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Park & Franklin Lofts Resumes

 By DOUG HOVELSON, Tuffa Associates



 Tashitaa Tufaa speaking

 The constructing of a 43-unit, four-story apartment building at Park Ave. and East Franklin Ave., in the Ventura Village neighborhood has resumed. 

Tashitaa Tufaa, the building owner, says it will help fill a need for moderately priced, family-oriented rental housing in the core neighborhoods of south Minneapolis. “The focus of Park Franklin Lofts is to create attainable housing for people and their families who live and work in the city,” says Tufaa, who is a Twin Cities resident and business owner. 

The 35,000 sq. ft. building’s main entrance will be on Park Ave. and will have nine 3-bedroom and eight 2-bedroom apartments, along with 13 1-bedroom and 13 studio apartment homes. Tenant on-site parking is a 17-stall off-street surface parking lot for tenant use.

Tufaa started the project in the winter of 2017-18; but halted soon in 2018 because of its general contractor filing for bankruptcy just as the concrete foundation was started. Despite the setback,Tufaa clung to his dream,“I never gave up on the project, but I had to regroup and find a new project manager and construction partner.” He also had a growing school transportation business, Metropolitan Transportation Network (MTN), to operate. 

Patrick McGlynn, McGlynn Partners LLC., is overseeing project development. “My job as the developer is to complete Tashitaa’s vision of creating more attainable housing in an area of the city that really needs more housing,” says McGlynn. “Also, this is a privately financed project – we are showing that this type of project can be done without public financing.” Ebert Construction, from Corcoran MN, is the general contractor on the project. Coulee Bank in St. Paul is supplying project financing. 

It would be a plus if the project inspired more affordable/attainable housing proposals from other developers, says McGlynn, who believes there are more opportunities to pursue in the core cities. 

“The building details are designed to complement and enhance the architecture of the surrounding neighborhood,” says Damaris Hollingsworth, project architect from Design by MELO. The building exterior includes a mix of corrugated metal, brick and wood elements at key locations for visual appeal. Brick complements the mix of brownstone and brick exteriors of a nearby church and residential row houses, while wood finds its match in the wood siding of adjacent single-family houses, says Hollingsworth. 

Tufaa developed MTN into one of the leading private school bus operators in the state. As a real estate investor, Tufaa hopes to make an impact on society by helping produce more attainably priced housing in city neighborhoods. “We are responsible for creating affordable housing for people in our society,” he says. 

The Park & Franklin project brings him back to his early days as an immigrant to the U.S. “I lived in an apartment just four blocks away from the Park and Franklin intersection when I first arrived in Minnesota from Ethiopia,” he says. “I know that part of the city very well, I love it, and I am excited to create more housing for the neighborhood. There’s plenty of luxury apartment and condo buildings in Minneapolis – especially downtown – but hardly any new attainably priced housing that working families can afford.” 

6th ward Councilmember Jamal Osman speaking 
Councilmember Andrea Jenkins speaking 
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