A project that will put affordable housing in a historic St. Paul dairy building secured key financing Thursday.
U.S. Bank, along with Sand Companies and the Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Association, closed on $10.5 million in tax credit financing for the Western U Plaza project, according to an announcement from the bank.
The plan is to build 60 units of affordable housing — including seven apartments for people who have been homeless for a long time — at the former home of the Minnesota Milk Company on University Avenue.
The 101-year-old building, also known as the Old Home Dairy, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Will O'Keefe, real estate program coordinator for the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, said the neighborhood wanted to keep the Art Deco former creamery.
"This project took a building that the neighborhood cared about and they were able to come up with something pretty great," O'Keefe said. "This is going to balance the needs of the neighborhood. It will bring in new residents. It will add more commercial space to the community and it will really take advantage of the light rail."
Construction on the project, next to the Western stop along the Green Line light rail line, started this fall and should be completed by next September. It's expected to cost a total of $16.9 million to create 18 apartments and a new, attached three-story building with 42 apartments.
Rents at Western U Plaza will range from $619 to $1,018 a month.
Sand Companies CEO Jamie Thelen said his company has redeveloped other historic buildings in the Twin Cities into affordable housing. They recently redeveloped the Minnesota Building in downtown St. Paul, converting the office building into 137 apartments.