Moorhead OKs tax break for apartments for seniors facing homelessness

The 36-unit building will be owned by Churches United for the Homeless.

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An architectural drawing of the new Silver Linings Apartments to be built in northeast Moorhead by Churches United for the Homeless.
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MOORHEAD — The Moorhead City Council has approved a property tax exemption for a new apartment building that will prioritize housing for senior citizens facing homelessness and those with disabilities.

The tax break will be in place for two years, but City Council members Shelly Dahlquist and Steve Lindaas suggested the city should extend it to four years, as some multi-family housing developments have received longer tax exemptions.

Economic Development Program Administrator Amy Thorpe said the city's policy likely needs to be updated, noting it hasn't been changed for 11 years. She said she would favor the longer break.

The current policy was adopted to help Moorhead compete with Fargo and gives a four-year tax break for newly built multi-family apartments with enclosed or underground parking and a two-year break for other multi-family structures.

It doesn't have any clauses to distinguish low-income housing from other options. Dahlquist noted this project wouldn't have underground or enclosed parking.


Thorpe said in a later interview that the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency provided $6.7 million of the estimated $7 million construction costs for the three-story, 36-unit structure to be built at 3350 Third Ave. N., which is just north of the Cash-Wise grocery store and near Walmart.

It will be called Silver Linings and will be owned by Churches United for the Homeless, which is continuing fundraising efforts for the project that they hope to break ground on this year. Beyond Shelter, a nonprofit dedicated to low-income and affordable housing, assisted with the application to the city.

In all, the project will cost about $9 million when land, furniture, fees and architectural and engineering costs are added to the construction cost of about $7 million. Additional MHFA funding is pending.

The building will feature supportive services for those 55 and older, including a food pantry, central laundry on each floor, elevator, community room, exercise room, computer room and space for a nurse and service providers.

There will be efficiency and one-bedroom units in the building, and it will be next door to a similar low-income housing building called Bright Sky Apartments, which also provides supportive services such as rental assistance, case management and health services.

The exemption will provide a tax break of $28,800 over the two years. The City Council said they wanted to revisit the tax break and expand it to four years after a policy change is discussed and approved.

Thorpe said a discussion and review of the policy and others by the city's Economic Development Authority could take about three months.

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