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Letter: There's little that's 'affordable' in old hospital proposal

To the editor: 

When I asked Pablo Murillo if there would be Section 8 housing in his proposed project at 1407 W. Fourth, he answered that he is responsible to show a profit to the investors and that would include Section 8 housing if needed to fill the building.

His proposal states, "general occupancy, market rate with a minimum of 40% of the units meeting the definition of 'affordable.' The proposed building is offering 3 bedrooms at $1,166, 2 bed/2 bath at $1,050, 2 bed/1 bath at $1,050, 1 bed/den/1 bath at $933, 1 bed/1 bath at $933 and studio at $816." This comes directly from the letter the developer sent to the city.

Do the math. Nicholas Abney (RE, June 29) stated that a Minnesotan must earn $39,141 ($18.82/hour) to afford a $979 fair market two-bedroom apartment.

But $979 would not get you a two-bedroom apartment in this building. How affordable is that?

According to the Red Wing 2040 Community Plan (page 161), "$704 is the median cost of monthly RW rent."

Mr. Murillo's lowest rent, a studio apartment, is $816. How affordable is that?

READ MORE: Old St. John's Hospital

For those readers who think we are getting needed affordable housing in Red Wing, do the math. What part of his 102-unit building do you find affordable? This is not "affordable" by Minnesota median standards and definitely not by Red Wing median standards. There's no way it would be affordable to low-income citizens.

Pablo's one-bedrooms rent for $933. He states that rent for a one-bedroom at Rivers Ridge (near Walmart) is $1,050. Subtract $100 to compare, since Rivers Ridge offers underground heated parking and Pablo will not be offering any kind of garage. For comparison purposes, that would bring the Rivers Ridge rent to $950. The River Ridge includes a pool and other amenities. Pablo's "affordable" rent in the old hospital would be $17 less.

Even by his own figures, he is charging nearly 40% more for his "affordable" one-bedroom apartment than he finds another large scale housing provider in Red Wing charging for a one-bedroom apartment that includes a garage and patio.

Come to the planning meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, at City Hall to hear the rest of the story.

Becky Kirtz

Red Wing

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