The Rose offers affordable, green living


The Rose, an affordable housing project self-described as “one of the healthiest, greenest places to live in the U.S.” is set for its grand opening just south of downtown Minneapolis today.

The new, 90-unit complex is dedicated to introducing sustainability to affordable housing, a concept that benefits residents and environment alike. The project is the result of a partnership between Hope Community and Aeon, a nonprofit affordable-housing developer.

With units ranging from $650-$1700 per month, the Rose hopes to offer apartments that will cater to a variety of incomes.

Interest in the Rose has been strong throughout the building process. All 47 units reserved for low-income residents have been leased, with residents moving in Saturday. The remaining 43 units are open to a variety of incomes. “There’s not one particular type of household that will fit or be the only one that fits, and that was intentional,” said James Lehnhoff, vice president of housing development at Aeon. “We wanted to be attractive to a broad array of ages and incomes.”

At the core of the housing project’s design is the Living Building Challenge, a standard of sustainability established by the International Living Future Institute. The Challenge is divided into seven “petals,” of sustainable living: Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. The Rose was built with the goal of meeting these requirements and becoming a certified Living Building Challenge project.

Meeting the energy requirement means achieving net-zero energy use for the housing project, a goal that the Rose plans to work toward over the next couple of years. “By keeping energy costs lower, we’re able to maintain a higher level of affordability both for us and for our residents,” Lehnhoff said. “Already, solar thermal energy provides about 35 percent of the building’s hot water needs, with developers looking at ways to implement other renewable energy sources in the future.”

Beauty, another facet of the Living Building Challenge, is one that is particularly important to the developers. “We still need it to be an attractive place,” said Lehnhoff “We wanted it to be an apartment home for all incomes, for all households. It shouldn’t be something reserved just for the luxury apartment buildings when we think of healthy materials and having green space and having beauty in a housing project.”

The grand opening begins at 11:30 a.m. today, but the Rose, located at 1920-1928 S. Portland Ave., is hosting events all throughout today and tomorrow. For more information on the Rose, visit

Reporter Michael LaTour is studying journalism at the University of Minnesota.