Hennepin County is expected to take a big step Tuesday in helping Minneapolis commercial corridors damaged by the riots following the 2020 police killing of George Floyd.
The County Board will vote to use $10 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to make investments in 18 redevelopment projects, business accelerators and nonprofits.
The biggest award — $1.5 million — will benefit the $29 million resurrection of the huge, burned-out Coliseum building at E. Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue, an intersection devastated by arson.
The Coliseum, acquired last year by veteran community developer Seward Redesign, hopes to close on the financing this fall, said Taylor Smrikarova, the organization's property development director. Development partners include Chris Montana, owner of one of the few Black-owned distilleries in the United States; architect Alicia Belton and consultant Janice Downing.
"There's an opportunity to do things differently, to make sure that the community that is there is benefiting from what happens," Belton said recently.
The $10 million is part of a $19 million community investment plan set last fall by the County Board to make longer-term investments to accelerate community development and small-business growth in areas "which historically have experienced disinvestment," said Patricia Fitzgerald, Hennepin County's director of community and economic development.
"Those were the same communities hardest hit by the pandemic," she said. "And the impacts of the civil uprisings. There's also a focus on addressing racial disparities. Many of the projects are led by people of color."
The county's $10 million will help leverage a total of $206 million in mostly private funding for 13 affordable commercial and business-incubator projects, from Bloomington to Brooklyn Park. These in turn will support 550 small businesses and support 760 new or retained jobs. The five nonprofit redevelopment projects, valued at $67.7 million, will support 200 jobs, according to the county.
Some of the other recipients:
- $750,000 to Project for Pride in Living (PPL) for 110 units of affordable housing and commercial space it is developing at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue from the ashes of the burned-out Wells Fargo Bank branch office, along with help from Wells Fargo and other community partners.
PPL expects to start construction early next year on the $50 million-plus project.
"We're grateful and encouraged by the faith that Wells Fargo, the county, and city have placed in PPL," said CEO Paul Williams. "The commitments have been catalytic to securing the further finances we'll need to break ground in 2023."
- $450,000 to Midtown Global Market, which is renovating nearly 40,000 square feet of space to benefit 35 neighborhood businesses and create 25 to 40 full- and part-time jobs. The money will also help 32 existing businesses. Already, Midtown has created space for the Indigenous Food Lab. Next is an $800,000 node for salons and a barbershop. It also plans to renovate its 20,000-square-foot basement for more merchant offices and production or fulfillment space.
- $800,000 to Resolute toward the group's $26 million redevelopment of a dilapidated building at 1300 W. Broadway. The project includes mixed-use housing and renovations of four commercial units owned by Black women in day care, beauty supply and salon, boutique bar and coffee shop and office space.
- $750,000 to the Entrepreneurship Market Plaza, part of Brooklyn Center's 80-acre Opportunity Site.
- $400,000 to the city of Bloomington toward a $2.5 million redevelopment of the fire station at 2050 E. 86th St. that will include co-working space serving 15 businesses with flexible lease terms.
The 18 awardees were selected from 47 applicants by a multiagency panel from Hennepin County, Carver County, and Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) staff.
As part of the same Hennepin County reinvestment plan, $9 million in community investment funds went last year to the county's three-year Elevate Business HC small-business support program developed with the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The county earlier dispensed $70 million in small-business grants and $27 million for housing the homeless. In all, the 2021 ARPA bill provided $245.9 million to the county.