Minneapolis Public Housing Authority unveils new affordable housing as city fights for 2040 plan

By: - September 26, 2023 5:07 pm

The boarded-up houses contrasted against the new affordable housing triplex. Photo by Nafi Soumare/Minnesota Reformer.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey used an unveiling of a new affordable housing fourplex on Tuesday to hammer the city’s legal foes in the ongoing court fight to allow more density.  

“A judge recently smashed our ability to put up this kind of housing. This would not be possible but for the 2040 plan, this won’t be possible going forward if this ruling stands,” Frey said. 

The city’s trailblazing comprehensive plan ended single-family zoning in the city, but it’s being challenged by a lawsuit brought by groups arguing more density will hurt the environment.

Frey was joined by a bevy of local and federal officials and housing advocates on 16th Ave. S., to celebrate the modern fourplex featuring turquoise vertical siding, a flat roof, and large windows. 

The fresh units are just the first in the largest new-unit Minneapolis Public Housing Authority development in two decades. The project will include two and three-bedroom units across Minneapolis’ 13 wards, said Juan Torres, MPHA manager.

Bilse Kedir spoke on behalf of her parents, who will live in one of the new units. She recounted the times her mother impatiently asked to be picked up and driven around the site of her future home. 

“Can we stop by, can we see what it looks like?” her mother would say.

Kedir would reply, “Mom, just take it easy. It’s going to be yours, I promise you. One day it’s gonna be there.” 

The new units will brighten a stretch of 16th Ave. S. that includes three homes currently boarded up with “No Trespassing” signs tacked on the front doors. 

The coalition of local and federal money have purchased 16 sites — formerly consisting of single-family homes — with plans to transform them into housing for 84 low-income families, with 64 units in low-income areas. The others are slated for medium-to-high income neighborhoods across Minneapolis, Torres said.

A Hennepin County Court judge ruled this month that Minneapolis’ 2040 comprehensive plan is invalid, reverting the city back to an older planning document and ordering up complex compliance requirements, including an Environmental Impact Statement and Alternative Urban Areawide Review. The city appealed the ruling Sept. 15.

*This story has been corrected to reflect the apartment building unveiled on Tuesday is a fourplex, not a triplex.

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Nafi Soumare
Nafi Soumare

Nafi is an intern reporting for the Minnesota Reformer. Her interests in reporting include social justice, reform, and issues in the Minnesota education system.