Upscale, market-rate apartment complexes coming to Cambridge

A new 46-unit apartment building will soon be under construction in Cambridge.

During the July 15 Cambridge City Council meeting, the council approved several resolutions relating to two, 46-unit, three-story apartment buildings to be constructed on 6.95 acres in the Parkwood Development.

Economic Development Director Stan Gustafson explained the project, proposed by The Preserve of Cambridge (Mick Construction), will be an upscale, market-rate apartment building with many amenities not offered in Cambridge or in the market area.

The buildings will be built in two phases, with the first phase starting construction as soon as possible in 2013. The development is located off of Opportunity Boulevard, between Eighth Lane Southeast and proposed 11th Avenue Southeast.

Parkwood Development is a planned unit development that consists of single-family, detached town homes, attached town homes, twin homes and senior housing units, and very little development has occurred over the last several years. Within the past two years, the majority of the lots became state tax forfeited property and placed up for sale by Isanti County.

Each apartment building will include 14 one-bedroom units, 29 two-bedroom units and three three-bedroom units.

Gustafson explained the apartment complex will feature an elevator, business office, library, manager office, community room, washers and dryers in each unit, playground, screened balconies, security system (keyless entry and cameras) and an in-house fitness center. The designated library may be utilized for another use and will be determined prior to construction.

Gustafson explained the developer is requesting tax increment financing to help finance the project and would be used for a variety of qualified expenses as indicated in the contract for private development such as land acquisition costs, costs to construct parking areas, sidewalks, street lighting, utility infrastructure, landscaping and three segments of city roads. The developer will build the streets on 11th Avenue Southeast from Opportunity Boulevard to Roosevelt and Zachary (from Eighth Lane Southeast) and 10th Avenue Southeast to Roosevelt as part of the projects.

The units are market-rate apartments, with 20 percent of the units (nine units) at 50 percent of median income to meet tax increment financing rules.

Gustafson explained the developer will retain 90 percent of the tax increment financing and the city will retain 10 percent for administration costs. The projected building cost for both buildings is $9,293,632 or $101,018 per development unit.

Mark Ruff with Ehlers said the project is a benefit for the community.

“These types of housing complexes are common, and as long as the buildings are managed properly, they are good assets to the community,” Ruff said. “I would like to compliment your staff on the review and overview with this project.”

During the Cambridge Economic Development Authority meeting held just prior to City Council, the Authority heard a presentation on the need-and-demand analysis for market-rate and senior housing in Cambridge.

“That study proves there’s a need for this project with the 2 percent vacancy rate,” Gustafson said.

Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer said it’s a good project for the city, and since it’s a pay-as-you-go tax increment financing district, there isn’t any risk to the city.

“This project really helps provide the market-rate and senior housing that we need,” Palmer said. “I think these apartments will fill up rather quickly.”

Ruff said he feels the project is beneficial to Cambridge.

“It’s newer housing, and the demographics show this is a good market for this, and you may see other developments occur as a result of this,” Ruff said. “Newer housing brings in business, and businesses like to know there are nice places for their workers to live. It may provide an opportunity for more students to move into the district and an opportunity for more seniors to move out of their homes and into a new building if they so desire.”

Gustafson said city staff has been working hard on the project.

“This project will be a benefit for many and will offer many amenities currently not offered in the community or the general area,” Gustafson said. “The developers want to begin construction as soon as possible and hope to be leasing apartments in March or April 2014.”

In other action, the council:

• Approved a proposal from Leo A. Daly for an amount not to exceed $7,100, as well as $1,200 and $3,750 in anticipated reimbursables, to conduct a Cambridge Library facility needs assessment.

• Approved a proposal from TR Computers in the amount of $23,051 for a telephone system replacement for City Hall, Public Works and Bridge Park Apartments.