State paying to help clean northwest Roseville development site


Mike Munzenrider A three-building, 209-unit apartment development in northwest Roseville is set to receive more than $300,000 in state money to help with site cleanup.

file photo The estimated $55 million apartment development is under construction on a formerly wooded lot south of County Road D between Old Highway 8 and Highway 88.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said in a Jan. 2 release it was awarding Roseville cash to help clean up a development site in the northwest corner of the city.

DEED is giving the Roseville Economic Development Authority $325,000 that will be used to decontaminate the future site of apartments off County Road D between Old Highway 8 and Highway 88.

Work on the first phase of the 209-unit, three-building development called the Edison Apartments began in December, with the site being cleared of trees, according to city Housing and Economic Development Program Manager Jeanne Kelsey.

The first building that’s going up will have 59 units, Kelsey said, and the DEED money will go towards funding cleanup work that will clear the way for the rest of the estimated $55 million development.

According to city documents, some $2 million worth of soil remediation is required because of buried construction debris at the 9.2-acre site. According to DEED, the previously undeveloped lot is suspected to have been used for dumping petroleum and other pollutants.

The developer, Sands Companies, is also seeking grants from the Metropolitan Council and Ramsey County to further help cover cleanup costs. Sands will also pay matching costs for decontamination.

More than half the units to be built at the Edison Apartments, 118, are planned to be affordable, priced for renters making 60 percent or less than the area median income, according to DEED. The development should also create four new jobs and increase the tax base by nearly $270,000.

Kelsey said the DEED funding for cleanup should push the county and Met Council to provide additional grants for the same purpose. 

She said the Met Council has already given the project $2.1 million for environmental improvements, including things like solar panels on the buildings, a cistern system to collect rainwater for irrigation, and pathways around the property that can be used by residents and the community.

Because the site was already zoned for such use, Kelsey said, the apartment development did not require overall city approval. The Roseville City Council, acting as the Economic Development Authority, has voted to support grant funding applications for the development, and will sign off on other aspects of the work.

Residents who live near the development came out in force in June 2017 when the EDA discussed contributing city funds to the project, in the form of tax increment financing and community development block grants worth about $1.35 million. 

Neighbors argued the large development would increase congestion and crime in the neighborhood, and amidst those concerns, the EDA voted against pledging city money to it.

 

–Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813.

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