Brooklyn Park wants to join its swankier neighbors to the west by building its own fancy apartment complex.
Fresh off a new $150,000 rebranding campaign, Minnesota's sixth-largest city preliminarily approved up to $7 million in subsidies for developer Kelly Doran on Monday. He's planning to build a $90 million, 480-unit apartment complex on a vacant piece of land next to Target's north metro corporate offices off of Highway 610.
When you think luxury suburban living, Brooklyn Park doesn't exactly spring to mind. The city hasn't built any apartments, at all, since the early 1990s.
"I think the new Brooklyn Park is much different than what people believe it is," says Mayor Jeffrey Lunde.
The apartments will be a mix of "market-rate" and "luxury," with a 20,000-square-foot community clubhouse for residents. The clubhouse will include three dining rooms with kitchens to attract downsizing retirees who still want room to occasionally host guests.
"What we do not have in Brooklyn Park is a full life-cycle of housing. We have a lot of single-family homes," says Erik Hansen, Brooklyn Park's economic development director. "Hopefully this project sets a tone of what we expect to see in this area of Brooklyn Park. That's a big reason as to why we're subsidizing this."
Lured by fat subsidies, a bunch of big businesses have been moving in along Highway 610 recently, and those businesses are clamoring for better housing options, according to Mayor Lunde.
"Going up and down 610 all of the businesses -- Target ($5 million subsidy), Baxter ($1.8 million), Olympus ($2 million) -- they all talk about the need for apartments. We haven't built a new building in 20, 30 years, so our stock is not luxury, it's very dated," says Lunde.
So now the city is handing out at least $3 million to Doran. That figure could go up to $7 million, depending on the success of the project.
Doran's apartments are planned for an 11-acre piece of land. Just a few blocks east, the city has another 15-acre parcel it wants to develop next. What kind of subsidy that development will draw?
"What's the trade off? We're investing in this for a purpose, not to give a developer free money. We're investing in the future of the community," says Hansen. "I don't think we get this high-quality development, in the near-term, without this subsidy."
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