Formerly an office building, The Commerce Building recently underwent a $10.4 million phase I renovation to create the first 55 of an eventual 100 apartment homes. The homes are designated for people in the workforce who make 60 percent or less of the area median income.
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If you have been following stories about mortgage lending over the last couple of years, Kerrilynn’s story is one that’s all too familiar: “I couldn’t afford my home anymore,” she says simply. She had to refinance her southern Minnesota home after a divorce, and when mortgage rates skyrocketed she was forced to sell—a process that took an excruciating two years and culminated in a financial loss of tens of thousands of dollars.
Once her house finally sold, Kerrilynn contemplated moving into a suburban townhome near the office where she works full-time . . . but starting a new life, she decided, meant a more drastic change of scenery. “I wanted to do something completely different,” she says, “so that I could be excited about starting over rather than feeling like it was something I had been forced into.” Urged on by her younger daughter Anna, a college student in Duluth, Kerrilynn began to investigate Twin Cities options. When she came across an online listing for The Commerce Building in downtown St. Paul, she knew she had found something special.
Formerly an office building, The Commerce Building recently underwent a $10.4 million phase I renovation to create the first 55 of an eventual 100 apartment homes. The homes are designated for people in the workforce who make 60 percent or less of the area median income (six units are reserved for people who have experienced long-term homelessness). “I’m an interior designer, so the aesthetics of where I live are important to me,” Kerrilynn explains. “When I saw the building and all the historic elements that the renovation had preserved - the high ceilings, the terrazzo floors - I knew it was a much better fit for me than new construction that doesn’t have as much character.”
Vibrant and affordable
Kerrilynn loves being able to walk and bike to the theaters, shopping and dining in her new neighborhood. She’s indulging her love of gardening by volunteering to help tend the garden at a downtown elementary school. And while she still misses her old life sometimes, she says she is grateful for the chance to start over in an affordable new place that’s all her own.