MPHA, Minneapolis launch city's biggest public housing renovation in Elliot Twins project

On Monday, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) announced it has closed on the financing and will begin construction this month on a complete renovation of the Elliot Twins, according to a news release.

The two towers in the Elliot Park neighborhood have stood since 1961, and are considered the oldest high-rise public housing in Minneapolis.

The renovation project will include a remodel of the towers' 174 units of existing public housing, adding 10 fully disability-accessible units, replacing outdated building systems and adding 6,200 feet of new ground-floor common areas and amenities.

A $2.3 million investment by the city of Minneapolis will fund the use of energy-efficient materials and technologies, reducing energy costs by as much as 35% while increasing comfort for residents.

"With the Elliot Twins, we set off to fulfill our essential vision to preserve public housing across Minneapolis," said MPHA Executive Director/CEO Abdi Warsame. "This extensive and attractive renovation will transform the lives of the people who live there. It will also embody our joint commitment with the city to invest in high-quality, long-lasting, appealing homes for our lowest-income citizens."

The median household income at the Elliot Twins is around $10,200 a year, according to a release. Nearly 80% of residents are seniors or have a disability; more than 80% are people of color. The buildings are home to many Somali elders. Residents are able to remain on-site throughout construction and rent will remain affordable at 30% of adjusted income.

“Public housing sits at the base of our city’s commitment to permanent, affordable housing for everyone,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “With the Elliot Twins, we won’t just be preserving essential housing for decades to come. We will be making it better. I am especially proud to show how energy efficiency can be a priority with even our most deeply affordable homes—reducing our carbon footprint and saving money that we can reinvest in preserving and creating more housing.”

The entire project includes complete apartment renovations, upgrades to major building systems — electrical, heat and water — the addition of apartment air conditioning, fire sprinklers, new exterior insulated metal panels and extensive landscaping. Also, it will feature a 6,200-foot "community link" between the towers with large community spaces, expanded laundry and exercise rooms and a single entrance with guard desk. Ten new ground and second floor units will be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The towers only have two such units currently.

The estimated $25 million project is funded through the first use in Minnesota of state-of-the-art tools for preserving public housing. The design is by LHB Architects; construction by Frerichs Construction will conclude in late 2021.

For more information on the project, click here.

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