RAMSEY, MN - UnitedHealth Group and Minnesota Equity Fund joined community leaders, development partners and new residents to celebrate the grand opening of The Seasons Townhomes in Ramsey.
The new, 50-unit affordable-housing community connects residents to the Northstar Commuter Rail and is one of several developments recently completed or under construction as part of a $50 million investment by UnitedHealth Group and MEF.
UnitedHealth Group is partnering with MEF to provide $50 million in equity to finance the construction of new affordable-housing communities throughout the Great Lakes region, creating a total of 118 new affordable-housing units in the region. The first four developments funded through the UnitedHealth Group-MEF partnership include:
The Seasons Townhomes, Ramsey: 50-unit multifamily community integrated into the Northstar Commuter Rail Corridor. Developed by Podawiltz Development Corporation, the community provides affordable-housing opportunities for low-income and formerly homeless individuals and families in the area. Construction began in March and was completed in November.
Prairiewood Townhomes, Faribault, Minn.: New 30-unit multifamily community development that will provide affordable-housing opportunities for low-income individuals and families. Construction began in May and will be completed in March 2014. The developer is Three Rivers Community Action Inc.
Prairie Rose Apartments, Red Lake Falls, Minn.: An existing 16-unit multifamily community development that underwent substantial rehabilitation and provides affordable-housing opportunities for low-income individuals and families. Construction began in May and was completed in September. The developer was D.W. Jones Inc.
Gilmore Estates, Jacksonville, Ill.: 22 one- and two-bedroom cottage-style apartments for seniors. Morgan County Civic Services and Windsor Development Group were the co-developers. Construction began in February and was completed in September.
MEF and UnitedHealth Group will announce additional affordable-housing developments in the coming months.
MEF was established by Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF), based in St. Paul, with initial capitalization of $50 million provided through UnitedHealth Group. MEF’s mission is to enable socially motivated corporations and financial institutions to make sound economic investments in high-quality affordable-housing developments, which qualify for federal housing tax credits.
The fund is designed to provide a full range of services including matching investor interest in specific communities or unique projects, underwriting, due diligence and long-term asset management. GMHF, the equity fund’s parent organization, provides project technical assistance and complementary no-interest gap financing and construction financing. MEF’s first fund is an operating partnership between GMHF, which works directly with developers and Minnesota investors, and Lansing, Mich.-based Great Lakes Capital Fund, which provides underwriting and long-term asset management for MEF.
The $50 million commitment by UnitedHealth Group to MEF is part of the company’s Affordable Housing Investment Program, which has provided more than $100 million in financing for community developments throughout the United States. The program is one of several community initiatives undertaken by UnitedHealth Group that is providing millions of dollars each year to help fund local infrastructure projects to improve the quality of life for residents in communities where the company conducts business.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to be the lead investor in the Minnesota Equity Fund that will bring new affordable-housing opportunities to communities throughout the Great Lakes region,” said Tom McGlinch, vice president, investment management, UnitedHealth Group, which employs more than 13,000 people in Minnesota. “This investment will help create a foundation of support for families with the greatest needs and spark economic investment and job growth in the areas where these housing developments are being built.”
GMHF, with support from the McKnight and Blandin foundations, has financed more than 11,000 units of affordable housing throughout Minnesota since it started in 1996. MEF will finance projects in the Great Lakes region, including the Twin Cities metro area and throughout Minnesota.
“MEF provides a vehicle for socially motivated corporations and financial institutions to make economic investments in well-designed, high-quality affordable-housing developments in growing communities throughout Minnesota,” said Warren Hanson, president and CEO of GMHF. “We applaud UnitedHealth Group for its leadership and investment in these first projects, which will help meet the needs of working families and their children and create a stronger Minnesota.”