ST PAUL — St. Paul’s bold housing goals for the Highland Bridge redevelopment site took an “important step forward” with the approval of financing for three new affordable housing projects, according to an official statement from officials.
The Highland Bridge Master Plan requires at least 20 percent of the planned 3,800 housing units on the site to be affordable at 30, 50 and 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). Upon completion of these three projects, the Highland Bridge site will be 25 percent of the way to achieving this goal:
- The Lumin at Highland Bridge (830 Cretin Avenue) is a 60-unit affordable rental senior housing development by CommonBond Communities. 7 units will be reserved for high-priority homeless and the entire building will be rent and income-restricted to senior (aged 55 and over) households with incomes of 30 percent of the AMI or below for at least 40 years.
- Nellie Francis Court (2285 Hillcrest Avenue) will add 75 units of workforce housing from developer Project for Pride in Living (PPL). All units will be reserved for households with incomes at or below 50 and 60 percent of Area Median Income. The rent and income restrictions will be in place for 30 years.
- Restoring Waters (2265 Hillcrest Avenue and 801 Mount Curve Boulevard) is a deeply affordable housing development by PPL in cooperation with Emma Norton Services. All 60 units will provide permanent supportive housing for individuals with incomes at or below 30 percent of AMI, many of whom are formerly homeless. 30 units will be reserved for high priority homeless and 9 units reserved for persons with disabilities. All units will be income-restricted for at least 30 years. Emma Norton Services will also be relocating their corporate offices to this building.
According to city officials, these developments will be funded in part with multifamily housing revenue bonds, Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Tax Increment Financing. In 2021, the Saint Paul City Council and HRA Board of Commissioners initiated the establishment of the Affordable Housing Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts at Highland Bridge, which pair market-rate and affordable housing projects. This TIF structure, along with support from Minnesota Housing, the Saint Paul Public Housing Agency, Ramsey County, the Metropolitan Council and other funding sources, will make these projects possible.
“We had pretty lofty goals to ensure economic diversity at Highland Bridge and in the Highland Park neighborhood, and this is going to help do that. Both PPL and CommonBond are building fantastic buildings…it’s exciting to see all this happening,” shared HRA Chair Chris Tolbert during the October 26, 2022 meeting.
These 195 affordable units will be available in early 2024. At final build out, Highland Bridge will include approximately 760 new units affordable to households earning 60 percent or less of Area Median Income, with half of these affordable to extremely low-income households earning 30% or less of AMI.