St. Paul to expand affordable housing along Central Corridor

City officials have approved a plan to expand affordable housing along the Central Corridor line.

With the new light rail line scheduled to open in 2014, St. Paul City Councilman Russ Stark said low- and moderate-income people should not be forced out of their homes if property values rise.

"Along a transit corridor with really good service like this, there's a growing demand to live in places like this, all around the country and certainly in the Twin Cities," Stark said. "We expect there to be a high demand for those locations, and just that demand alone will drive up rents and for that reason we want to get out ahead of this issue."

Stark said the city will try to preserve or create 4,500 units of affordable housing by 2020. The effort will include both rental property and owner-occupied homes, he said.

"If we just sort of did normal business, as we've been doing in the city over the last 10 years or so, we would probably either preserve or create 250 affordable housing units each year over the next 10 years, anyway," Stark said.

The corridor is already attracting interest from developers. While that's good, Stark said the area needs to remain affordable for people of low and moderate incomes.

The recommendations call for 20 to 30 percent of new housing to be affordable to those people.

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