• Affordable Housing Development
  • Community Partnership
  • Community Planning
  • Development Partnership

In our flagship phased redevelopment, Redesign has pioneered and set the standard for neighborhood generated transit oriented development in the Twin Cities. The Blue Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) became operational along Seward’s western boundary in 2004. The region had high hopes for the LRT to catalyze high density development. The station on Franklin Avenue was surrounded by challenging sites that stymied the big dreams of many of the planning initiatives for the station area. When the recession hit in 2008, nothing from those plans had been realized. Bystrom Brothers had recently ceased operating a previously family-owned machine shop on a 3.5 acre site just south of the station area. Redesign was able to acquire the site in 2009 and get the buildings fully leased to interim use tenants to keep holding costs down.

This was an opportunity to thoughtfully master plan a multi phase site without the financial pressure to redevelop immediately. In previous planning processes, the neighborhood clearly indicated a desire to see high density housing with some commercial uses and better connections for the existing residential neighborhood to the LRT station via the at-grade bicycle-pedestrian trail running along the west side of the property. Redesign’s philosophy places high value on neighborhood scale of buildings with a view toward the long term importance of an area’s human scale, in stark contrast to the recent trend of increasingly large and anonymous residential development, which is driven by short term financial factors.

In close partnership with the neighborhood, the first two phases of housing have begun the transformation of the area towards that original vision. Today Rising Cedars (2312 Snelling Ave) is home to 40 individuals with persistant mental illness and other health concerns who now have permanent housing with the services they need to truly achieve stability. Next door (2304 Snelling Ave), the second phase, named the Cooperage, includes 60 one-bedroom apartments for seniors who earn less than 50% of median income. Both buildings were completed in partnership with regional affordable housing developers. Phase III is in the design and financing phase, and will soon complete the vision for the western block of the site with 121 additional rental units, these available with no regard to income, the first market rate housing built in Seward since 1970.

In the meantime, we have retained interim use tenants in the remaining incubator space, which has created a job base on the site and allowed fledgling companies to grow. One of the buildings is likely to be retained for the longer term as a commercial gateway to the redevelopment site. It includes a diverse mix of tenants that bring vibrancy and energy to the site – Solcana Crossfit, Cycles for Change, Barton Player Piano, Beez Kneez, and Cheeriup. This portion of the site shows the value that a flexible approach to multi phased development can have to accommodate organic, neighborhood scale transformation of the built environment.