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New HRA apartments delayed, but still on track

Construction on the new 35-unit apartment building adjacent to Aspen Arms in Cloquet will likely begin in April 2018, at least seven months later than originally predicted.

According to Debra Shaff, executive director of the Cloquet/Carlton Housing and Redevelopment Authority, last year’s election is partially to blame for the delay.

“We originally thought we’d lock-in at a larger dollar amount, but after the election that just dropped,” she said. “It caused a $720,000 gap in terms of our financing.”

It wasn’t just a problem for Cloquet. According to a story at www.housingfinance.com,

the market stalled after the 2016 election Republicans took control in Washington DC and “the possibility of tax reform shook the industry as wary low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) investors pulled back.” The same article said the market has regained its footing now, however.

And happily for the HRA and future building tenants, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency came through with gap funds to help the project stay on track. Shaff said they are also looking at ways to cut costs through engineering changes, etc.

The new White Pine Apartments will be constructed next to the existing Aspen Arms apartment building on 14th Street in Cloquet and will include 35 rental units. Plans include six one-bedroom units, 26 with two bedrooms and three units with three bedrooms. Seven of the units will have supportive contracts for people with an illness or mental health issues.

They’ve had a lot of interest in the apartments already, she said, noting that they don’t even have applications available yet.

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