Against the odds of this economy, the Nokoma is paving the way for homebuyers in a south Minneapolis community. The historic 19-unit apartment rental building on 3rd Avenue and Franklin in Minneapolis is now a housing cooperative with a focus on affordable ownership options, thanks to the Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation.
The nonprofit organization, which focuses on improvements for affordable housing, purchased the building and updated the units. They will hold an open house for the community on Sunday, August 16.
“(The project) started at the request of the neighborhood four years ago,” said Jennifer Larson, Housing Operations Manager for the Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation, adding that community members were interested in preserving home ownership opportunities in an area where a majority of residents are renters.
A few buyers have already signed on, she said, and others have shown interest.
“It’s kind of going slowly but surely,” Larson said. After selling all the units in the Nokoma building, the foundation plans to turn the building next door into a housing cooperative. That building – Franklin Gardens – is now a rental property owned by the foundation, and would be rehabbed before becoming a cooperative.
Larson said the neighborhood where the two buildings are located once had a poor reputation, but the updating of the Nokoma has brought with it a transformation of the neighborhood. She characterized the neighborhood, which is within walking distance of downtown, as densely populated, active, artsy, diverse and eclectic.
Owners of the units will be able to decide many aspects of how the building operates, which Larson said is one of the advantages of buying a unit.
People who haven’t owned their own place in the past three years are eligible for an $8000 tax credit, she said.
“It’s apparently relatively simple to file for — (the buyer) just (has) to file an amendment to their 2008 taxes or can claim it on their 2009 taxes,” Larson said. “The nice thing about the tax credit is we’re asking for $3000 down and you get $8000 back.”
The open house, to be held on August 16 from 1 to 4 p.m., provides opportunity for more potential buyers, as Larson said she will have applications available.
“The people who have been buying have been a really good mix,” Larson said, adding that includes newcomers to the community and renters in the area who can finally afford to buy. “It’s fun for me to see their excitement.”
Lyssa Beyer is a freelance writer in the Twin Cities.
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