Maplewood backs pair of affordable housing projects

Without making any financial commitments, the City of Maplewood gave its support May 28 to a possible 60-unit affordable housing project where a funeral home currently stands at 1310 Frost Ave. (Solomon Gustavo/Review)

City likes potential for 60-unit, 99-unit developments 


St. Paul development group JB Vang has been working with Maplewood city staffers on a potential 60-unit affordable housing project at 1310 Frost Ave. 

The city council gave its nod of approval at its May 28 meeting, supporting the potential of the project. No land use applications have been filed, and any financial backing from the city was not approved, but will later be considered by the city council. 

The development would replace Legacy Funeral Home, currently at the address, and sit just south of a proposed Metro Transit Rush Line BRT stop at Gladstone Community Center on Manton Street.

JB Vang is pursuing funding through housing tax credits from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, according to a Maplewood staff report. 

Getting such funding requires cities to specify their support of a tax increment finance district and the amount available for the project. TIF districts capture the expected increase in property taxes generated by improved properties, and allow the city to funnel them back to the development to cover specific costs.

The city’s financial consultant estimates a housing TIF district for the project would generate about $976,000 over 26 years. JB Vang intends to use $614,000 of available TIF funds.

In her letter of support, Mayor Marylee Abrams said housing diversity is vital for a thriving city and its businesses. 

“An important component in providing that cross-section of housing options is the availability of affordable housing,” she said, pointing out that the cost and availability of housing, specifically rentals, is a concern across the metro and in Maplewood. “Local business leaders have identified a lack of rental and affordable housing and indicate that such housing is a benefit to the City, to their ability to attract and retain employees, and for those employees themselves.”

City staffers said in the report they believe the JB Vang project is a good opportunity to meet the housing needs the city mapped out in its 2040 Comprehensive Plan. 


More housing elsewhere

This is the second such affordable housing plan the city has backed in consecutive months. 

On April 22, the city supported early plans from Minneapolis firm MWF Properties to build a 99-unit affordable apartment complex on vacant land southwest of County Road C and White Bear Avenue. 

MWF Properties is looking into funding from the Ramsey County HOME grant program, and is similarly seeking housing tax credits from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. 

As with its support of the JB Vang plans, the city didn’t make any financial commitments, yet, but just voiced its support of MWF Properties early affordable housing plans. A TIF district for the MWF Properties project, the city consultant estimated, could generate more than $1.8 million over 26 years. 

The city has history with MWF Properties, which successfully built the Sibley Cove Apartment Community on Country Road D East, with a similar project structure and funding, said the city staff report. 


–Solomon Gustavo can be reached at or 651-748-7815.

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