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Posted on: February 22, 2024

New Affordable Housing 'Like Living in the White House'

Laurie Keister stands on balcony with new Forty-Forty flats apartment complex in background

On the day Forty-Forty Flats opened in late October, Laurie Keister was the very first tenant as she moved into a fourth-floor end unit. 

“It has a walk-in closet that’s huge,” she said. “And the open kitchen style is great. It has lots of windows. I have six of them across the side, and they are all Andersen windows. It’s like living in the White House to me.”

Forty-Forty Flats, at 4040 W. 70th St., is the first affordable housing development fully dedicated to seniors that’s been built in Edina since 1991. More than 1,600 single-family homes have been built in Edina since 1993 (that’s as far back as the City’s digital system data goes), yet these are the first 118 affordable units built just for seniors in that time. 

And they are much needed. More than a third of Edina’s population is age 55 or older, according to the U.S. Census. 

“Affordable senior housing is a need, and it wasn’t happening organically, so we needed to make it happen,” said Affordable Housing Development Manager Stephanie Hawkinson. Even with Forty-Forty Flats, only 353 affordable units have been approved out of a City goal of 1,804 units by 2030. 

Following the lead of other nearby cities, Edina lent the Edina Housing Foundation the money to compete for the land on the open market. To ensure long-term affordability, the Foundation retained the land title. Lupe Development Partners, experts in affordable housing, and Ecumen, specialists in senior housing, formed a partnership to build attractive housing with modern amenities and features for people to age in place. Forty-Forty Flats has everything from a community room and rooftop patio to resident gardens and underground parking. Ecumen staff are on hand to assist residents. 

“People are so excited to have a community like this in the heart of Edina,” said Jen Massa, Housing Manager for Ecumen, “and we just want to make it easy for them to create a home here.” 

Rents range from $905 for a studio to $1,751 for the larger two-bedroom units. Seniors with 30 to 80 percent of the Hennepin County Area Median Income qualify. That’s currently between $27,580 and $79,520 a year. The highest Social Security benefits are less than that maximum. 

Forty-Forty Flats is drawing interest from a variety of seniors, according to Massa. Some are downsizing from homes yet want to stay in the community. Some want to move closer to their children and grandchildren or are looking for senior-focused housing. Others, like Keister, want to live near their medical services. 

“I chose it because I’m moving closer to my friends, my physicians and my medical team. It’s better for my quality of health,” Keister said. “I like that I can quickly be at my job less than five miles away. And I like to volunteer at VEAP, and it’s close by.” 

She’s hoping to meet the other residents, make new friends and explore more of this section of Edina. 

“Edina is the place to be,” Keister said. 

See the Forty-Forty Flats website to learn more about it. For other affordable housing rental options in Edina, see the Affordable Housing Map.

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