be high enough that it’s almost going to approach a mortgage anyway.”
Plymouth and Mayflower decided that 30 units were as low as they were willing to go. “It was very difficult for the church and for the foundation to decide to make a smaller development,” Blons said. She’s confident that everything will go smoothly with the Planning Commission and City Council, despite the opposition’s promise to continue to fight the proposal.
Contact Mary O’Regan at [email protected] or 436-5088.