The Metropolitan Council has awarded $6.5 million in grants to encourage development of housing, walkways and bike paths near new and planned rail lines in the Twin Cities metro area.
The projects, which include a $9 million affordable housing development in the city of Ramsey and the removal of asbestos from the Star Tribune building as part of the Downtown East project, are all within a half mile of current or future transit hubs.
"This program is designed to try to beef up the options for people that want to choose something that is transit-accessible and can be plugged into the region's transit system, both as it is now and as it gets built out further," said Council Member Jon Commers.
The council awarded the seven grants Wednesday.
The city of Hopkins garnered $1.3 million for the ARTery development along the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit line. The project is expected to include a 100 room hotel, 225 market rate housing units and retail space.
A $1 million grant will go toward environmental abatement at the Star Tribune's building in Minneapolis. Ryan Companies bought the building as part of the redevelopment project near the new Vikings stadium that includes a park,retail space and a 133-unit apartment building.
St. Paul's Vandalia Tower project was given a $650,000 grant. The $4.6 million project near the Raymond Avenue Green Line station includes pedestrian walkways, bike paths and a 30,000-square foot plaza.
The city of Minneapolis received the largest grant, $1.4 million for an affordable housing project in Prospect Park. Aeon, a nonprofit, plans to build 65 affordable housing apartments one block off of the Green Line at a total cost of $15.9 million.
The Met Council estimates the total private investment for all the developments is $255 million which could create 765 permanent jobs, 2,806 temporary jobs and increase tax capacity by $1.4 million.