The end of the automobile era on University Avenue doesn't get more symbolic than this: A new housing and retail development will reshape a vacant auto sales lot along the Green Line light rail route.
Government leaders and housing officials will break ground Monday on a $28 million complex that will include more than 100 units of affordable rentals. A portion of the units will be occupied by people with disabilities and the formerly homeless.
The new development, called Hamline Station, is a block long and will be built with a mix of private and public money. It will be built on the site of the former Midway Chevrolet used car lot.
While some have criticized the concentration of low-income housing along the corridor, Project for Pride in Living's executive director, Paul Williams, is unapologetic.
"University Avenue is a better place because of the affordable housing that's been built in and around Frogtown and Summit-U," Williams said. "If we don't build that housing, these markets -- these neighborhoods -- are really in the dumps."
Williams says his nonprofit wanted to build a community where working families could easily hop on transit to get to their jobs.
"It's actually going to be a very striking project, which is going to send a statement to the marketplace and the neighborhood about the quality and what's possible here. So we view it as a very catalytic project," he said.