Photograph of the front and side façades of two 4-story residential buildings at a street intersection.
Photograph of the front and side façades of a three-story multifamily building.
Photograph of three people working in a vegetable garden, with a work shed in the middle ground and a four-story residential building in the background.
Photograph of an array of solar panels on the southern façade near the entrance to a four-story multifamily building.
Photograph of a wall made of a perforated metal sheet, marked with vertical bands of condensed water, standing in a courtyard with a multistory residential building in the background.
Low-altitude aerial photograph centered on an intersection of multilane streets, with downtown Minneapolis in the middleground.
Photograph taken from several stories above ground of the corner entrance to a four-story residential building, with “Hope Community, Inc.” and “Learning · Leadership · Housing” above the entrance.

 

Home >Case Studies >Minneapolis, Minnesota: A Revitalized Gateway to the Phillips Neighborhood

 

Minneapolis, Minnesota: A Revitalized Gateway to the Phillips Neighborhood

 

A mile south of downtown Minneapolis, the intersection of Franklin and Portland avenues is a gateway into the ethnically and racially diverse Phillips neighborhood. The intersection, marked by vacant gasoline stations and a parking lot in the early 2000s, became the focus of a 15-year revitalization effort known as South Quarter. The project was spearheaded by two local nonprofits: Hope Community, which has been active in the Phillips community since the 1970s, and Aeon, with 44 affordable housing developments in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. After consulting with local residents, Hope Community and Aeon agreed that mixed-income housing, limited commercial opportunities, and community spaces were critical to revitalizing the Phillips neighborhood and staving off resident displacement. South Quarter’s fourth and final phase, a mixed-income development occupying 2.3 acres in the intersection’s northwestern quadrant, won the 2016 Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Award from the Urban Land Institute. The award recognized the Rose, with its sustainably designed 90 apartments, and the 30-unit Pine Cliff Apartments, both which opened in 2015.

South Quarter IV

The Rose consists of 2 four-story buildings with 60 low-income and workforce units and 30 market-rate units ranging from studios to three bedrooms. Of these, 47 units are affordable for households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income (AMI) and 13 units are affordable to those earning between 60 and 120 percent of AMI. Of the low-income units, seven come with project-based tenant assistance, and another seven are set aside for families that have experienced long-term homelessness. To support the goal of protecting neighborhood residents from displacement, rents for the market-rate units are affordable for many households in Phillips whose earnings exceed 120 percent of AMI. First-floor community rooms in the two buildings include resident lounges, a fitness center, and a yoga studio. The courtyard between the two buildings contains a lawn, a play area with a surface that meets Americans with Disabilities Act standards, a fire pit, and a patio with grills. To the side of the complex is a community vegetable garden.

The other residential development in South Quarter IV is Pine Cliff Apartments, a three-story building dating from the 1970s. The rehabilitated building contains 18 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units; 25 apartments are affordable to households earning up to 60 percent of AMI, and 5 units are reserved for families that have experienced long-term homelessness. The building also features a community room, and a playground is located on the site.

Support Services and Resident Engagement

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency’s program for long-term homelessness supports 12 families in South Quarter IV with financial assistance for housing and utilities as well as services that promote housing stability, self-sufficiency, and well-being. Aeon also provides services at its nearby properties. Resident engagement is crucial, and both Hope Community and Aeon rely on an asset-based approach to build resident leadership and community capacity. Along with healthy eating and cooking classes at the vegetable garden in South Quarter IV, Hope Community provides numerous programs at Hope Community Center, built in 2003 as a part of South Quarter I, that are open to neighborhood residents. Programs that develop personal skills and build networks include classes in English language development and financial literacy, childcare and youth camps, public art projects, and community organizing. Hope Community also sponsors Community Circles, resident-hosted meals where neighbors can informally get to know each other and more formally organize to take on community improvement projects. Among other programs, Aeon manages a resident ambassador program, in which residents engage their neighbors about making the most of their new apartments and adopting behaviors for living sustainable and healthy lives.

Sustainable and Healthy Housing

Aeon challenged the design team, headed by the architectural firm Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, to design a sustainable and healthy project. To do so, they sought compliance with the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge (LBC) standards, which promises 75 percent greater energy efficiency than construction meeting the 2007 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers standards. Certification has been delayed in part because the development served as a pilot to evaluate the feasibility of LBC standards for affordable housing, and LBC is considering revisions based on the Rose’s experience.

