Developers broke ground on two housing projects at a ceremony Tuesday in the Mill District.
Eagle Iron Partners and Ecumen began construction on Mill City Quarter, a six-story affordable housing building, and Abiitan Mill City, a five-story senior apartment complex. The projects will replace a two-block surface parking lot along 2nd Street between Third Avenue and Fifth Avenue.
“It took five years to put this development together,” said Matt McNeill, Ecumen director of business development, in a statement. “The site is one of the most vibrant and walkable areas of the city but was not developed due to numerous complexities that had to be resolved. Working collaboratively with the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Council and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, along with Craig Kupritz, who owns the adjacent Mill Place office building, we were able to find ways to put all the pieces in place.”
Eagle Iron Partners’ Mill City Quarter will have 150 income-restricted units and 15,000-square-feet of retail space. Ecumen’s Abiitan Mill City will have 151 rental units for seniors with options for independent living and memory care, in addition to having a fitness center and restaurant open to the public.
A signature element of the collaboration is Minneapolis’ first woonerf, or plaza-like street to be shared by cars, bikes, pedestrians and public space. The feature between the two buildings will link the project to the riverfront and host both residential and public parking.
The woonerf was the first test of a new Minneapolis park dedication ordinance allowing developers to give the Park Board an easement allowing the public to use this private property instead of requiring developers to donate land or money. The woonerf could be a connection to the board’s upcoming Water Works park project.
These Dutch-inspired curbless streets have shown up in other development plans, including a project for the Superior Plating site.
Both buildings are scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.
Early plans for the woonerf and parking between the two buildings.