Redevelopment Project


Model Cities is carrying out a new development initiative in St. Paul in connection with the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit (LRT) line.  The project will provide affordable workforce housing, commercial and retail uses, green space and public art close to the Victoria Street LRT Station.  The redevelopment project includes two mixed-use sites along the north side of University Avenue between Victoria and Grotto Streets:

  • Total investment estimated at over $25 million
  • Project to include two mixed-use development projects known as BROWNstone at 839-849 University Avenue and Central Exchange at 771-785 University Avenue
  • Model Cities’ BROWNstone building, which is located at the Victoria & University light rail stop, will include ground floor commercial/retail, a community room, a reading room celebrating the history of African American railroad workers in the neighborhood, workforce housing, and Model Cities’ offices
  • Central Exchange will include more than 30 workforce housing units, an estimated 10,000 ft2 of office/commercial space, and environmentally sustainable technologies, such as “green roofs.”
  • Both the BROWNstone and Central Exchange sites will include at-grade pocket parks that will provide new green space along the Avenue

Estimated outcomes from the project are expected to include the following:

  •  Over 65 units of stable, affordable housing
  • Approximately 30,000 ft2 of leased office and retail space
  • More than 50 new and retained jobs in the community after project completion

The overall initiative, known as Model Cities Redevelopment, will provide new, dynamic land uses the LRT line.  It will also bring currently vacant lots on University Avenue back into productive use.  This project will demonstrate the potential for environmentally-friendly, mixed-use development to catalyze other projects, and thus contribute to increased economic vibrancy along the transit corridor.  As a result, existing and new businesses will provide jobs and income to the community, and new opportunities for diverse founding choices that are affordable will become available.

Additional Information: