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Breaking ground: Mixed-income project on Green Line

Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins broke ground Tuesday on the 2700 University project, a 248-unit mixed-income apartment building near the Green Line’s Westgate station in St. Paul.

To put affordable and market-rate apartments under one roof, Flaherty & Collins had to create two separate legal entities to finance the $54 million project. The strategy may pave the way for future mixed-income projects in the region and for the developer.

The 345,611-square-foot building will offer studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, 20 percent of which are considered affordable. Flaherty & Collins bills the project as a luxury building with amenities including a “resort-style” saltwater pool with outdoor cabanas, an outdoor living room, fitness center, pet grooming area and bike shop.

The monthly rent for a one-bedroom affordable unit will range from $778 to $812. The average rent for market-rate units will be $1,475. Amenities in the units will include moveable islands, full-size washer and dryer, soaking tubs, patios or balconies and decorative lighting.

The building also features 3,000 square feet of retail fronting University Avenue on the Green Line. Flaherty & Collins has said it hopes to attract a “neighborhood establishment” to the space.A $28 million construction loan from BMO Harris Bank will cover most of the cost for the market-rate portion of the project. The St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority provided $9 million of housing revenue bonds and $8.3 million in tax increment financing. Flaherty & Collins received a nearly $2 million transit-oriented development grant from the Metropolitan Council.

BMO Harris and the Twin Cities’ Local Initiative Support Corporation also provided a $5 million mezzanine loan, with 60 percent of the loan financed by LISC.

Representatives from Flaherty & Collins, the city of St. Paul and other project partners will have an official ground breaking ceremony at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday at the site.

Minneapolis-based UrbanWorks Architecture is the project architect and Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson is the general contractor. Construction is expected to be complete by fall 2016.

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