The Whittier Alliance (WA) neighborhood organization in Minneapolis and Alliance Housing Inc have established a new partnership to bring low-barrier affordable housing, community meeting and event space, and new office space for both organizations to the vacant site at 2116 Nicollet Ave. The acquisition of the space by Whittier Alliance in the spring of 2021 was inspired by a long-time intention of the organization to purchase and activate property for community benefit, while striving to meet other goals along the way related to housing, community engagement, support for Whittier’s important commercial corridors, and organizational sustainability.
In the fall of 2021 after a competitive application process, WA convened a volunteer steering committee of residents both with deep knowledge of the community and subject matter expertise in development-related fields to define the vision/values/goals for the site, develop a process for community engagement, draft and release a Request for Proposals (RFP), and ultimately, to make a recommendation to the WA Board of Directors for the preferred development partner from the proposals received.
Community engagement work throughout the summer of 2022 further clarified the priorities that residents and other nearby stakeholders wanted to see most in the project, including sustainability features that reduce environmental impact and facilitate sustainable living; creative place-keeping features that create a sense of community identity within the building and reflect the Whittier community; and urban design features that enhance the characteristics of Nicollet Avenue and the Eat Street Commercial Corridor through human-centered design.
Through the RFP process, Whittier Alliance was thrilled to select Alliance Housing Inc as their partner in this important project after clear demonstration of an alignment in values, objectives, and organization mission.
Alliance Housing Inc’s work makes it possible for individuals and families to create homes for themselves, regardless of income and background by developing and managing housing that is:
- relational, and
In addition, Alliance Housing challenges the environment that limits our residents’ opportunities.
Alliance Housing creates affordable, low-barrier housing that is accessible to all members of the community. The new project at 2116 Nicollet will be a mixed use building housing 54 units of affordable housing and approximately 4,200 square feet of leasable commercial space and a community meeting space, that will be shared by Whittier Alliance and Alliance Housing. Single adults will occupy the mix of single room occupancy (SRO), efficiency, and one bedroom units. The first floor space will welcome neighborhood residents in for a variety of neighborhood focused events and meetings.
Whittier Alliance and Alliance Housing Inc acknowledge that the Whittier neighborhood and this site are on the stolen ancestral lands of the Dakota people and recognize the resiliency of our Indigenous, Black and other marginalized community members amid centuries of ongoing, state-sanctioned violence and oppression. As we move ahead to the design phase of the project, we remain committed to facilitating avenues for robust community participation, as well as to operating within an anti-racist, anti-oppression and equity framework, prioritizing the voices of historically underrepresented people, populations, and communities.
Full project background and a sign up for ongoing, project-specific communications are available at whittieralliance.org.
Kaley Brown, Whittier Alliance Executive Director
Jessie Hendel, Alliance Housing Inc Executive Director