Affordable housing proposed for 3301 Nicollet

Alliance Housing has purchased property at the southeast corner of 33rd & Nicollet.

Alliance Housing has acquired vacant retail property at 3301 Nicollet Ave. and 9 E. 33rd St. with plans to build four-six stories of affordable housing.

Although the design is still in flux, Executive Director Barb Jeanetta said the project of 55-60 units would mainly consist of studio and one-bedroom apartments affordable to people making $9-$15 an hour, priced at about $600 for a studio and $700-$800 for a one-bedroom unit. About a dozen units might provide supportive housing through Avivo (formerly called RESOURCE). The site may include 12-15 surface parking spaces.

As neighbors have expressed interest in commercial space on the first floor, Jeanetta said she would pursue a business or other active first-floor use.

Jeanetta said affordability has emerged as a concern in the Lyndale neighborhood, as most new development is higher-end. She said she’s discussing with residents the possibility of a Lyndale Neighborhood Revitalization Program loan for pre-development expenses that would be repaid in full.

“We’d dearly love in the next couple of months to tear down the monstrosity of buildings and structures that are there,” she said, adding that the site has been vacant more than a year.

Following demolition, the nonprofit would be open to hosting pop-up markets or community gardens, she said.

Jeanetta said Alliance Housing welcomes renters that typically have difficulty finding housing due to issues like bad credit, a past addiction or criminal history.

“It’s our mission to give people a second chance,” she said. “…Alliance’s philosophy is to try to not screen so many people out, and give people expectations around paying rent and behavior. As long as they can meet those expectations, we’re less judgmental about what they’ve done four, five, 20 years ago. … Way too many people have trouble finding housing in this market today.”

Lyndale Neighborhood Association Executive Director Brad Bourn said board members are excited to engage neighbors in the redevelopment.

“The current property has been a long time blighted and vacant property and has so much potential to provide affordable housing in our neighborhood,” he said in a statement.

Alliance Housing would seek government funds that don’t need to be repaid in order to keep units affordable long-term, Jeanetta said. Full funding could take up to three years to secure, she said.

Alliance Housing currently operates about 70 units scattered throughout neighborhoods including Whittier, Powderhorn, Central and Bancroft. The nonprofit has also expressed interest in purchasing Kateri Residence at 2408 4th Ave. S. for affordable housing, if no other groups move forward to take over the Kateri program.