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Work starts on luxury mixed-income apartment building along Green Line

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Along the Green Line, plans for a new, mixed-income apartment complex – with some gaudy features and easy access to a light rail stop – took another step this week.

The firm behind the work at 2700 University Avenue, Flaherty & Collins Properties, describes it as a "mixed-use, transit-oriented luxury residential apartment" complex. Groundbreaking was Tuesday.

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It's across the street from the Westgate Green Line station. That's just a couple stops east of the University of Minnesota campus and a 25-minute light rail ride away from downtown St. Paul.

The $54 million complex – happening just on the St. Paul side of the city's border with Minneapolis – will feature 248 luxury apartments (studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms). Eighty percent of those will be offered at market rate, while the remaining 20 percent will be set aside as affordable.

Twin Cities LISC, a community development organization that focuses on a handful of communities in the Twin Cities, is providing more than $6 million in financing to help create the affordable housing opportunities.

Andriana Abariotes, the group's executive director, says the 2700 project will provide rental opportunities for 50 low-income families.

Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Council – a proponent of the Green Line project – said at least 13,700 housing units have been created or are planned within a half-mile of the light rail corridor. Along the corridor, 2,375 subsidized long-term affordable housing units were completed from 2011-2014, in an effort to ensure existing low-income residents in the area don't get displaced.

Amenities at 2700

Among the planned amenities for the space:

A "resort-style, heated saltwater pool" and sundeck with cabanas; an outdoor courtyard; a "state-of-the-art" fitness center; an outdoor space with fire pits; a pet grooming spa; and a bike shop with indoor parking, bike stands, pumps, tools, a work bench, water bottle filling station and TV/lounge area.

There is also 3,000 square feet of street front retail space, underground parking, and a public space that will include a park area, seating, and a community play area. It's all designed "to activate the street level and return emphasis to human-scaled activities rather than automobile uses that have historically dominated University Avenue," Patrick & Flaherty Properties says.

“We’re not in the North Loop and we’re not in Uptown, but I think we can compete with those locations by offering a similar product at a lower price," Vice President of Development for Flaherty & Collins Ryan Cronk told the Star Tribune.

It's slated to be finished in the fall of 2016.

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