DEED Awards Funding to Help Cities Redevelop Blighted Sites

Four Minnesota cities received grants totaling $1.29 million to clean up blighted sites for redevelopment projects that will create nearly 1,000 new jobs. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded the funding to Benson, Eagan, Richfield and St. Paul under its Redevelopment Grant Program. The program helps cities, counties and other units of government pay for up to 50 percent of the cost of redeveloping blighted industrial, residential or commercial properties. The grants can be used to pay for land acquisition, demolition, infrastructure and other project-related improvements. Recipients must provide matching funds. "These projects will create jobs and put blighted properties back on the tax rolls," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. "The Redevelopment Grant Program is part of a strategy that is helping to keep Minnesota's economy on a healthy growth track." Since its inception in 1998, the Redevelopment Grant Program has awarded more than $58.8 million, funded 139 projects statewide and reclaimed 1,203 acres of blighted property. The program has created 9,942 jobs, retained 9,768 existing jobs and generated $26.5 million in new tax revenue. The program has attracted over $1.7 billion in private investment and led to the creation of 2,583 units of market-rate housing and 1,667 units of affordable housing. The following projects received funding in the latest round: Redevelopment Grant Program Awards, August 2012 City of Benson - $41,235 The city of Benson received $41,235 for demolition and infrastructure costs at a former creamery site. This 1-acre site will be redeveloped into 7,200 square feet of mixed-use residential and commercial space. The development is expected to create one job and increase the tax base by $5,800. The city will contribute matching funds. Local contact: City of Benson, Rob Wolfington, 320-843-4775 City of Eagan Economic Development Authority, Cedar Grove Redevelopment - $750,000 The Eagan Economic Development Authority (EDA) was awarded $750,000 for an elevator tower on a public parking garage on the former site of a deteriorated retail center. This 35-acre site will be redeveloped into a 400,000-square-foot shopping mall. This project is expected to create 880 jobs and increase the tax base by $2.8 million. The match is being covered by the developer and tax increment financing. Local contact: City of Eagan EDA, Jon Hohenstein, 651-675-5653 City of Richfield, Lyndale Gardens - $100,000 The city of Richfield received $100,000 for infrastructure costs at the former Lyndale Garden Center. This 7.5-acre site will be redeveloped into 42,500 square feet of mixed commercial space and 120 units of rental housing. The project is expected to create 69 jobs and increase the tax base by $146,532. Matching funds will come from the city. Local contact: City of Richfield, Karen Barton, 612-861-9777 City of St. Paul, Hamm's Brewery - $403,000 The city of St. Paul was awarded $403,000 for infrastructure costs at the former Hamm's Brewing site. This 8.8-acre site will house Urban Organics, Flat Earth Brewing and a commercial kitchen. Forty-eight jobs will be created and five jobs retained by the project. The St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority and private investment will contribute matching funding.