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April 22, 2021

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Deeply affordable housing at Highland Bridge moves forward

Regional collaboration will add 195 affordable units, including deeply affordable units for households earning 30% or less of Area Median Income

St. Paul, Minn. – On Wednesday, April 14, the Saint Paul City Council unanimously initiated the establishment of two Affordable Housing Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts at Highland Bridge (formerly known as the “Ford Site”). This exciting and important step will help provide deeply affordable housing units on the Highland Bridge site, following the original vision in the Ford Site Zoning and Public Realm Master Plan.

Minnesota Housing, the Metropolitan Council, Saint Paul Public Housing Authority, and Ramsey County are crucial funding partners to ensure this deeply affordable housing is developed at Highland Bridge. These regional partners are essential in providing opportunities for individuals at any income level to live in the new connected, livable, mixed-use neighborhood.

"The Highland Bridge provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help meet our many housing needs," said Mayor Melvin Carter. "With the support of Saint Paul Public Housing Authority, Ramsey County, Metropolitan Council and Minnesota Housing, this effort stands to benefit our entire community."  

The approved TIF districts will include three new affordable housing projects developed by Project for Pride in Living and CommonBond Communities. Later this year, the Saint Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority will consider development agreements for each housing project. Each TIF district will include market-rate development beginning construction this summer, to enhance the financing tool for affordable developments at Highland Bridge.

The Highland Bridge Master Plan requires 20% of all housing units to be affordable, with a mix of rental and owner-occupied housing options. At final build out, Highland Bridge will include approximately 763 new units affordable to households earning 60% or less of Area Median Income (AMI), with half of these affordable to extremely low-income households earning 30% or less of AMI.

“Providing equitable access to Highland Bridge is imperative as we build this 21st-century community,” said Councilmember Chris Tolbert, who represents the ward in which the development is located. “We must continue to work together to ensure everyone has access to safe, affordable, fair and equitable housing no matter where you are on the economic ladder.”

The Ford Site Housing TIF District #1 will include two projects developed by Project for Pride in Living. One project, “Emma Norton 2.0,” includes 60 units of supportive housing for women earning 30% or less of AMI, which is $22,050 for an individual. Residents will receive consistent, individualized case management services to assist in developing short- and long-term goals in the areas of financial management, physical health, and emotional well-being. Additional financing includes $6.6 million from Minnesota Housing and $1.9 million from the Metropolitan Council for construction. The other project, Nellie Francis Court, includes 75 units of workforce housing. Approximately 20% of these units will be affordable to households earning 50% or less of AMI, which is $51,700 for a family of four. The remainder will be affordable to households earning 60% or less of AMI, which is $62,040 for a family of four.

“At Project for Pride in Living, we believe that affordable housing and career training are the keys to stabilizing households economically,” said Paul Williams, president and CEO at Project for Pride in Living. “Highland Bridge represents an opportunity for individuals and families with lower incomes to live in a wonderful community that is close to good jobs, transit and incredible green spaces. We’re grateful to the City of Saint Paul for their extraordinary commitment to inclusion and affordability at this site. We’re honored to play a role in this historic initiative.”

The Ford Site Housing District #2 includes one project developed by CommonBond Communities. The project includes 60 units of senior housing affordable to households earning 30% or less of AMI. Additional financing includes 60 project-based vouchers for rent assistance from the Saint Paul Public Housing Authority to keep the units affordable and $4.5 million from Ramsey County for construction costs.

“We are excited about our partnership with the City of Saint Paul to bring affordable housing to the Highland Bridge community. Our first development will provide 60 units of senior housing, and future efforts will provide affordable apartment homes for hundreds of additional residents,” said Andrew Babula, director of acquisitions and development at CommonBond Communities. “Saint Paul’s commitment to affordable housing is essential to making these projects viable and to ensuring this beautiful new community is accessible to people at all income levels.”

To stay updated on Highland Bridge construction, visit highlandbridge.com/construction-updates.

ABOUT HIGHLAND BRIDGE
Highland Bridge (formerly known as the “Ford Site”) is 135 acres of land along the Mississippi River and the former home of Ford Motor Companies' Twin Cities Assembly Plant. After closure, the City of Saint Paul and multiple partners spent a decade engaging with the community, studying environmental impacts and approving a final plan for the site's redevelopment. Ryan Companies, as master developer of the site, is executing the City's plan of a new connected, livable, mixed-use neighborhood with clean technologies and high-quality design for energy, buildings, and infrastructure. It will be woven into the existing community; support walking, biking, and transit; and provide services, jobs, and activities that every generation can enjoy.

ABOUT PROJECT FOR PRIDE IN LIVING
Project for Pride in Living (PPL) is a results-driven housing and career readiness organization. At PPL, we focus on two core drivers of poverty – unemployment and homelessness – and insist that every one of our programs deliver superior results. Last year alone, nearly 13,000 people moved into affordable housing, earned higher incomes, improved their academic skills and gained economic independence with the help of PPL. Learn more at ppl-inc.org.

ABOUT COMMONBOND COMMUNITIES
CommonBond Communities believes that a home is the foundation for everything in life. Our mission is to build stable homes, strong futures, and vibrant communities. In 2021, we celebrate our 50th anniversary of building and sustaining homes with services for families, older adults, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. We combine affordable housing with onsite support services to help residents achieve stability, advancement, and independence.

 

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Last Edited: May 24, 2021