West Bank needs mindful growth

West Bank needs mindful growth

A mixed-income apartment complex recently broke ground in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, the latest in a string of construction projects set for the area.

The six-story, $52.5 million development, called Five15 on the Park, will have 259 units, about half of which will be one-bedroom apartments.

The rest of the units will be just two- or three-bedroom apartments, which will likely do little to alleviate Cedar-Riverside’s need for affordable housing — especially for families that could need more space. Though many of Five15’s units will be classified as “affordable” based on the area’s average median income, about half the complex will sell at market rate, and that’s after receiving tax increment financing through the city of Minneapolis to help build the complex.

The neighborhood’s main housing option, Riverside Plaza, is truly a low- and middle-priced development that even places income restrictions on certain units.

But now, the plaza’s towers are overflowing with residents seeking affordable housing. Hussein Ahmed, executive director of the West Bank Community Coalition, told the Minnesota Daily that Cedar-Riverside has long needed new housing to alleviate the complex’s overcrowding.

“People shack up with friends or family in other places waiting to get into Riverside Plaza,” he told the Daily. “There’s a huge waiting list.”

Most of Five15’s funding sources are private, and it could bring some jobs to the area, but
Cedar-Riverside deserves better. Quality, high-density housing is a necessity for the neighborhood, but it must be sure to meet residents’ affordability and space needs. Though Five15’s true impact is yet to be seen, the city must work with developers and offer greater financial incentives if the area’s housing woes are to be truly fixed.