A family-oriented, low-income apartment building in Ramsey celebrated its grand opening Nov. 6.

On Election Day, representatives of the partners and stakeholders involved in the development of Greenway Terrace Apartments toured the building and gave brief statements during a ceremony in the new building’s entry hall.

“The Greenway Terrace is a celebration of another step toward the city of Ramsey’s vision of growing a community serving the needs of our residents,” acting Mayor John LeTourneau said.

Built by affordable housing developer and property management company Aeon, Greenway sits in The COR in Ramsey. The building boasts common spaces and a gym and is a stab at increasing affordable housing for families.

Many of the apartments in the building are aimed at serving residents whose income is 30 or 50 percent of the median income in the area.

Census estimates put Ramsey’s median income at approximately $88,000 per year in 2016. The census’ poverty rate for Ramsey is 3.5 percent.

The project cost about $12.4 million, according to city council documents. The council approved Aeon’s purchase of the land was approved in 2016.

Demand for housing like Greenway is high according to senior project manager Leslie Roering. The apartment building had already filled by the time of the grand opening, and the waiting list to get in numbered in the hundreds, Roering said.

“Ramsey’s COR was the perfect location because of the access to amenities,” Roering said. “We are right in the heart of Ramsey.”

The city hopes locating the apartment in The COR will benefit Ramsey as well. Officials hope more potential customers living in denser areas will attract more shops and restaurants.

“Greenway Terrace residents add to the density demographic that will serve to attract shops and restaurants that our community wants in our downtown,” LeTourneau said.

Stakeholders praised the building during the grand opening for its focus on housing larger low-income families.

“It is very unique to see a project that has 50 percent of the units have either three or four bedrooms at a time when projects are getting smaller, units are getting smaller and more and more studios are being built,” said Michael Bisanz, who represented Dougherty Mortgage LLC.

Greenway Terrace is aimed at low-income families and includes half a dozen four-bedroom apartments, and 42 two- or three-bedroom apartments. Only six apartments have just one bedroom.

Roering shared two reasons why the building was aimed toward families. For one, it increases the likelihood of getting funding for the apartment building from the state.

The other was Roering also knew that the growth in Ramsey is largely made up of families.

“I am also a resident of Ramsey, and I can see all of the homes, the single-family homes being built, but there isn’t anything being built for families that are lower income,” Roering said.

The building also created space for a handful of residents who were homeless long term.

People like Lolita Cole.

“I’m just thankful for Greenway, that’s all,” Cole said. “I am so blessed to be one of their tenants. I am so glad I was chosen.”

Cole is on Social Security disability after suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from a gunshot wound. She spent the last year living in a hotel and said living in Greenway is more affordable.

“It’s great ‘cause I don’t got to worry about the end of the month coming because it took all of my Social Security check to live in the hotel,” Cole said.

Cole spent every day looking for more secure shelter and believes she would have found something else eventually, but maybe not quite as nice as Greenway.

Now she is looking forward to getting to know Ramsey and currently works part-time in St. Paul.

Ultimately, Cole wants to go back to school to become a surgical technician cleaning equipment. She has attended Minneapolis Community and Technical College and Colorado Christian College to study criminal justice.

Being reluctant to work around firearms and a little older, Cole decided to pursue a career as a surgical tech after discussing it with her advisor.

Now she is waiting until a new semester starts so she can see what credits will transfer. Other than that, Cole expects to stay in Ramsey for the foreseeable future.

“I’m home now,” she said.

Staff Writer

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