Wherever business prospers, communities need living options for employees that are appealing and affordable.
Increasing these options was the challenge confronting Forest Lake, a community on the outskirts of the Twin Cities Metro Area that has become an economic hub.
“Workforce housing isn’t only about making sure workers can live close to their jobs,” says HRA Commissioner Tom Triplett. “It’s also about making sure that the money being earned in these communities is being reinvested, through workers spending their dollars where they work. That’s what the HRA aimed to do in the development of Forest Oak Apartments.”
Completed in 2012, Forest Oak Apartments provides 36 two- and three-bedroom apartments targeted at the working families in the Forest Lake region. Located in Forest Lake’s rapidly growing Headwaters area, the building offers access to bike and walking trails, wetlands, a library, and a transit center.
“It’s important that affordable housing projects provide value not only to the residents, but also to the community,” says Executive Director Barbara Dacy.
“Forest Oak is a beautiful development that integrates perfectly into its surroundings. It also contributes over $15,000 a year in revenue to local governments, growing our tax base and helping to pay for necessary services,” Dacy says.
The site was designed by MWF Properties to feature natural colors and also Smart Growth principles to minimize the impact of the development on its surroundings. One example was opting for underground parking rather than surface lots to reduce storm water runoff and lessen the impact on surrounding wetlands.
The site has been so successful that the HRA is working to secure financing for another, similar building adjacent to Forest Oak Apartments.