Marshall Avenue Flats to feature 98 units of affordable housing near Marshall and Snelling

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With a major boost from the city of St. Paul and other partners, PAK Properties and the HBG Group are moving closer toward starting work on a new six-story, 98-unit affordable rental housing development at Marshall Avenue and Fry Street.

Among the planned features of the $33.4 million project are a handful of three-bedroom, family-size apartments targeted to the very poor, a rarity for private, for-profit developers.

Located just off Snelling Avenue, the Marshall Avenue Flats project at 1606 Marshall Ave. will be constructed on an empty parking lot adjoining the old Richards Gordon Elementary School building, with 24 units of new underground parking. The former school building is now an office building.

“This is another project we’ve been working on for a long time to get to the finish line,” said Nicolle Goodman, director of St. Paul Planning and Economic Development.

With apartment sizes ranging from one to three bedrooms, 64 units will be targeted to households earning no more than 60% area median income, 24 units will be targeted to households earning no more than 50% AMI, and 10 units will be reserved for very low-income families earning no more than 30% AMI. Half of the 30% AMI units will be three-bedroom apartments.

In 2023, the official area median income for a family of four is $124,900.

Financial support

Meeting as the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the St. Paul City Council on Dec. 13 approved a multi-tiered package of financial support to make the Marshall Avenue Flats a reality. The package was approved 6-0, with Council President Amy Brendmoen absent.

The financial support included authorizing the issuance of conduit multi-family housing revenue bonds, as well as a $2.6 million St. Paul HOME loan, a $2.5 million loan of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, and a $600,000 loan from a Metropolitan Council Livable Communities Demonstration Account/Transit-Oriented Development grant.

Also lined up for the project are low-income housing tax credits, a $300,000 Ramsey County “Critical Corridors” loan, a deferred developer’s fee and energy rebate.

Architect’s rendering of Marshall Avenue Flats, a six-story, 98-unit affordable rental housing development by PAK Properties and the HBG Group at Marshall Avenue and Fry Street. The St. Paul City Council on Dec. 13, 2023, approved financial support to help make the project a reality. (Courtesy of LSE Architects)

“What this means is that along Marshall Avenue there will be even more new multi-family housing along multiple transit lines … in a neighborhood that actually has a lot of mixed-income needs and needs more housing options,” said Council Member Mitra Jalali, who represents the area.

The project is being developed as a partnership between Rich Pakonen’s PAK Properties and the Halverson and Blaiser Group (HBG), run by Clint Blaiser. LSE Architects of Minneapolis is the architect.

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