neighborhood development

NAZ lines up private money as fed aid ends

Former businesswoman Sondra Samuels, who runs the nonprofit Northside Achievement Zone, has replaced expired federal funding with private stakeholders who want to see more self-sufficient families and a stronger economy in north Minneapolis.

Bank of America on Wednesday named NAZ a 2017 winner of its “Neighborhood Builder” award for “its work to close the achievement gap in education and end multigenerational poverty in north Minneapolis.” The award includes $200,000 and other assistance.

“Northside Achievement Zone is making a huge difference … by creating an environment where the entire family is supported,” said Katie Simpson, Bank of America’s Minneapolis-St. Paul market president. “We are really pleased to be able to support their work with this grant.”

NAZ was formed several years ago to find solutions to the “achievement gap and end generational poverty in north Minneapolis,” disproportionately populated by low-income African-American families.

It works with 40-plus partner agencies to support families through early-childhood and parenting education, job training, housing and other family-stability measures designed to help the children flourish, get through high school and go to college or other postsecondary training, as the family achieves greater self-sufficiency.

A spokeswoman for Samuels said an original $5 million federal grant that ran for five years is being replaced in an annual budget of $11.6 million for 2018 — a budget that is 84 percent funded by private stakeholders. Ballmer Group, General Mills, the Edward J. Phillips Family Foundation, the Pohlad Family Foundation and Target Corp. all have invested at least $1 million in NAZ.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last summer committed a five-year, $10 million grant to continue the work of NAZ to help 1,000 impoverished families upgrade skills, increase household income and get their kids through school.

Neal St. Anthony

Southdale renewal

Doran builds upscale apartments in Edina

The shuttered Best Buy store at Southdale Center ­— one of the first built in the country in the 1980s — is being demolished to make way for construction of a 185-unit luxury-apartment development.

The $48 million project at 66th Street and York Avenue in Edina is a joint venture between Bloomington-based Doran Cos. and KM2 Development of Minneapolis.

“It will offer residents an ideal location and unrivaled amenities,” said Doran owner Kelly Doran. “The architectural design will also create a dramatic new entryway into Edina.”

Best Buy closed the Southdale store in 2012.

The eco-friendly design of the Doran project will reduce the project’s environmental footprint. A white roof will reduce the “heat island”; native plantings will ensure drought-resistant vegetation and improved runoff protection; and increased thermal building design combined with ultraefficient appliances will boost energy efficiency.

Electric car-charging stations will be available for residents and guests.

“We know that residents of our properties care about their environmental footprint,” said Anne Behrendt, chief operating officer at Doran.

Southdale has been undergoing a major renovation for several years as several tenant retailers closed amid less brick-and-mortar shopping. Life Time announced a new fitness facility earlier this year. And other housing has been developed on the site.

Doran, one of the busiest developer-contractors since the Great Recession, has completed about 30 housing projects around the University of Minnesota, downtown and in the suburbs since the recession slowdown. The projects total more than $1 billion.

Neal St. Anthony

financial services

Minnesota native selected to lead EY division

A native of Avon in central Minnesota has been named to lead the Americas division of global accounting and advisory services giant EY.

Kelly Grier, 48, who now runs EY’s 15-state central region from Chicago, will move to New York City next year to run the Americas business that covers 71,500 EY employees in 31 countries, including the United States, who generate $14.5 billion in annual revenue.

Grier will succeed Steve Howe, who has served as EY managing partner for the Americas since 2006.

“[Grier has] served many of the largest EY audit and advisory clients, helping them to transform and grow,” EY Global CEO Mark Weinberger said in a news release. “Kelly also brings global experience … and held a variety of roles, including Chicago office managing partner.”

Grier grew up in Stearns County and earned a degree in accounting from St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame in Indiana.

“It is an exciting time to lead an innovative, dynamic and fast-paced organization with an unrelenting focus on helping clients solve their toughest challenges and realize their greatest ambitions,” Grier said in a prepared statement.

Grier assumes the new post next July. She has overseen the 635-employee Minneapolis office from Chicago.

Neal St. Anthony