Sabathani plans senior housing project

A drop-off area for new senior housing adjacent to Sabathani Community Center.

Sabathani Community Center is aiming to build senior housing on its green space at the southeast corner of 37th Street & 3rd Avenue South.

“The goal at Sabathani is to try to provide affordable housing with 50 units on our back lot,” said Executive Director Cindy Booker.

The housing is designed for residents ages 55 and up who would live independently. Proposed maximum income thresholds are $30,350 for a single senior and $34,650 for two seniors.

The L-shaped building would rise four stories along 3rd Avenue and three stories on 37th Street.

The field is currently used as a place for kids to play soccer; the community garden and playground on the east side of the lot would remain. A walking path would connect the spaces on the block.

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A bird’s eye view looking northwest at senior housing proposed for 37th Street & 3rd Avenue South, which would feature a walking path to the existing playground and community garden.

According to a 2010 census, Minneapolis residents age 50 and older number 90,544. Of that number, 25,461 are age 65-84, and 5,050 are over age 85.

Sabathani offers a senior program that includes fitness classes, a danceline, political forums, nurse clinics and legal help. The idea for affordable senior housing came from residents in the program.

“Once people reach a certain age, they have to leave the community,” said Booker.

She said the transition is difficult, as residents must leave behind friends, churches and their neighborhood grocery store.

Booker noted that the Minneapolis City Council adopted goals in 2013 to create one new senior housing project in each ward by 2025. Sabathani could build the 8th Ward project, she said.

Sabathani will work to raise $12-$15 million in funding throughout 2016, with hopes to break ground in mid-2017.

The exterior design is evolving, and the developer is seeking neighborhood feedback, said Housing Development Specialist Sarah Larson of the Landon Group, the development consultant for the project. The project will go before the Bryant Neighborhood Organization on April 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Urban League building, 411 E. 38th St.