County land sale aims to add housing

May 9, 2019

Olmsted County is ready to sell 1.1 acres of land near the south fork of the Zumbro River to provide affordable housing with supportive services.

The property, approximately a third of the county’s land at 1025 Mayowood Road, could eventually be sold to Center City Housing to develop the project.

The idea of selling the property was first brought to the county’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority board last month, when HRA Director Dave Dunn noted the combination of housing and support services made the project eligible for state tax credits, but only if it was owned by a private developer.

The proposed project is estimated to cost $4.4 million, and the HRA board has agreed to fund up to $95,000 to apply for state tax credits.

Tuesday, Olmsted County commissioners, who make up seven of the HRA board’s eight members, agreed to transfer the county-owned property to the HRA for a dollar.

The HRA is then set to sell the land to Center City Housing, if its June application for state housing support is approved. That sale is expected to bring $320,000, which could either be turned over to the county’s general fund or used for future housing development.

Dunn said that decision is likely at least a year away, if funding goes as planned.

Center City, which operates Gage East Apartments and the Francis in Rochester, expects to hear whether its application for housing tax credits is approved in November, which would start a six- to nine-month process for closing the land sale.

At this point, Dunn said the Duluth-based organization appears ready to pay the $320,000 purchase price.

“They are aware of it, and they can work with it,” he said.

The proposed project seeks to provide 30 housing units, as well as support services for people with mental health concerns. It is the potential first phase in a proposed two-phase effort that could also develop 35 units of affordable housing for seniors on a nearby lot, which currently houses a Child and Family Services support building.