Community development in action: Revitalizing the old into new

Learn how a Twin Cities real estate developer revitalized older structures.

Tags: Community
Published: June 19, 2019

Dominium’s managing partner, Paul Sween, says it’s difficult to recall every Dominium project made possible by investment from the U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC). The relationship began in the mid-1990s.

 

However, one project Sween will never forget is the rehabilitation of the Arcade Building, located in the middle of downtown Saint Louis, Missouri, in the central business district. Built in 1907, the Arcade was considered the world’s tallest reinforced concrete building. The massive structure had been vacant for two decades and was targeted for demolition.

 

Yet, community members viewed the Arcade as an opportunity – not only to save a part of Saint Louis history, but also as a local economic engine that could bring affordable housing to the community.

 

“We were so motivated to transform the largest underutilized building in Saint Louis, and the fact that we were going to tackle this project with a great customer like Dominium made it even better,” says Steve Kramer, senior vice president of new markets and historic tax credits at USBCDC.

 

The Arcade was considered a challenging project due to its size, deteriorating condition and the amount of investment required to make the renovation a reality. USBCDC invested $85 million of the total $118 million renovation cost, with a combination of lending, low income housing and new markets tax credits, as well as federal and state historic tax credits.

 

“Projects like Arcade require a sophisticated team of experienced people. USBCDC understands the complexity of these deals and was a critical part of our team on this complex project,” says Jeff Huggett, vice president at Dominium.

 

Completed in 2015, the Arcade is now a multipurpose historic building that offers 282 housing units (with 70% designated as affordable), commercial space and an art gallery. The building is also the home to the downtown campus of Webster University.

 

While USBCDC and Dominium were involved in the Arcade renovation, they also partnered on two additional projects. The A-Mill Artist Lofts and Schmidt Artist Lofts brought affordable housing units and artistic spaces to communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.

 

“U.S. Bank is a responsible member of the affordable housing sector and they care about the communities they serve, and the housing they help to create,” says Sween.

 

USBCDC and Dominium have completed almost 30 projects together.

 

“USBCDC understands our business and has the knowledge and expertise to manage even the most complicated projects,” says Mark Moorhouse, partner and senior vice president of development at Dominium. “They are not just a source of capital, but a trusted partner.”

 

Click here to learn more about the mission of USBCDC and read other stories about community development financing.