Development update: Alliance Addition

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November 9, 2009 // UPDATED 10:06 am - November 9, 2009
By: Amanda Kushner
Amanda Kushner
Alliance Addition breaks ground in Elliot Park

A development for formerly homeless adults in Elliot Park is expanding to include another 59 efficiencies and two one-bedroom units.

Fifty-five units will be for households earning 30 percent below the area median income while six units will be for households earning below 50 percent of the area median income. The area median income for a single person is $58,700.

Financing is expected to close on the Alliance Addition, 724 E. 17th St., on Nov. 19. Then construction is slated to start the next day, said Gina Ciganik, vice president of housing for Aeon Management.

Aeon decided to add the addition partially because Alliance Apartments has about 300 people on their waiting list, and there is a need for this type of housing, Ciganik said.

 “The neighborhood is in support of it, so it is a good thing for the neighborhood,” she said.

Funders are interested in eliminating homelessness, and it is a priority of the city, county and state. The plans align with state efforts to end homelessness.

Cermak Rhoades Architects designed the project and Weis Builders is the contractor.

As part of the development a house will be moved about 50 feet to the east. The house is currently at 722/724 17th St. E., and after it moves the address will be 730 17th St. E. The house and new building will be part of the addition, she said. Fifty-one units will be part of the new development and 10 units will be in the house. The house is expected to move three to six weeks after closing, Ciganik said.

Alliance Addition will adjoin the Alliance Apartments, which were developed in 1997 and provide 124 homes for single men and woman who want to live in a drug-free community.

To help keep costs down the addition will share community space, resources and a front desk amenity with Alliance Apartments’ residents. The development costs about $10.2 million, Ciganik said.

The addition follows neighborhood guidelines, and the development will be the same height as surrounding buildings. Also Aeon is partnering with the Center for Sustainable Building Research and the Center for Energy & The Environment (CEE) to build a sustainable development. The building will be made of structural insulated panels. Windows and roofing materials will be energy efficient, too.

The addition will also add eyes to 17th Street, which has had seen a fair amount of criminal activity, and the development will be part of a positive change helping to reduce that negative activity in the area, she said.

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Warehouse District’s historic area might expand

The city’s Heritage Preservation Commission voted to recommend extending the boundaries of the local historic designation of the Warehouse District on Nov. 5.

The City Council is scheduled to review the designation Dec. 4.

The council locally designated the North Loop Warehouse Historic District in 1978, and the Minneapolis Warehouse Historic District, which covers a much larger area, was nationally designated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. A local designation would allow the area to receive more protection from demolition or other changes.

The proposed extension of the designation includes 158 buildings, 65 structures and 31 sites. It partially overlaps with the St. Anthony Falls Historic District.

The State Historic Preservation Office and City Planning Commission have provided favorable comments on the designation study.

“It seems that we are moving in the right direction,” said Chuck Leer, representing 2010 Partners. “ … We are a little concerned about when the designations proceed the final guidelines.”

The commission is tentatively scheduled to vote on Warehouse District development guidelines in January 2010. These guidelines would pertain to buildings’ exteriors, said Senior City Planner Brian Schaffer.

The guidelines are under revision, and a new draft will be published Dec. 1, and then the commission will meet to for discussion Dec. 8. It agreed to send a letter to Hennepin County expressing that Community Planning and Economic Development and the commission will work together with Hennepin County on the guidelines, as some worry they may impact the interchange station planned for that area.

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New hydropower project underway

Construction is underway on a 10-megawatt Lower Saint Anthony Falls hydroelectric project that will create 63,000 megawatt hours of clean renewable energy for Minnesota each year. That’s the equivalent of 37,000 barrels of oil and enough to power 7,500 homes each year, according to a news release.

The Downtown project is adjacent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lock and Dam.

To generate power the hydropower project will channel about 6,200 cubic feet per second of Mississippi River water through 16 StraflowMatrix turbine generators.

The construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2010, and its creating 75 jobs.

Renewable Energy Production Incentives payments are helping to make the project, which is owned by Brookfield Renewable Power and Spaulding Consultants, possible.