Dozens of Ft. Snelling buildings to become affordable housing for veterans

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Developers and Minnesota officials signed off on an agreement to transform the abandoned Upper Post at Ft. Snelling into a large affordable housing project.

The mission is to save a piece of history, while creating a much-needed affordable housing particularly for veterans and their families.

“I’m beyond excited. I’ve worked a long, long time for this day,” said Larry Peterson, DNR project manager.

The Upper Post renovation efforts is a $100 million plan to transform more than two dozen abandoned, rundown buildings sitting right next to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“It was built in 1878,” said Peterson. “It was the headquarters of the Department of the Dakotas before North and South Dakota were states.” 

“This was the site of departure for thousands and thousands of Americans who fought in a number of wars going back to the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “It was the last piece of Minnesota soil the soldiers saw.”

Officials are committed to maintaining the history at Ft. Snelling. Wednesday, the DNR formally signed an agreement with Dominium, an affordable housing developer and management company. The organization plans to clean up the 40 acres and refurbish 26 buildings, turning a years-long vision into the Upper Post Flats, where veterans and their families are given preference. It’s a nod to Ft. Snelling's military past while building its future.

“The ultimate goal, the buildings are beautiful,” said Owen Metz of Dominium. “Just to restore them back to their original design, the landscape. And get people living in them for the next 100 years.”

Officials explained there is still about a year’s worth of work to line up financing and get the necessary construction plans approved. The hope is to break ground next year. The building will house about 175 multi-bedroom units and is expected to be ready for tenants in 2021.