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ST. PAUL-Construction began recently on a $6.1 million, three-story apartment and retail complex on Selby Avenue between Grotto and Avon streets here.

The project represents 40 one- and two-bedroom apartment units of much-needed affordable housing finally being built. The housing will be above 4,000 sf of commercial space and an underground heated garage. City leaders see the project as a pivotal part of Selby Avenue’s “comeback” from an area where for many years few wanted to do business.

The Selby Area Community Development Corp. and the minority-owned Legacy Management & Development Corp. of Edina are developing the building, and the neighborhood planning council was also involved.

In addition to the Selby Grotto Apartments, the revitalization includes two dozen new businesses that have set up shop on Selby in recent years, streetscape improvements to beautify a section of the avenue, and several pending developments.

Funding comes from a variety of public and private sources, including the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County.

The new project will bring the city’s new housing units to 1,900–with an additional 3,100 units to go toward meeting Mayor Randy Kelly’s affordable housing goal.

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