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Nov. 12, 2013

Riverside Plaza Earns National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

The historic Minneapolis housing development Riverside Plaza has earned the 2013 National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award of Excellence in Historic Preservation.

Located near downtown Minneapolis, the Cedar Riverside neighborhood has been one of the points of arrival for immigrants since the late 19th century. After World War II, the neighborhood declined and developers decided to turn 100 acres of low-density properties into a diverse community. With financing from a major HUD initiative, the Cedar Square West project featured 1,300 apartment units and some commercial space. Although the project was a success at its inception, it slowly declined due to various factors.

A group of for-profit and nonprofit investors led by Sherman Associates bought the property in 1988 and renamed it Riverside Plaza. Due to its historical and architectural importance, although it was only 37 years old, the property earned National Register status in 2010, opening the door for major renovation.

With the help of federal and state historic tax credits, Sherman Associates undertook a two-year, $65 million rehabilitation that upgraded all 1,300 residential units. The rehabilitation was one of the largest HUD-supported projects in the country and the largest affordable housing development in Minnesota.

Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in a statement: “While each is unique, this year’s outstanding Honor Award winners all reflect the importance of protecting what is special and irreplaceable. Whether it’s the spectacular restoration of an iconic public library in St. Louis or the transformation of a warehouse into housing for previously homeless residents in Detroit, this year’s Honor Award winners demonstrate how saving places bolsters local economies and creates jobs in communities across the country.”

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan added, “There’s something wonderful about producing homes working families can afford, creating jobs and stimulating economic growth while at the same time remaining true to the historic character of a neighborhood. Riverside Plaza has been a fixture in its neighborhood for generations, and with this thoughtful redevelopment, it will continue to live on for many years to come.”

The award was presented to Sherman Associates at the Richard H. Driehaus National Preservation Awards ceremony in Indianapolis. Co-recipients were AEGON USA Realty Advisors L.L.C.; AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust; Blumentals/Architecture; City of Minneapolis; Commerce Bank; Family Housing Fund; Hennepin County; Hess, Roise and Company; HUD Minneapolis; Knutson Construction; Metropolitan Council; Minnesota Housing; Minnesota Historical Society; Oak Grove Capital; and the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

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Photo Courtesy of: www.sherman-associates.com

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