ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Minnesota is ready to turn army barracks into apartments at historic Fort Snelling.
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said 26 buildings on the Fort’s upper post will be renovated into affordable housing.
The state chose Minneapolis developer Dominium as their partner in the $100 million project.
On the same grounds where thousands of U.S. soldiers once trained and processed for war, hundreds of working men and women will soon live, play and raise families.
Smith said the rehabilitation will involve historic buildings built after the original fort.
“This place which holds such a central location in Minnesota’s history is now going to be transformed into an important part of Minnesota’s future as a home for people who need a place to live,” she said.
The renovations are taking place on the fort’s upper post, which housed soldiers during the Spanish-American war, a language school during World War One, and served as a processing center during both world wars.
Included in the rehabilitation will be the massive soldier’s barracks, officer’s quarters and even the former “clock tower building,” the first structure built at the fort’s upper post, in 1881.
The DNR is partnering with Dominium, which recently renovated St. Paul’s Schmidt Brewery.
“Thousands of people have connections to this very special place in Minnesota,” said Erika Rivers, the DNR’s Director of Parks and Trails. “[It’s] a very special place for our nation.”
Larry Peterson is the Fort Snelling State Park manager. He lights up when talking about the history of the fort.
“When people were either enlisted or drafted into one of the wars, you’d come here, you’d get your uniforms, you’d get a medical exam, you’d march around, you’d get a few basic skills and then you’d be shipped off to basic training,” he said.
The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and turned over to the DNR in 1971.
The affordable housing will be open to families with a combined household income of less than $60,000 per year.
State officials hope to have the project open and ready for tenants in 2018.