95-unit, co-op style housing slated for Como neighborhood

The Brook Avenue Co-op will allow students to have a say in how the building is run and offer lower rent prices.

A rendering of the new development, near the Bunge tower and Van Cleave park.

Courtesy of Riverton Community Housing

A rendering of the new development, near the Bunge tower and Van Cleave park.

Madeline Deninger

A co-op development coming to the Southeast Como neighborhood will feature affordable units and offer students a say in how the building is run. 

Riverton Community Housing will develop a 95-unit, cooperative residential building called the Brook Avenue Co-op on 1220 Brook Ave in SE Como, adjacent to the Bunge Tower. Co-op housing lets tenants serve as members of the building’s self-governing body.

Riverton currently owns six residential developments around the University, five of which are co-ops. Members of the new co-op will have say in budgeting, rent prices and planning social and cultural events.

“It’s a really cool way for students to not only save money on housing, but have a direct say in how things are run,” said Joe Goetzke, leasing/marketing and member services manager at Riverton Community Housing.  

Goetzke said Riverton can offer more affordable rent than other new developments in University neighborhoods because the company is a nonprofit that is not looking to make money off the development. 

The project will feature units priced below 50 and 80 percent of the area median income, as well as roughly two dozen market rate apartments.

Cody Olson, executive director of the Southeast Como Improvement Association, said rising rent prices are one of the biggest concerns for students living in the neighborhood. 

“It causes over-occupancy of houses, it causes a rise in rent and displaces those that can’t afford. So it only helps us that this is going to be coming into the neighborhood,” he said. 

The development will feature a fitness room, study rooms and a community area. Goetzke said Riverton looks to offer students the amenities they need while avoiding extra features like pools and tanning beds. 

“We try to strike that balance between having the essential stuff students want and cutting out the frivolous stuff that would unnecessarily drive up rent prices,” he said. 

The project is part of a collaboration between Project for Pride in Living and Riverton Community Housing. PPL is developing the Maya Commons project, located at 937 13th Ave. SE, which also features affordable housing. 

PPL owned the entire site before transferring part of the property to Riverton. The two projects, while separate, will share a common lobby area in the redeveloped Bunge Tower. 

The development’s affordable housing goals were adopted by the Minneapolis City Council on Friday. Groundbreaking is scheduled for May, with an expected opening of August 2019. 

Ward 2 Minneapolis City Council member Cam Gordon said he hopes co-op style housing can gain traction as an alternative to more expensive luxury student housing in University neighborhoods. 

“I think this is a way where you can have stable, quality affordable housing, and I hope it’s a model that others will try,” Gordon said. “I think this will be a very welcomed addition.”