The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) had a goal: to create more affordable housing where it isn’t typically located and continue investing in areas where it is already present. They call it the MPHA Family Housing Expansion plan, and it is a pioneering project that meets the intentions of the City of Minneapolis’ 2040 comprehensive plan — the citywide rezoning to encourage higher density, more affordable housing in neighborhoods that were typically restricted to single-family homes. The Family Expansion Plan includes 16 different two- and three-story buildings at locations throughout Minneapolis. Most of the sites are located near transit, green space, and trail systems and include good accessibility to employment opportunities, education and commercial amenities. Each building will also be affordably powered by solar panels.
MPHA held a public, competitive RFP process in early 2021 to select a design/construction team, giving preference to innovative construction practices that would demonstrate cost and/or time savings. A partnership with RISE Modular as the module manufacturer, Frerichs Construction as the general contractor and DJR Architecture as the designer was the team MPHA was looking for. In Spring 2023, RISE expects to begin production on modules for this trailblazing scattered-site development. 126 modules will provide 26 two-bedroom and 58 three-bedroom units for families. All units will be available to households at or below 30% of the area median income (AMI).
While a scattered site development isn’t unique, utilizing modular along with multiple public financing tools — including tax-exempt bonds and 4% low-income housing tax credits — is new, and the benefits of modular may very well be a game-changer for the MPHA. The project demonstrates that scattered infill new construction is feasible, cost-effective, and beneficial to our communities. The construction timeline is estimated to be 30% faster than traditional construction, reducing the impact on the neighborhoods and allowing MPHA to house families sooner. The economies of scale provided by modular are estimated to provide 13-21% cost savings with superior quality, which is extremely important to a long-term owner like the MPHA. MPHA is taking full advantage of the rezoning opportunities provided by the 2040 plan and their access to RISE Modular to innovate a new approach to how affordable housing gets done.
Our team’s expertise spans the commercial real estate and offsite construction spectrum from development, design and preconstruction to manufacturing and general contracting.