Architecture and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits 2560 1377 UrbanWorks Architecture

Architecture and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits

Each spring and summer UrbanWorks Architecture works alongside our partners to submit applications for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits through Minnesota Housing. These policy driven tax incentives allow new developments to create affordable housing for local communities.

What are Low-Income Housing Tax Credits?

Organized by Minnesota Housing, Low-Income Housing Tax credits are part of the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (HTC) program, which is a financing program for qualified residential rental properties. These tax credits encourage this type of development by offering financial investors a 10-year reduction in tax liability. This is exchanged for capital, which is then used to fund the new affordable rental housing units in new construction, rehabilitation, or acquisition with rehabilitation. These projects can be fully affordable, or include a mix of affordable and market rate housing- though the tax credits apply only on the affordable portion of the development. Developers are able to apply for one of two tax credit rates, 4% and 9 %, depending on which rate best fits their project needs. Ultimately, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits are a fixed-term tax reduction that allow developers to fund affordable rental units in Minnesota.

Why are Low-Income Housing Tax Credits Important?

Low-Income Housing Tax Credits are a key tool for the new development of affordable rental housing. There is a significant upfront cost to multifamily housing development, and these tax credits assist with the financial constraints for developers. By supporting upfront capital investments, these tax credits give affordable housing developers the capital they need to begin construction of new projects. Without the tax credit system it can be challenging for affordable housing developers to pull together the necessary financing to make projects financially feasible. Affordable housing funded through this program is sorely needed in many communities and directly benefits both communities and residents. The projects result in high quality, rent adjusted housing aimed specifically at income qualifying residents, ensuring that members of the community have a safe and affordable place to call home.

How is UrbanWorks Involved?

At UrbanWorks, we work closely with multifamily housing developers and nonprofit organizations that want to build new, affordable housing units. We work with our clients to locate potential sites, design an initial layout of the building, and estimate the rough costs of building the project. For affordable housing with a specialized resident group, such as senior housing or housing for people with physical disabilities, we work to design a proposed project that meets the needs of future residents through thoughtful, evidence based design practices. We assist throughout the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit application process, establishing a detailed and robust application for submittal. Upon receiving the tax credits, UrbanWorks continues to work alongside our client to take the project to completion.

UrbanWorks Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Projects

We are proud to have worked on multiple projects funded in part through tax credits. Below are a few examples of projects that have brought affordable housing to their communities through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.

Creekside Commons

This multi-family housing project was designed to strengthen the architecture of its community—Minneapolis’ Tangletown neighborhood—both physically and socially. The project adds to the diversity of the community by creating a housing opportunity for workforce residents in the neighborhood and by maintaining a human scale while introducing more density into a context of primarily single-family homes.

Rising Cedar Apartments

Rising Cedar represents a belief that healthy environments can be shaped through outstanding design. As the first model of its kind in the nation, Rising Cedar integrates permanent affordable and supportive housing for adults with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI) with social services and service provider headquarters under one roof.
The building combines 40 units of housing, the 8,000 SF office headquarters for Touchstone Mental Health, and a Center for Health and Wellness to be used by both residents and members of the Touchstone community.

The Cameron Historic Lofts

More than 100 years ago, the four-story Cameron Transfer and Storage Building was designed by C.A.P. Turner, engineer of the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth, the Mendota Bridge, and other innovative bridges and buildings. The adaptive reuse of this historic warehouse included rehabilitating and renovating the space into 44 units of workforce housing – the first to be developed in the North Loop for more than a decade.

Artspace Hastings Lofts

Developed on a former industrial site, Artspace Hastings River Lofts offers affordable live/work units for artists and their families, retail and community space, and an art gallery as part of the growing artists’ community in Hastings.

66 West

66 West provides 39 studio apartments to youth who have experienced homelessness. Community amenities include a computer lab, fitness center, laundry, and lounge. In addition to safe housing, on site professional support will is available for the residents to help transition them to stable housing. 66 West is the first supportive housing for young adults in suburban Hennepin County.

Hawthorne Eco Village Apartments

Hawthorne EcoVillage is a four-block area in North Minneapolis working to create and maintain a neighborhood that is a model of sustainability. This mixed-use building provides 71 affordable living apartments, four townhomes, community space for both residents and youth, and a shared courtyard.

East Town Apartments

Located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, East Town Apartments is a six-story workforce housing apartment building with 169 units ranging in size from studio to 3 bedrooms. The building also includes structured parking with 188 stalls located below grade.
The building offers housing to residents making between 50-60% of Area Market Median, and features a community room with kitchen, fitness center, laundry facilities, and an outdoor patio and playground space for families.


Credit Line: “Anthony Gilbert © Gaffer Photography”

The Redwell

Located in the North Loop Neighborhood of Minneapolis, The Redwell offers 109 studio, one, and two-bedroom apartments. Rental eligibility for this affordable housing project is restricted at 60% AMI, with select units designated for Project Based Housing Vouchers.

Maya Commons

Located in Northeast Minneapolis, Maya Commons is a six-story apartment building which holds 50 units, ranging in size from studio to 2 bedrooms, and 23 enclosed parking stalls. The design incorporates the historically significant Bunge grain elevator, transforming it into the largest peace pole in North America, and giving it new life as the location of the building’s amenity spaces.

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