Housing planned for seniors, physically disabledThe city of Woodbury will negotiate with the nonprofit CommonBond Communities to build 45 units of rental housing in the City Walk development.
By: Scott Wente, Woodbury Bulletin
Seniors and people with physical disabilities may have a new affordable housing option in Woodbury.
The city will negotiate with the nonprofit CommonBond Communities to build 45 units of rental housing in the City Walk development.
CommonBond Communities has tentatively proposed a three-story building of one- and two-bedroom apartments. One quarter of the units would be reserved for people with physical disabilities, such as multiple sclerosis. All tenants would have to be on fixed incomes.
There is demand for quality affordable housing for those groups, said Amanda Novak, CommonBond Communities senior project manager. The St. Paul-based agency developed a similar project in north Minneapolis.
Woodbury is appealing because people want to live in a suburb with amenities, she said. Also, there is a large population of seniors and baby boomers in the area.
CommonBond Communities is optimistic the estimated $8.4 million project will go forward, Novak said. The agency’s plan meets criteria that is required for low-income housing tax credits, which it will rely on for construction and to keep rents between about $400 and $850.
“I would say this is likely,” Novak said. “We’re feeling really positive about it.”
There are many steps involved before construction could start in 2011, but the city so far is impressed by CommonBond Communities, said Karl Batalden, Woodbury housing specialist.
Still, Batalden reiterated that the agency only is a project finalist.
“That is not tantamount to an approval process,” he said.
A land sale and development plan still must be negotiated, and city officials also plan to tour other CommonBond Communities projects.
The city owns the 2.2-acre property in the City Walk development on Woodbury Drive and Hudson Road. It paid $615,000 for the lot in 2006, with the intention of creating affordable housing. An earlier development deal fell through.
The city wants to sell the site as part of housing project. Batalden said an appraisal still must be completed and the city must negotiate with CommonBond Communities, so it is too early to say whether the city will recover what it paid for the property.
“We’re looking to be fiscally responsible,” he said.
The city sought multiple development proposals for the site this fall, but only CommonBond Communities submitted a formal plan.
Batalden said the city considered holding off on selecting a finalist because there was only one submission, but picked CommonBond Communities because of its reputation, experience and excellent credit references.
“It is a very thoughtful proposal,” he said.
The project would be similar to the design of other City Walk buildings and be constructed under environmentally friendly guidelines. City Walk master developer LeCesse Development Corp. would be involved in the design approval process.
The Woodbury Housing and Redevelopment Authority approved a resolution Dec. 9 that allows negotiations to begin between the city and CommonBond Communities.
Paul Rebholz, a city council and HRA board member who reviewed the proposal, defended the decision to select the lone applicant. The lack of multiple proposals may be a result of a sluggish real estate finance market, he said.
“Some of it is just a timing issue,” he said.
CommonBond Communities is an accomplished developer, Rebholz said.
Wente can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org