St. Paul, MN
A development bank and vehicle to fund the revitalization of the Lowertown area in downtown St. Paul.
The Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation (LRC) is an organization focused on the revitalization of the Lowertown area while at simultaneosly retaining a sense of place for the community. The LRC's eight-member board of directors, including civic leaders, mayors, bankers, labor leaders, and neighborhood activists, undertook the Herculean renovation of the Lowertown district of St. Paul. Lowertown covers eighteen blocks, almost one-third the downtown St. Paul, which had become a labyrinth of abandoned warehouses, factories, and run-down neighborhoods.
Nuts and Bolts:
- When former St. Paul mayor George Latimer set aside $10 million in 1979 for program-related investments, he laid the foundation for the Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation.
- The LRC serves as a development bank and a vehicle for public/private partnerships. For every dollar the LRC invests in a project, it attracts $5 to $35 dollars in public and private money.
- The LRC’s investment depends on the provision of housing for people of all ages and economic backgrounds. Today, 25 percent of Lowertown’s housing is dedicated to people with low and moderate incomes.
- The LRC also has invested in adding amenities to the neighborhoods of Lowertown, such as parks, farmer’s markets, a new police substation, and a swimming pool.
- Investment in the area has jumped from an average of $22 million to $210 million in each decade. One of the many results of the continued focus on redevelopment has been the marked increase in the tax base from $850,000 in 1979 to almost $4 million in 1993.
- Today, Lowertown boasts one of the highest concentrations of working artists in cities across the nation - 500 and growing at last count. The LRC has fostered Lowertown’s creative atmosphere by giving special attention to artists’ housing. Artists, in return, help with many LRC projects, such as the park design.
- The LRC also tries to attract high-tech and cyberspace industries to the area. Young entrepreneurs, lured by the redevelopment potential of abandoned warehouses can receive ‘gap financing’ [with LRC making up for the "gap" between public and private financing] as an incentive to remain in St. Paul.
For more information on this program, visit: Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation