St. Paul’s “Inspiring Communities” saw significant response

St. Paul’s request for proposals to sell off city-owned properties, launched in October, has yielded 41 proposals.

The city released the homes in hopes of shedding some its housing stock in one fell swoop, while boosting the housing market in cluster areas in the Dayton’s Bluff, Railroad Island and Payne-Phalen neighborhoods, among others.

The request-for-proposals period ended Nov. 24, and the city saw pitches from 14 different developers. They submitted proposals on 41 of the 77 properties available through the “Inspiring Communities” initiative.

Sixteen of these properties were buildings, while 25 were vacant lots.

Roxanne Young from the city’s Planning and Economic Development department said the responses were promising, and on par with what planners had hoped for.

“I think that our team feels really good about the number of properties that were applied for,” she said.

Staff are now processing the proposals, to figure out which proposals are a good fit, and how to best use the $2.9 million in funding available for the projects.

This funding comes in the form of municipal bonds and state housing funds, and is to be used to address a financing gap between what a developer estimates building a new home or repairing an old one will cost, and what the home can sell for.

The city will require developers to use green building standards, and to qualify for the Xcel EnergyStar program.

In addition, half of the homes have to be developed to be exclusively for owner-occupiers.

As for the homes that developers didn’t submit proposals for, the city will do a follow-up request for proposals, either in July or October, depending on how the financing looks, Young said.

— Patrick Larkin

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