MANKATO — Affordable housing developments in Mankato and Le Sueur received crucial state funding Thursday, although an additional local project was overlooked.
The funding will contribute to a 45-unit apartment project and a mobile home replacement program in Mankato, as well as a 39-unit development in Le Sueur. CommonBond Communities, the affordable housing nonprofit that finished the 50-unit Dublin Crossing at 920 Patriot Drive last summer, proposed the two new apartment projects.
The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency’s funding decision Thursday essentially paves the way for the developments to begin construction — or in one case, delays one that was ready to begin.
Dublin Heights, the new CommonBond project in Mankato, received $8.4 million from Minnesota Housing to go with a 4 percent tax credit amounting to nearly $2.1 million. The housing will be just north of Dublin Crossing, with construction expected to begin in spring 2019 ahead of a 2020 finish, said Senior Project Manager Justin Eilers.
“We always know each year it's a very competitive process to submit and be awarded the funding, so we were thrilled,” he said.
Rent prices should be similar to what residents pay at Dublin Crossing, he said. An application for Dublin Crossing lists prices ranging from $675 for one bedrooms, $830 for two bedrooms and $950 for three bedrooms.
CommonBond projects are designed to be affordable for those earning between about $33,700 to $46,800 per year in Mankato. Also included in the proposal are seven units for families who've experienced homelessness, seven more for households with disabilities and nine market rate units — meaning those units may not have price restrictions.
Le Sueur Meadows II, the 39-unit CommonBond development, received nearly $7 million from Minnesota Housing along with an 4 percent tax credit totaling an estimated $2.2 million. The project will follow a similar timeline as Dublin Heights. Eilers estimated it'll start in summer 2019 with a 2020 finish.
The housing will be built near the existing Le Sueur Meadows apartments at 417 Turril St., with four units reserved for households experiencing homelessness and four for households with disabilities. CommonBond has a purchase agreement to buy the existing Le Sueur Meadows. Rental prices are again expected to be similar to Dublin Crossing.
The third area funding award will go toward Minnesota Valley Action Council's mobile home replacement program. The project for low-income residents replaces some of the most worn-down homes at area mobile home parks with newer models.
The $110,000 will actually go toward a second round of improvements, as the first round of four home replacements ended in September. Judd Schultz, housing services director for the nonprofit, said the new funding should allow for five to six more replacements — ideally one at each mobile home park in the area.
“We’re really looking this spring to start it off," he said, "and that gives us time to meet with the parks and make sure we have the financial commitments in place."
Minnesota Housing's funding goes along with the city of Mankato's $50,000 and $10,000 commitments from the mobile home parks themselves. The park contributions are used for destruction and removal of the out-of-date properties.
Absent from the announcement Thursday was the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership’s 48-unit Gateway West project proposed just north of Cub Foods West. The nonprofit’s CEO, Rick Goodeman, said he was disappointed by the state agency’s decision.
Phase one of development was set to begin if the funding came through. The plan was to apply for phase two, another 30-units, next year.
With that idea no longer possible, Goodeman said he’ll now explore combining the two phases into one proposal. He’s meeting with city officials this month and plans to do the same with Minnesota Housing to come up with a plan.
A delay, however, is inevitable at this point.
“This will delay our project by a year,” Goodeman said.