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City Council Work Session
Meeting Date: 11/07/2018  
Subject:    Port Evergreen Apartment Proposal
From: Matt Brown, Economic Development Coordinator

Staff requests Council feedback on a preliminary proposal for a 184-unit apartment building on vacant land near the intersection of 94th Avenue and Springbrook Drive.
On September 18, the Council met in a work session to discuss a development proposal for a 184-unit workforce apartment project on a site currently owned by Gaughan Companies in the Port Evergreen district. All of the units would be affordable to households earning 60% of area median income. In 2018, 60% of median income for a family of four is $56,580. To be considered affordable, monthly rents for this type of project could not exceed $991 for an efficiency unit; $1,273 for a 2 bedroom unit; or $1,471 for a 3 bedroom unit. These are 2018 rates and would likely increase by the time the project was ready for occupancy. The developer, Real Estate Equities, proposes seeking tax credits from the state and requesting TIF from the City to finance the project. The site is located in an area guided by the Port Evergreen Master Plan as High-Density Residential and multi-family residential is a permitted use in the Port Evergreen zoning district. The project site has sat vacant for several decades. An apartment development on this site was approved by the City Council several years ago, but it never materialized.

Since the September work session, Staff has completed additional anaylsis of the TIF request. Staff has negotated a maximum of $1.4 million in TIF, which amounts to approximately 15 years of the 26-year maximum district length. This amounts to just over $7,600 in assistance per unit and 3.7% of total development cost. Both of these figures are at the lower end of the spectrum of TIF assistance for recent apartment projects. Also, in the last few weeks, two Council members toured Real Estate Equities' Press House development in St. Paul.

A conceptual site plan and architectural renderings for the proposed building are attached. In addition, a financial analysis memo from Ehlers, the City's financial consultant, and a matrix showing local financial assistance for suburban apartment projects are attached.  Representatives from Real Estate Equities and Ehlers will attend the work session and provide additional detail. Provided the Council would like to proceed with the project, the Council will consider a resolution at its November 20 meeting calling for a public hearing on establishment of a TIF District. The public hearing and consideration of a TIF Plan would then occur on January 16, 2019. 
Staff believes this is a viable project that would benefit the community and serve as a development catalyst for a long-vacant site.  Building additional housing supports our local economy including the retail and commercial sectors and provides new housing options that are not available in this part of Coon Rapids. The recent announcement by Allina of a nearby call center (and 500 employees) serves as one example of how these projects could compliment one another.  The developer has expressed interest in moving forward on the next steps in the process.  However, they would like to have some indication from the City that there is general support for the project in order to invest additional time and resources into the effort.   

Location Map
Site Plan
Financial Analysis
Comparable Suburban Apartment Projects

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