Riverside Plaza

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Cedar Riverside neighborhood near downtown Minneapolis has been a point of arrival for immigrants since the late 19th century. When the neighborhood declined after World War II, idealistic developers set out to turn 100 acres of low-density properties into a diverse and futuristic community. Fueled by a major HUD initiative, Cedar Square West included 1,300 apartment units and some commercial space. Despite the projects early success, political, financial, and other problems soon led to the project’s decline. In 1988, a group of for‐profit and nonprofit investors led by Sherman Associates bought the property and renamed it "Riverside Plaza." Even though it was only 37 years old, the property’s historical and architectural importance earned it National Register status in 2010, opening the door to major renovation. Sherman Associates used federal and state historic tax credits to help fund a two‐year, $65 million rehabilitation that upgraded all 1,300 residential units. This made it one of the largest HUD‐supported projects in the United States, and the largest affordable housing development in Minnesota. By extending the complex’s life, Riverside Plaza filled a critical need for affordable housing in the Twin Cities and set the bar for rehabilitating large‐scale 1970s developments. Now Riverside Plaza is again a welcoming gateway for new immigrants, showcasing how preservation can transform not only neighborhoods, but lives too.