The Metropolitan Council recently approved money for land for future affordable housing and the first new multi-tenant office building on University Avenue in more than 20 years.

Earlier this year, the Met Council partnered with Minnesota Housing and the Family Housing Fund to establish the new Land Acquisition for Affordable New Development (LAAND) Initiative. In November, the Met Council authorized up to $3.6 million in loans to help some metro-area cities buy land now for affordable housing in the future. The loans will be made through the Council’s Livable Communities program, marking the first time the funds will be loaned to communities to help them purchase land for housing projects.

Of the $3.6 million, $1 million will go to help with land acquisition for affordable housing near the Central Corridor LRT alignment along University Avenue. The city of St. Paul’s application indicated at least 30 percent of the housing that will be developed will be affordable.

On Dec. 10, the Met Council approved a $250,000 grant for 2700 the Avenue, a mixed-use office and retail development that will feature up to 10,000 square feet of office space above a grocery store and additional retail. Located two blocks west of Highway 280 on the border of Minneapolis and St. Paul, 2700 the Avenue will be in front of the Westgate Station. The project will complete a 15-acre area bounded by University Avenue, Emerald Street, Ellis Avenue and Curfew Street that for the last eight years has focused on primarily developing new housing units. 2700 the Avenue will round out this quadrant with an office/retail building that connects the new housing with employment and retail amenities and intensifies the land use.

“Adding office jobs and retail to this primarily residential location is a demonstration of providing an appropriate transit-oriented mix of uses in a location near a future Central Corridor stop,” according to a statement from the Met Council’s Livable Communities Advisory Committee.

The grant money is for storm water management improvements and extension of sewer, water and telecommunications lines to 2700 the Avenue.

For more information about the project, visit:

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