Nonprofit plans to build eight stories of affordable housing above downtown Rochester ramp
St. Paul-based nonprofit CommonBond Communities has been selected to develop 127 affordable housing units above Parking Ramp No. 6.
The Rochester City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to move ahead with CommonBond’s proposal, which calls for the construction of eight floors of housing above the parking structure. The ramp, completed earlier this year, was built to accommodate up to 10 additional levels.
Leah Stockstrom, a real estate project manager for CommonBond, told the council that half of the units will be affordable for residents at or below 60 percent of the area medium income (AMI). The remaining units will be targeted toward individuals at 80 percent AMI. Studio apartments, she estimated, will likely range from $535 to $1,140, depending on income.
“It’s going to be a very mixed income project,” said Stockstrom.
The project is valued at about $37.9 million, with about $3 million projected to come from local funding sources — mostly TIF. CommonBond, which has an in-house construction team, would retain ownership of the housing. In its 50 years of existence, the nonprofit has only sold one of its properties.
In drafting its recommendation, staff cited CommonBond’s track record of forming partnerships to help with financing. The proposal was selected out of three total; the other two came from Three Rivers Community, a local organization, and Standard Communities, based in Chicago.
The committee said it liked the idea of using a local developer, “but felt that Three Rivers has not done a project of this magnitude and there may be issues with organizational capacity for such an undertaking.”
With the council’s approval Wednesday, city staff will now begin working with CommonBond on drafting exclusive negotiating rights, as well as a timeline. The organization plans to have the project done by spring 2023.
Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.