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County HRA selects partner for housing proposal

Dave Dunn

Duluth-based Center City Housing will help Olmsted County apply for state funding to build supportive housing on Mayowood Road.

"I think we will have an extraordinarily strong application," Olmsted County Housing and Redevelopment Authority Director Dave Dunn said Thursday.

He noted Center City Housing has a 14-for-14 track record in seeking state housing support, and Olmsted County has a good reputation with the state and access to funds for rental assistance.

The project would create 20 to 30 apartments in a building at 1025 Mayowood Road. The facility would cater to people with behavioral health needs, offering access to support programs in addition to living space.

The county’s HRA board approved preliminary plans to move ahead with the project in January and hopes to be approved for state funding in October.


To achieve the goal, Center City will be tasked with finalizing a project structure and financing by April 16 and having an application ready to submit by June 3.

Dunn said it’s been a tight turnaround, but he’s confident it can be done.

"We feel comfortable with the partnerships we’ve had over the years," he said. "We feel comfortable extending those partnerships."

Center City Housing partners with Olmsted County on three housing options in the city: The Francis at 17 Fourth St. SW, Silver Creek Corner at 2125 Campus Drive SE, and Gage East Apartments at 920 40th St. NW. All three provide housing to people who have struggled with homelessness.

The nonprofit was one of two applicants to become a development partner in the project.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Yarco Development also submitted a proposal, but fell short when the two proposals were graded, due to lack of experience in Minnesota and its for-profit status.

Under the Center City proposal, the county will fund up to $95,000 for the application process using HRA levy funds. If the application is successful, Dunn said, the cost would be recouped.

Last month, the HRA board reviewed conceptual plans for the project, which could include two phases on the site that currently houses several family support programs through Olmsted County Child and Family Services.


The proposed first phase, the subject of the funding application, would provide housing and space for support services, while also maintaining the existing Child and Family Services building on the site.

The estimated to cost of the first phase is $4.4 million.

Dunn said the goal is to obtain state funding to cover all capital costs from construction and to ensure the new programming starts on the right foot.

"The service side is very hard, so they want to make sure you can start and have the best chance for success," he said.

The board will meet again in April to review the project structure and financing.

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