Along with passive solar design and a very tight building envelope, the Rose has high R-value insulation, ENERGY STAR® appliances, and high-efficiency lighting connected to motion sensors. Heating and cooling is provided by a variable refrigerant flow system for heat recovery from air outside the buildings. The system includes a condensation wall in the courtyard making the heating and cooling process visible to residents, and a set of air filters and a backup air system circulate fresh air into the buildings. To maintain indoor air quality, Aeon used paints and pressed wood containing low levels of volatile organic compounds and countertops made with granite that has low levels of radon.

Solar thermal panels provide about one-third of the Rose’s hot water, further reducing the demand for utility-generated electricity. Aeon hopes to soon add rooftop photovoltaic panels and buy electricity from a nearby solar panel installation to achieve zero net energy use. The Rose’s sustainable practices also include reusing 75 percent of the site’s stormwater to irrigate the landscaping and vegetable garden. Low-flow fixtures reduce potable water use, and meters for each unit and a common laundry room on each floor encourage water conservation. Aeon also provides information about actions residents can take to reduce energy and water use and maintain indoor air quality.

Throughout the design process, Aeon and its architects had to balance the costs of the sustainable and healthy systems and materials with the need to keep rents affordable. The development team studied six building-massing schemes and two dozen types of walls, decided not to reuse black and gray water, and delayed attaining zero net energy use. These decisions kept construction costs for the Rose to $154 per square foot. The team also struggled to balance construction costs with savings in life-cycle costs, energy demand, and water use. The final design is expected to save more than $180,000 annually in energy costs, meaning that the energy-efficiency measures will pay for themselves in 11.4 years. Aeon believes that the end product is a replicable and scalable model for the affordable housing industry.

Financing

South Quarter IV’s development costs totaled approximately $36 million (table 1). The major sources of funding were 9 percent low-income housing tax credit equity invested by U.S. Bank and a first mortgage, other loans, and a grant from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. The city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and Metropolitan Council, as well as other sources, provided additional funding. Aeon also undertook a fundraising campaign that garnered contributions from foundations and individuals to help fund the design and construction of sustainable and healthy home features.

Table 1: South Quarter IV Financing

Low-income housing tax credits $14,500,000
Minnesota Housing equity and loans 9,700,000
Minneapolis Affordable Housing Trust Fund 2,000,000
Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority Transit Oriented Development/Affordable Housing Incentive Fund 700,000
Metropolitan Council Livable Communities Demonstration Account 800,000
Developer contributions 5,700,000
Other sources 2,800,000
Total $36,200,000

 

Next Steps

With the opening of the Rose and Pine Cliff Apartments, Hope Community and Aeon have completed all four phases of the South Quarter project. The $65 million revitalization effort resulted in 250 units occupied by approximately 700 people, 20,000 square feet of commercial and community space, and 7,500 square feet of garden area used by more than 150 people. The development includes Hope Community’s offices and community spaces along with commercial space and the amenities at the Rose.

Hope Community’s next steps will be to continue its efforts to improve housing and resident well-being in the Phillips neighborhood. The nonprofit’s residential developments will include efforts to reduce the loss of affordable housing and resident displacement. Hope Community sees small multifamily residential buildings as especially vulnerable and is looking at ways to preserve four- and eight-unit buildings through a community land trust, cooperative ownership, or another mechanism. Hope Community has also contracted with Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle to refit the Children’s Village Center with a technology lab to meet the evolving needs of young residents. Aeon, which expects to build approximately 1,000 affordable housing units in the Twin Cities over the next few years, plans to refine the sustainable development practices used at the Rose and help other developers build sustainable, healthy, and affordable housing.


 

Source:

Ventura Village Neighborhood Organization. n.d. “Hope Community.” Accessed 29 June 2017; Joint interview with Blake Hopkins, vice president of housing development, Aeon; Angela Carey, senior site manager, Aeon; and Rhys MacPherson, senior associate and project manager, Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, 18 August 2017; Urban Land Institute. 2015. “ULI Case Studies: The Rose,” 2, 9. Accessed 29 June 2017; Hope Community. n.d. “About.” Accessed 28 June 2017; Aeon. 2017. “We Are Aeon.” Accessed 28 June 2017; Correspondence from Blake Hopkins, 18 September 2017; Maya Brennan. 2016. “Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Awards Winner: South Quarter IV,” press release, 23 June. Accessed 28 June 2017; Interview with Will Delaney, associate director, Hope Community, 11 August 2017.

