Family Housing Expansion Project (Minneapolis)


Family Housing Expansion Project (Minneapolis)

Mismatches Price Diversity Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations Local policies Planning
Urban Design Environments Quality Liveability Inclusion
Promotion and production Public promotion

Main objectives of the project

In 2021, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) faced a substantial waitlist of more than 8,000 families seeking affordable housing. To meet the demand for two and three-bedroom units, MPHA launched the Family Housing Expansion Project. This initiative involves constructing 84 new deeply affordable housing units spread across residential neighborhoods in Minneapolis. The project capitalizes on the Minneapolis City Council's decision to eliminate single-family zoning, as outlined in the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan. By replacing single-family or duplex homes, MPHA aims to bolster the supply of missing middle housing and affordable units, aligning with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan. The Family Housing Expansion Project utilizes modular construction techniques to build 16 small multifamily buildings. Each building comprises four to six two or three-bedroom units. Of these units, 64 are designated for households earning at or below 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), while the remaining 20 units cater to residents with incomes up to 60 percent of AMI, helping to mitigate displacement. Completion of the buildings is anticipated by late summer 2023.


  • 2023: Construction


  • Promotor: Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA)
  • Architect: DJR
  • Constructor: Frerichs Construction
  • Constructor: RISE Modular


Continent: North America
Country/Region: Minneapolis [Saint Paul], United States of America


Minneapolis has adopted a bold approach to realize its housing objectives under the Minneapolis 2040 plan, envisioning a city with increased affordability and density. An innovative measure taken involves the elimination of single-family zoning, creating opportunities for constructing new affordable housing in areas previously designated for single-family residences. However, the pressing need to address the lengthy waitlist for public or affordable housing prompted swift action. In response, the Family Housing Expansion Project was initiated.

The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) focused its strategy for this project on achieving efficiency and speed while adhering to stringent housing quality standards. To execute this strategy, MPHA collaborated with its procurement office to issue a two-part Request for Proposals (RFP) for both a project design team and a construction team.

Following the submission and evaluation of initial proposals, MPHA selected the three highest-ranking teams, encompassing both traditional and modular construction methods, to develop schematic designs and cost estimates. This process enabled a comparative analysis between modular and traditional construction methods, revealing that modular construction best aligned with the project's scattered-site approach and objectives.

Modular construction was projected to be 33 percent faster than traditional methods, minimizing disruptions for tenants. Additionally, it proved to be 13 to 22 percent less expensive and generated less waste. Given these advantages, MPHA chose a team comprising modular manufacturer RISE Modular, general contractor Frerichs Construction, and architecture and interior design firm DJR. Together, MPHA and its chosen team evaluated 22 potential sites throughout the city for new housing. Factors such as zoning constraints, parking availability, and suitability for modular construction were considered in selecting the most viable sites. Ultimately, 16 sites were chosen for the development of small apartment buildings featuring two or three-bedroom units.

Community engagement was a key aspect of the project, with MPHA actively involving neighborhood groups and residents in the design and construction processes. Meetings were held with residents impacted by the project, allowing them to provide feedback and select interior finishes for the units. Concerns raised by stakeholders, such as parking availability and the impact of construction on existing residents, were addressed by the project team. Measures were taken to maximize off-street parking and provide relocation benefits to temporarily displaced residents. Furthermore, existing tenants were assured the right to return to a new unit once completed.

Of the 84 units in the Family Housing Expansion Project, 16 will be accessible units, and 17 will cater to high-priority homelessness cases with services funded by Hennepin County. Long-term affordability will be ensured through project-based vouchers, with residents paying 30 percent of their incomes for the units.