RS Eden’s new Emanuel Apartments in downtown Minneapolis has 101 units and 10,000 square feet of commercial space but not a single parking space. And that suits the people who live and work there just fine.
Instead of driving to work, appointments or classes, residents and employees at the 822 South 3rd Street building simply walk a block west to the METRO Blue Line’s Downtown East/Metrodome Station, catch a bus on nearby Chicago Avenue or bike.
In place of parking, land outside the mixed-use building has been used to create a private backyard with trees, benches, grills and grass for residents’ pets to roam. In the basement, a large space has been dedicated to bike storage and a room has been set aside for bike maintenance and repairs.
Laura Craig, supportive services program director for RS Eden, said she rides the Blue Line to work at Emanuel Apartments every day and that the dozen other staff members who also work at the site commute largely by bus or train.
“This has been a wonderful incentive to use the train,” Craig said.
Proximity to transit was one of the main reasons RS Eden landed on its new location. Emanuel Housing is a sober supportive housing development that offers permanent residence to those who commit to a life free of drugs and alcohol.
The non-profit RS Eden was created 40 years ago to serve Vietnam veterans and has evolved to serve a range of clients, including families and single adults. RS Eden now manages nine sober supportive housing projects in Minneapolis and St. Paul, many of which are located on transit-rich corridors.
For many of RS Eden’s residents, vehicles aren’t an option and transit is a critical connection for classes, work and services. With nearly a dozen rooms at Emanuel Apartments reserved for veterans, the Blue Line’s connection to the Veterans Administration is especially important.
“It’s a perfect location for us,” said RS Eden President Dan Cain. “There’s no need for parking because our tenants have immediate access to transportation, to job opportunities, medical centers and other services.”
Emanuel Apartments opened in August following the renovation of an existing four-story structure and the construction of a connecting four-story building immediately south. The $18 million project was funded through low-income housing tax credits, as well as funding from the state, city and RS Eden.
Since the doors opened, nearly 90 residents have moved in; the building is expected to be fully occupied by the end of the year.
More than a dozen RS Eden case managers and staff with the Council on Crime and Justice work at the building. Remaining space is expected to be used for a medical and legal clinic that would be open to the general public.
For Cain, the combination of supportive housing, transit and public services creates what he considers to be RS Eden’s crowning achievement. “This is really the jewel in our crown,” he said.
A grand opening for Emanuel Apartments is set for noon on Wednesday, Oct. 9.
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