Great River Landing

Project Location: 813 North 5th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Nominated by: American Engineering Testing

Great River Landing is a supportive housing development that serves individuals with histories of incarceration and homelessness. The project improves the lives of those involved with the criminal justice system while reducing system-wide costs by using innovative rental subsidies. Many aim to replicate this project’s nationally-recognized service delivery. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has acknowledged Great River Landing as a model to be replicated throughout the city and the state.

At one time, a stream was buried at this site. Subsequent past uses have included a railroad, an auto body shop, and a vehicle junkyard. The impacts included significant buried debris, elevated PAHs and arsenic near the abandoned rail line at the west side of the site, gasoline range organics, diesel range organics and lead contamination over 1,000 milligrams per kilogram across the surface soils at the site. Benzene was detected in soil vapor above 33 times the intrusion screening value near the northern part of the proposed building.

Due to an underground culvert that Basset’s Creek passes through, only about half an acre of the lot was developable. The building, parking, and stormwater management system had to be built around this obstacle. Poor soils associated with the historic creek bed and the subsequent uncontrolled fill used, had to be excavated—very close to the road and a neighboring building. Approximately 10,400 cubic yards of soil was removed, requiring an extensive amount of shoring. To save costs, some of this shoring system remains in place and became part of the retaining wall system. The stormwater management system was designed to take advantage of the naturally impermeable clay creek bed. The underground retention system stores rainwater, allowing suspended particulates to settle out before being slowly discharged into the underground creek, reducing the demands on the sometimes overtaxed downtown stormwater system. An underground parking garage with an air exchange system, as well as a vapor barrier beneath the basement slab, was installed in July of 2018, but further vapor investigation is being considered in order to obtain a No Further Action letter.

Great River Landing provides innovative solutions to address the challenges faced by individuals leaving incarceration. In addition to the focus given to affordable housing, health, and employment, one of the unique aspects of the development is the consideration that a significant proportion of the individuals who will call Great River Landing home have children. Many of the 72 units in the building are shared, so an Overnight Suite has been included in the building design to be reserved by parents in order to enjoy private time with their families. The building also includes an indoor play area and an outdoor tot lot—amenities not usually present in a building with SRO and efficiency units. These considerations and others that make the project unique came about through collaboration with many local organizations and by working directly with formerly incarcerated individuals.

Project Financing

  • Project Financing
  • LIHTC Syndication Proceeds (Minneapolis and MN Housing allocation)
  • Beacon Collaborating Congregations
  • Federal Home Loan Bank Des Moines
  • Minnesota Housing, Sales Tax Refund, Energy Rebates
  • Met Council LCDA/TOD/TBRA
  • Hennepin County AHIF/TOD
  • City of Minneapolis AHT

Project Partners

  • Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative (Owner and Developer)
  • Better Futures Minnesota (Service Provider)
  • CommonBond Communities (Property Manager)
  • Minnesota Department of Human Services (Provides rent subsidies for 32 SRO/community suite units)
  • Beacon Collaborating Partners (Capital Funding Partner)
  • Hennepin County (Capital Funding Partner)
  • Metropolitan Council (Capital Funding Partner)
  • City of Minneapolis (Capital Funding Partner)
  • Federal Home Loan Bank Des Moines (Capital Funding Partner)
  • National Equity Fund (LIHTC Equity Investor)
  • MN Department of Corrections (Supportive Services Partner)
  • Plymouth Congregational Church (Beacon Collaborating Congregation)
  • Westminster Church (Beacon Collaborating Congregation)