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Building a Village: How We Partnered with Avivo to Help Minnesota Homeless

Written by Catie Wheeler
Avivo Village construction
Avivo Indoor Villages: Under Construction

You’ve probably heard the ancient African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” But the question is, what does it take to raise a village?

That was the exact question we had to ask ourselves when we agreed to help construct the Avivo Village.

What is the Avivo Village?

The Avivo Village is an indoor community of 100 secure and private dwellings, or “tiny houses,” created to provide transitional housing to Minneapolis and Hennepin County residents currently experiencing homelessness.

According to Avivo, the organization spearheading the project, the goal is to provide “a dignified, safe, and COVID-aware alternative to outdoor encampments.”

Located inside a warehouse in the North Loop Neighborhood of Minneapolis, the Avivo Village will house service providers, case managers, and security services in addition to the 100 residents.

The hope is that this community will offer the support these people need to overcome adversity, obtain new employment, and be successful in finding permanent housing.

Learn more about this project at Avivo’s website.

How did the Avivo Village project come to life?

From the very beginning, the ultimate goal of the Avivo Village project was to have residents moved in by the end of 2020. Due to the lengthy approval processes and fundraising stages, everything about the construction had to be significantly expedited to meet that goal.

That meant the project needed the right oversight to meet those tight deadlines. Fortunately, under the experienced leadership of Greiner Project Manager Tony Ghilani and Senior Superintendent Paul Kreuzfeldt, we were able to do just that!

Even though it is still under construction, the first 16 residents were allowed to move in on December 30, 2020. And thanks to Avivo, a few of those residents have already found a more permanent home!

As of now, the plan is to fully open the Avivo Village in March of 2021.

Our core values are at the heart of this project

As we reflected on our involvement with the Avivo Village, one thing that became very evident was that Greiner’s core company values were behind every decision we made and every single stage of the project.

We put the customer first

From day one, the Greiner team needed to be incredibly flexible to adapt to the heavily expedited pre-construction process. Daily adjustments to the scope of work were required to keep everything moving along. This involved constant problem solving and the need to double our carpentry and sheetrock teams to hit our ever-changing deadlines.

We say it like it is

When Avivo was looking for a construction partner, they knew they needed an experienced team who understood the design intent and what they were trying to accomplish. Greiner came in right away with clear expectations, transparent communication, and fresh ideas. Together with a talented team of subcontractors, we set to work on the fast-paced interior buildouts and modifications.

We don’t quit

Many other contractors would have demobilized when faced with the roadblocks we were up against, but that’s not how we operate at Greiner. Our project team buckled down and kept moving forward because they were passionate about the cause and believed in what our client was trying to do.

We understand the big picture

To avoid a procurement or manpower issue on any project, a thorough analysis is needed to confirm the best paths for the client. At Greiner, we always ask, “What will actually move up the end date?” This allows us to be as efficient as possible when it comes to deliveries, budgets, and staffing, which is all in our client’s best interest.

We care

When your clients have committed their lives to solving homelessness, that positivity and warmth is absolutely infectious to everyone around. It makes it much easier to go above and beyond and put in the long hours when you truly believe in the cause.

“We are the best at our profession to make sure that they can be the best at theirs. This project has moved fast, and it is all for a great cause. Though it has also given me a few pigment-free hairs.”

Tony Ghilani, Project Manager at Greiner

Construct your next passion project with Greiner

The Avivo Village project would have never been the success it was without the wonderful teams at JLL, Avivo, and AWH, not to mention all of the hard work put in by our dedicated subcontractors. For that, we thank you!

Is your organization looking to make a positive change in your community? Contact us today to discuss how we can help.