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Penfield apartment/Lunds project gets financing approval

The long-stalled Penfield development project, which will put apartments and a Lunds grocery store on the site of the old police headquarters in downtown St. Paul, took another step forward today when the city announced it has finalized financing with a commitment for mortgage insurance deal from the feds.

The $62 million deal calls for 254 market-rate apartments at 10th and Minnesota Sts., anchored by the grocery store on the ground level.

Mayor Chris Coleman touted the moving-forward of the deal in a statement today:

“The Penfield project is catalytic, not just for downtown but for all of Saint Paul. It will drive business along the Central Corridor and provide the quality, full-service grocery store our downtown residents having been seeking for many years. I am thrilled we have received this critical HUD commitment, and I look forward to breaking ground in the very near future.”

The city now has a commitment from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide mortgage insurance for the Penfield and closing on the financing is expected within the next 30 days, with construction beginning soon after.

The project has been around since 2005, and earlier versions called for condos and a hotel. 

Council funding approval for the latest incarnation was approved by a divided city council in February, with three members, including Council President Kathy Lantry, voting against formation of a TIF district for the project. Lantry didn’t like the city’s financial exposure on the deal, and thought the city could spread its money around on more affordable housing.

The building could be ready by summer of 2014.

Two Cities blog, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul City Halls, is made possible in part by grants from The Saint Paul Foundation and the Carolyn Foundation.

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