With funding secured through the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis announced it will move forward with plans to build five new homes near Saint Louis University (SLU) in 2019.
The $1.1 million dollar investment will transform long-vacant land in the Gate District West neighborhood just adjacent to the university’s Medical Campus into for-sale affordable single-family housing. Community leaders gave unanimous approval to the plan last year.
St. Louis Midtown Development Corporation, created in partnership with SLU and SSM Health, is playing a lead role in spearheading redevelopment in this area. In March of 2017, the entity was ratified by the City of St. Louis as an Urban Redevelopment Corporation to oversee and administer a redevelopment plan to draw new investment to an area comprised of close to 400 acres in the heart of the city.
With nearly $1 billion in new construction already underway in Midtown, SLU sees the Habitat Saint Louis project as an opportunity to maintain workforce housing for families who want to live near jobs, transit and good schools — amenities that already exist.
“Saint Louis University is committed to working together with the St. Louis community to reimagine, revitalize and transform our city,” said SLU President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D. “This partnership with Habitat fits squarely into that commitment.”
This build is the first major project in which Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis and SLU have joined forces to create affordable home-ownership opportunities for homebuyers. The plan calls for two-story, fully accessible homes with brick façades to complement the existing streetscapes. According to Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis Executive Director Kimberly McKinney, quality affordable housing is in high demand throughout the St. Louis region, and especially in the central corridor.
“As private investment continues to come to places like Midtown, we know that the cost of housing is rising, and so is the demand for affordable housing opportunities for working families,” said McKinney. “We’re excited to be able to move forward with plans for development in the Gate District West and have hundreds of waitlist applicants who will be equally as excited.”
The Affordable Housing Trust Fund was established by city voters to stabilize neighborhoods through the preservation and production of affordable housing and support services for those in need. Under the leadership of April Ford Griffin and with the support of elected officials, the Affordable Housing Commission made available $5,175,424 in grants and loans in their 2018 funding round. Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis was one of 45 grants and 3 development projects funded.
“The Affordable Housing Trust Fund was created to support important projects like this,” says the Affordable Housing Commission’s April Ford Griffin. “Aside from creating affordable home ownership for five families, the new, Zero Energy Ready homes will be accessible, highly energy-efficient, and near Midtown’s transit and high opportunities, which are critical building blocks for improving life and building economic mobility.”