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Source:

Aeon. 2017. “The Rose.” Accessed 28 June 2017; Urban Land Institute. 2015. “ULI Case Studies: The Rose,” 3, 4. Accessed 29 June 2017; Joint interview with Blake Hopkins, vice president of housing development, Aeon; Angela Carey, senior site manager, Aeon; and Rhys MacPherson, senior associate and project manager, Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, 18 August 2017; Documents provided by Aeon; Interview with Will Delaney, associate director, Hope Community, 11 August 2017.

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Source:

Aeon. n.d. “Pine Cliff.” Accessed 29 June 2017; Urban Land Institute. 2015. “ULI Case Studies: The Rose,” 4, 9. Accessed 29 June 2017; Joint interview with Blake Hopkins, vice president of housing development, Aeon; Angela Carey, senior site manager, Aeon; and Rhys MacPherson, senior associate and project manager, Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, 18 August 2017.

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Source:

Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. n.d. “Supportive Housing.” Accessed 12 September 2017; Joint interview with Blake Hopkins, vice president of housing development, Aeon; Angela Carey, senior site manager, Aeon; and Rhys MacPherson, senior associate and project manager, Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, 18 August 2017; Xcel Energy. 2017. “The Rose at South Quarter: Mixed-Income Housing at its Best,” Connect (blog), 5 April. Accessed 29 June 2017; Aeon. n.d. “Aeon Supportive Services.” Accessed 28 June 2017; Interview with Will Delaney, associate director, Hope Community, 11 August 2017; Hope Community. 2017. “Annual Report 2016: What happens here matters,” 4–9. Accessed 22 September 2017; Correspondence from Will Delaney, 7 September 2017; Hope Community. . “Strong, Healthy Community.” Accessed 28 June 2017.

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Source:

Minnesota Sustainable Housing Initiative. 2014. “The Rose.” Accessed 17 July 2017; Urban Land Institute. 2015. “ULI Case Studies: The Rose,” 4. Accessed 29 June 2017; Joint interview with Blake Hopkins, vice president of housing development, Aeon; Angela Carey, senior site manager, Aeon; and Rhys MacPherson, senior associate and project manager, Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, 18 August 2017.

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Source:

Urban Land Institute. 2015. “ULI Case Studies: The Rose,” 3, 5, 6. Accessed 29 June 2017.

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Source:

Minnesota Sustainable Housing Initiative. 2014. “The Rose.” Accessed 17 July 2017; Joint interview with Blake Hopkins, vice president of housing development, Aeon; Angela Carey, senior site manager, Aeon; and Rhys MacPherson, senior associate and project manager, Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, 18 August 2017; Urban Land Institute. 2015. “ULI Case Studies: The Rose,” 4, 5. Accessed 29 June 2017; Xcel Energy. 2017. “The Rose at South Quarter: Mixed-Income Housing at its Best,” Connect (blog), 5 April. Accessed 29 June 2017.

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Source:

Urban Land Institute. 2015. “ULI Case Studies: The Rose,” 1, 4, 5. Accessed 29 June 2017; Minnesota Sustainable Housing Initiative. 2014. “The Rose.” Accessed 17 July 2017; Xcel Energy. 2017. “The Rose at South Quarter: Mixed-Income Housing at its Best,” Connect (blog), 5 April. Accessed 29 June 2017; Parsons School of Design Healthy Materials Lab. 2016. “The Rose: Innovative Practices for Healthier Homes — A Case Study.” Accessed 22 September 2017; Documents provided by Aeon.

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Source:

Urban Land Institute. 2015. “ULI Case Studies: The Rose,” 3, 11. Accessed 29 June 2017.

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Source:

Correspondence from Will Delaney, associate director, Hope Community, 7 September 2017.

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Source:

Interview with Will Delaney, associate director, Hope Community, 11 August 2017; Joint interview with Blake Hopkins, vice president of housing development, Aeon; Angela Carey, senior site manager, Aeon; and Rhys MacPherson, senior associate and project manager, Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, 18 August 2017; Correspondence from Will Delaney, 7 September 2017; Correspondence from Blake Hopkins, 18 September 2017.

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