Some hail the $15 million Seward Co-op Friendship Store as a sign that E. 38th Street in south Minneapolis is ripe for renewal. Others see it as a harbinger of gentrification.

Now, a second notable addition is taking shape one block east along the Central neighborhood thoroughfare, which is also home to the Sabathani Community Center: a new building by Larry Tucker, owner of Kente Circle, a mental health business that emphasizes cultural competence in counseling individuals, couples and families.

Tucker is working toward a mid-2017 opening for a new two-story structure at 3800 4th Av. S. that will allow his business to expand. The site is next door to Kente’s current building at 345 E. 38th, which he plans to incorporate into the new unit.

The proposed site, a vacant lot, once housed a grocery store, which was burned down in the late 1990s. Tucker acquired that property and one behind it in a county auction this year.

The construction will be a big step for an 11-year-old business that moved out of nearby Sabathani Community Center only two years earlier.

Tucker said the second floor will house therapists’ offices, while the large ground floor will be available for training or community event rentals. He said he hopes the space will reflect the area’s history as a hub of black-oriented commerce on the South Side.

“This corner has a significant history and people have an emotional attachment to it,” he said.

Meanwhile, a smaller project is taking shape two blocks west on 38th Street, on the other side of the new co-op. Anthony Taylor plans to open a wellness center built around biking and bike sales in a building that was once a filling station and later an ice-cream store.

Taylor told the group he hopes to open in late spring.


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