New affordable housing complex opens on West Broadway

broadway-1The landscape of West Broadway Avenue in north Minneapolis has changed with the addition of a new apartment complex.

The three-story, 54-unit, West Broadway Crescent celebrated its grand opening this past Monday (June 9). West Broadway Crescent is an affordable housing community occupying residents who pay less than market value for housing – paying just up to 60 percent of the area’s median income. The brightly colored building is located on West Broadway Avenue and Logan Avenue, across the street from the Capri Theater. The complex, which is fully occupied, is the result of a partnership between the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota Housing, the Basilica of Saint Mary and CommonBond Communities.

According to those associated with the development, West Broadway Crescent is a needed link to help stabilize West Broadway and more importantly, the lives of the building’s residents.

“I know from experience how affordable housing can impact a person’s life,” said Deidre Schmidt, CEO of CommonBond Communities, which operates the property. “I lived in affordable housing growing up and I look at the opportunities I was able to enjoy and how that shaped my development.”

According to Schmidt, lack of affordable housing has a ripple effect that negatively impacts people’s lives.

“Eleven million people pay 50 percent or more of their income on housing. When people are in that situation it compromises what they can pay for education, food, health care and other expenses,” said Schmidt.

Dakar Gibbs, senior vice president of community development banking for Bank of America – the bank that financed the project, said West Broadway Crescent is transformative not only to the neighborhood, but to the residents of the complex.

“Quality and affordable housing goes a long way to eliminate an impoverished mindset,” said Gibbs, who said he grew up in an underserved neighborhood of Houston. “When you live in clean, safe housing it goes a long way toward improving a person’s psyche. Living in a place like this goes a long way in what a person can achieve.”

For Tiffany Glasper, senior project coordinator for Minneapolis’ Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED), West Broadway Crescent represents a commitment by the city to responsibly grow the population of north Minneapolis.

“After the (2011) tornado, north Minneapolis lost significant population,” said Glasper. “If there are no people, pretty soon there’s not anything else … no businesses, more crime. This project indicates that density will work and can be attractive. This is about rebuilding a community one project at a time.”

Glasper said other such developments are already underway, including Broadway Flats – a 103 unit mixed-use development on West Broadway Avenue. She said additional proposals are on the table to develop currently vacant land owned by the city.

Planning for West Broadway Crescent began back in 2007. The city sold the land to CommonBond Communities and provided an additional $1,095,000 from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and $3.8 million in tax exempt revenue.

Based in St. Paul, CommonBond Communities operates affordable housing units in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, housing nearly 9,000 residents.

June 15, 2015
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