A vision for a central gathering place on W. Broadway Avenue in north Minneapolis is slowly coming to fruition.
Food-focused nonprofits and residents along the corridor have banded together to share ideas and hatch a plan for the West Broadway Public Market — a multiuse space that would be similar to Midtown Global Market in south Minneapolis — in a spot that’s now vacant.
“I’m excited. I think North needs that, and needs it because it’s from the community,” said Dani Tietjen, a Folwell resident and community organizer who attended a meeting about the market last week.
West Broadway is home to about three dozen fast food restaurants and just one grocery store. No full-service restaurants are open in the evening, and numerous abandoned storefronts line the street.
Residents are hungry for change, said DeVon Nolen, a lifelong North Sider who is consulting on the public market project. Nolen managed the West Broadway Farmers Market for three years and during that time, she said, the number of customers more than doubled.
Then, in 2015, Nolen traveled to Barcelona, Spain, to learn about the city’s public markets and came back full of ideas for how to implement something similar in her community.
“It really means having a place that my children are familiar with, that I’m familiar with, where we can access healthy food,” she said.
Plans for the West Broadway Public Market are still in early stages, but three community engagement sessions in the past year have given it shape.
Residents want a central gathering place with commercial space where local entrepreneurs can set up shop, event space to support W. Broadway’s arts community, a full-service restaurant and activities for youth.
Renderings created in collaboration with University of Minnesota students, made public at the Tuesday meeting, also showed residential space. The four-story building would be between N. Irving and N. Girard avenues.
The next steps, Nolen said, are identifying new nonprofit and business partners, figuring out financing options and issuing a request for proposals through the city.
The request for proposals could go out by the end of the year, she said.