affordable housing – Real Estate Matters
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affordable housing

Affordable Housing, Architecture & Design, Housing, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing

Not just a building… But a home

A story of the Dorothy Day Center

In the beginning the Dorothy Day Center was meant as a training center, but because of a need in St. Paul seen by community members, Catholic Charities decided to help. It became a consistent resource for many homeless year round and soon had to turn people away due to space limitations.

Early last year, Catholic Charities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis announced the largest public-private partnership of its kind. Backed by broad support and funding from both public and private sources, the vision was for a new Dorothy Day Center – two buildings with temporary and permanent residence plus support structures to empower and dignify those in need.

In January 2017, Higher Ground St Paul opened its doors to a community in need. The 5 story building across from the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St Paul contains 193 single room and apartment style units. Already, these units are filled and assisted 473 people of all backgrounds from the elderly, veterans and young adults struggling to make ends meet.

Catholic Charities wanted to bring more dignity to their services in this renovation of the Dorothy Day Center. The new buildings include showers, storage lockers, and light meals. Some residents have said,

“Catholic charities is my backbone, they’re there to pick me up, they rescued me in a time when I needed them…”

– Markeus from room #327

“Catholic Charities is a blessing for everybody in need.”

– Camille Pasha

Phase 2 of the project is underway in St. Paul. The building will contain the Opportunity Center and Dorothy Day Residence, and the goal is to be up and running in the next 12 months. This building will serve for more daily services such as emergency housing, transition housing, a health clinic, mental health services center, education guidance, veteran services, and employment services ranging from training to job placement. Truly a place for the benefit of all community members.

In Minnesota, the Dorothy Day Place project is the largest public-private social services collaboration in history. Funded with the support of local and state government and private sector leaders, the Dorothy Day Place project is a unique real estate development helping those in need.

The Shenehon Center for Real Estate of the University of St. Thomas is dedicated to advancing public and private interest in real estate issues as a resource and platform to the commercial, residential and corporate real estate segments. To learn more, please visit the Shenehon Center site at or email us at


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Affordable Housing, Upcoming UST Events

2014 Minnesota Affordable Housing Conference

Now in it’s 2nd year, the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business will host the 2014 Minnesota Affordable Housing Conference in partnership with the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.Mary Tingerthal

Join us for a conference bringing together various professionals working in all facets of real estate to exchange ideas, network and learn from one another’s successes.  Hone your skills with our specially selected workshops offering beginners and advanced practitioners information and resources needed to adapt and thrive. Learn from the experts and make valuable connections through networking opportunities.

Each breakout session will feature a finance track and a development track to address the various needs and interests of the affordable housing community.

The conference will be held on Thursday, May 8 at the downtown Minneapolis campus of the University of St. Thomas.

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Commercial Real Estate, Development, Economics, Industry News, Multifamily, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Retail Real Estate, Senior Housing, Student Housing, Urban Planning

Walkable Communities Increase Real Estate Values

This is a reposting of of a blog post by Shaun McElhatton from the,  a blog about commercial real estate published by Leonard Street & Deinard.  They have many interesting postings about commercial real estate.  I would encourage you to check them out at

A new Brookings Institution study suggests that walkability increases values for both for-sale and rental housing, as well as office and retail real estate.  The study concludes that office, residential, and retail rents, retail revenues, and for-sale residential home prices all increase faster in walkable communities than in communities where walking is more difficult.   The study also finds that rents and home values increase even more quickly in areas where walkable communities are clustered together to form walkable districts.  While the study is based on Washington, D.C. real estate rental and sales data, in a related New York Times editorial, one of the study’s authors argues that data from Seattle, Columbus and Denver support the study’s conclusions.

Affordable Housing, Commercial Real Estate, Development

Local Development Spotlight: Central Ave NE, Minneapolis

Central Ave NE.  Bordering Northeast Minneapolis’ Art District, a neighbor to St. Anthony Main, and home to delicious ethnic restaurants such as Holy Land, Sen Yai Sen Lek, El Taco Riendo, Adelita’s Mexican Restaurant and numerous bakeries and cafes (Diamonds Coffee Shoppee, a personal favorite), Central Ave is capturing more and more investment attention.

Most metro residents and RE professionals are aware, once a working-class neighborhood “Nordeast” has recently seen an influx of young professionals and artists. The demographic shift combined with revitalization efforts, has resulted in a resurgence of both commercial space and a thriving artistic community.

In considering commercial development on Central, traffic counts are attractive ranging between 18,000-20,000 vehicles per day.  The City recently renovated the local library, and is currently rehabbing Central Avenue’s median.  Several Northeast agencies are also combining forces to install artwork along this important corridor.

700 Central Ave Mixed Use Development, photo source: Java Properties

Following these and other like initiatives and perhaps following the influx of new blood in the Northeast community, there are some very exciting new development projects including the redevelopment of blighted buildings and luxury-slash-low income artist live work spaces.  From for-profit neighborhood cooperatives, to commercial developers, to non-profits, investors are working on an array of projects ultimately enhancing and maybe even redefining the corridor.

One such active investment group includes the Northeast Investment Cooperative (NEIC), a for-profit coop working to convert vacant spaces into neighborhood businesses.  The cooperative, made up of neighboring residents, aims to collectively buy, rehab and manage commercial space along Central.  Its members are also considering working to serve an “incubator for small businesses” to help small business along the corridor succeed. Continue Reading