The state's largest affordable-housing complex will soon undergo a considerable rehab.
Funding for a project to revamp Riverside Plaza
in Minneapolis's Cedar-Riverside neighborhood closed on Jan. 5 while construction could begin next month.
The modernist 11-building campus, which renowned architect Ralph Rapson
designed in the 1970s, has 4,440 residents, plus a charter school,
grocery store, and tenant resource center, according to city information.
Matt Goldstein, who works in the city's housing division, says that
getting the finances lined up is a huge accomplishment on its own.
A complicated $132 million deal restructures the property's debt and finances a
$62 million renovation that includes $7 million for site and common-area
improvements, according to city information.
Notably, 88 percent of the project's funding comes from private sources, he says.
Goldstein explains that the rehab comes out of necessity. The heating and cooling system had started to go, which could leave a whole building without heat. As such, "The vast majority of work is being done behind the walls," he says.
Otherwise, the building could become uninhabitable and would "create an amazing burden on shelters and other available housing stock," he says, adding that there is no money to acquire the property and tear down the building.
For the city, the bottom line is about extending the building's lifespan and "enhancing the quality of life for these residents," he says. "The comprehensive nature of the renovation does that."
Other goals of the project are to increase safety on the campus, improve energy efficiency, and better provide for pedestrians and bicycles. The city also pushed for a workforce plan that creates 200 construction jobs, with 90 spots reserved for neighborhood residents.
Goldstein is hopeful about the project's potential impact on the area.
The renovation is aligned with several other projects, Goldstein explains. The nearby Cedars, also a large
affordable-housing complex, will soon be revamped, while planning for
the neighborhood's Central Corridor Light Rail stop is underway, along
with additional streetscape improvements.
It's part of a conscientious effort to make the developments work together. "The Riverside Plaza project isn't happening in a vacuum," says Goldstein.
Source: Matt Goldstein, Housing Division for Minneapolis
Writer: Anna Pratt