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Land bank helps to rehabilitate properties and catalyze growth

Star Tribune
Old Home Creamery’s former headquarters at 370 University Av. in St. Paul: Groups are working to develop the 1912 building as mixed-use housing.

Old Home Creamery’s former headquarters at 370 University Av. in St. Paul: Groups are working to develop the 1912 building as mixed-use housing.


The nonprofit's highest-profile project is the former Old Home headquarters on the route of St. Paul's light-rail line.



A little-known nonprofit that helps developers transform vacant commercial buildings raised its visibility this spring with a mixed-use housing project near the Central Corridor light-rail line in St. Paul.

The Twin Cities Community Land Bank, whose niche is to buy and then hold properties until a developer is found, has been working since 2009 to help stem the tide of abandoned properties. In March, it took on its highest-profile project to date, acquiring the Minnesota Milk Building at University and Western avenues.

The land bank agreed to buy the property for just over $1 million and hold it for 10 months while the Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corp., which intends to acquire the building, finds a developer. Given its location next to the light-rail line stop, Aurora envisions the site as a transit-oriented, mixed-income housing development.

"Aurora/St. Anthony had a purchase agreement ... but had not yet been able to select a development partner and was not ready to close on the property," said Margo Geffen, the land bank's senior program manager. "They were at risk of losing it."


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