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Construction Begins on $5.6 Million Affordable Housing Complex in Eagan

The Dakota County Community Development Agency plans to complete the 47-unit Northwood Townhomes next summer.

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A new, 47-unit townhome complex opening in Eagan next year will help Dakota County address growing demand for affordable housing, Dakota County Community Development Agency officials said.

Next summer, the agency plans to open Northwood Townhomes along Northwoods Circle in Eagan. The $5.6 million facility will provide safe, affordable housing for working families with young children, according to Community Development Agency Deputy Executive Director Kari Gill.

The Dakota County Community Development Agency already operates 19 family townhome developments scattered across the county as part of its Family Townhome Program. The program is designed for moderate-income families with children 18 years old or younger that can provide good landlord and credit references and pass a criminal history check.

Under the program guidelines, applicants must also meet minimum and maximum income requirements. For example, a family of four must have an income of $50,400 or less to apply for the townhome program, whereas a family of two must have an income of $40,320 or less to be eligible.

Families or individuals admitted to the program pay fixed monthly rent in exchange for housing; a one-bedroom townhome costs $570, but a three bedroom apartment can cost as much as $705 per month.

Demand for the Family Townhome Program has increased in the last few years, due primarily to area job losses and foreclosures, Gill said. Over 1,800 applicants for the townhome program are currently on a wait-list for the program, and 1,000 of those have expressed an interest in living in Eagan, Gill said.

"There is a tremendous need for affordable housing in Dakota County and Eagan in particular," Gill said. "The current rental market is seeing lower vacancy rates and higher rental rates resulting in the need for affordable housing."

The Northwood facility will have 26 two-bedroom units and 18 three-bedroom units, plus three handicapped-accessible units, Gill said. All but the handicapped-accessible units are two-story townhomes with attached garages. All units have will have dishwashers, central air, washer-dryer hook-ups and other amenities. The facility will also feature a gazebo picnic area, basketball hoop and "tot lot" for young children, Gill added.

The CDA plans to work throughout the winter to pre-lease the units so that families can move in as soon as construction is complete next summer, Gill said.

The majority of the funding for the project will come from federal housing tax credits, among other sources, Gill said.

"If housing is affordable, it is hoped that the families will otherwise be self sufficient and able to cover other costs, including food and transportation," Gill said. "Residents will be part of a community where they can meet other families and be near employment, retail opportunities and public transportation."

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