$2.5M In Cleanup Grants Pave Way For Grocer, Brewery

According to the Metropolitan Council, $2.5 million in cleanup grants will help add 1,700 jobs and 168 affordable homes.

The Metropolitan Council on Wednesday approved 10 cleanup grants for five metro communities—marking a $2.5 million investment that is meant to aid projects that will provide new jobs, housing, and space for companies such as Flat Earth Brewery.
According to council Chairwoman Susan Haign, the grants—which will be used to cleanup 28 acres of brownfield land—will help create or retain 1,700 jobs, increase the net tax base by $1.6 million, produce 168 affordable homes, and “encourage nearly $117 million in private investment.” The council predicts those estimated private investments based on the cities’ grant applications.
Most of the cleanup projects involve asbestos and lead-based paint abatement or soil purifying and revitalization.

One of the most anticipated projects is the $124,600 cleanup of a 4.2-acre industrial site that was part of the old Hamm’s brewery in St. Paul. Two of the buildings will be demolished for a courtyard, surface parking, and access road, and three other buildings will be renovated to house Flat Earth Brewery and Mill City Distillery.

Additionally, a 1.3-acre commercial site in Minneapolis—where two gas stations were previously located—will receive a $179,300 grant to make room for a planned Praxis Marketplace grocery store, an emerging Minnetonka-based food retailer that focuses exclusively on inner-city communities.

Meanwhile, the former 1.2-acre site of Shapco Printing in Minneapolis will receive $487,400 to help make room for a planned eight-story, single-tenant office building with underground parking. Also, the 10.7-acre Pentagon Park office space site in Edina will receive $535,100 to help make room for a new planned office space.

The largest grant was awarded to 324 Johnson in St. Paul, where $719,400 is being dedicated to help rehabilitate two former nursing home buildings on a 2.8-acre site. The buildings are currently vacant but affordable apartments are planned for the development.

In addition to the cleanup grants, the council also awarded “investigation grants,” which will allow for two sites to be given a preliminary look to determine whether a larger cleanup project is needed. Such grants were awarded for the Thorp Building in Minneapolis and the Old Municipal Center in Ramsey.

Since Met Council’s Livable Communities grant program was established in 1995, the council has doled out nearly $95 million. According to the council, the awards have helped leverage more than $5.7 billion in private investment, create and maintain about 41,000 jobs, increase the net tax base by more than $91 million, create thousands of affordable housing units, and clean up more than 2,100 acres of contaminated properties.

According to the Met Council, additional projects that were awarded funding this week include:

Velo Flats, Minneapolis—$108,200 to help complete soil remediation on a 0.7-acre industrial site where former uses included machining and printing businesses. Planned development includes a six-story, mixed-use building with market-rate apartments, retail space, and underground parking.

Winnetka Learning Center, New Hope—$200,000 to help with asbestos abatement of a vacant school building before the school is demolished. The 5.25-acre site will be combined with adjacent properties for a 17-acre redevelopment site, where planned development includes affordable townhomes and market-rate single-family homes.

Old Home Plaza, St. Paul—$106,900 to help with asbestos and lead-based paint abatement and soil vapor mitigation. A dairy processing plant and automotive maintenance garage occupied the industrial and commercial site. Expected development includes a mixed-use building with affordable apartments, retail space, and townhomes.
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