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A look at what’s behind today's Minnesota business headlines.

Bank of America, other private funders commit to Northside Achievement Zone

Former businesswoman Sondra Samuels, who runs the nonprofit Northside Achievement Zone, has managed to replace expired federal funding with private dollars from stakeholders who want to see more self-sufficient families and a stronger economy in North Minneapolis.
Bank of America Wednesday named “NAZ” a 2017 winner of its “Neighborhood Builder” award for “its work to close the achievement gap in education and end multi-generational 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 post-secondary 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 that is 84-percent 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 and his wife, Connie 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.
“This shift in culture not only benefits families and transforms the community, but just as importantly, helps every child believe he or she can succeed,” Samuels said in a statement. “We are honored to receive the 2017 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders grant, and we plan to leverage this opportunity to advance our mission…”
Since 2013, Bank of America has awarded four other Neighborhood Builders grants in the Twin Cities: City of Lakes Community Land Trust, EMERGE, Second Harvest Heartland, and College Possible.
Bank of America has partnered with nearly 1,000 nonprofits across 45 communities in the United States and invested more than $220 million in communities.

Doran will build housing at site of former Best Buy Southdale store

The shuttered Best Buy store at Southdale Shopping Center-one of the first built in the country in the 1980s-will be demolished this week to make way for construction of a 185-unit luxury-apartment development.

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

“It will offer residents an ideal location and unrivaled amenities,” said Doran Companies 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 draught-resistant vegetation and improved run-off protection, increased thermal building design combined with ultra-efficient appliances will boost energy efficiency. Electric car-charging stations will be available for residents and guests alike. 

“We know that  residents of our existing properties care about their environmental footprint,” said Anne Behrendt, chief operating officer at Doran companies. “We are dedicated to ensuring this apartment community secures LEED certification because it is the right thing to do.” 

KM2 principals Mike Mikan and Kurt Krumenauer purchased the Best Buy property and an adjacent single-family home in 2016. They joined with Doran to develop multi-family housing on the site. ENVi will be constructed by Doran Construction and will be comprised of five levels of studio, alcove, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and two levels of underground and enclosed parking. In addition, the project will include 13 two-level townhome walk-ups along 66th Street and Xerxes Avenue.

Amenities at ENVI will include a “porte cochere” for protected drop off and pick up, an indoor entertainment clubroom with full kitchen and a terrace-level outdoor pool with dining areas, grills, bar, fire features, bocce ball and a putting green. Additional amenities include a business center, state-of-the-art fitness center, spa and sauna and golf simulator.

Southdale has been undergoing a major renovation for several years, as several tenant retailers closed amid less bricks-and-mortar shopping. Life Time Fitness announced a new facility earlier this year.

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 2009.