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Hennepin County set to invest $10 million in businesses, especially in riot-affected areas

Hennepin County is expected to take a big step Tuesday to help riot-damaged Minneapolis commercial corridors following the 2020 police killing of George Floyd.

The county council will vote to use $10 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to invest in 18 redevelopment projects, business accelerators and nonprofit organizations.

The biggest prize – $1.5 million – will benefit the $29 million resurrection of the massive, burnt-out Coliseum building at East Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue, an intersection devastated by arson.

The Colosseum, acquired last year by veteran community developer Seward Redesign, hopes to close financing this fall, said Taylor Smrikarova, director of property development for the organization. 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 the community that’s out there benefits from what’s going on,” Belton said recently.

The $10 million is part of a $19 million community investment plan established by the county council last fall to make longer-term investments to accelerate community development in areas “that have historically seen divestment,” said Patricia Fitzgerald, Hennepin County’s director of community and economy. development.

“These are the same communities hardest hit by the pandemic,” she said. “And the impacts of civil uprisings. There’s also a focus on addressing racial disparities. Many 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 will in turn 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 affordable housing and commercial spaces it is developing at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue from the ashes of the burned-out Wells Fargo Bank branch, with help from Wells and D other communities the partners.

PPL plans to begin construction early next year on the more than $50 million project.

“We are grateful and encouraged by the trust that Wells Fargo, the county and the city have placed in PPL,” CEO Paul Williams said. “The commitments have been a catalyst in securing the additional funding we will need to innovate 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-time and part-time jobs. The money also hopes to help its 32 existing businesses with the money. Already, Midtown has created a space for the Indigenous Food Lab. Next is an $800,000 node for salons and a hair salon. He also plans to renovate his 20,000 square foot basement for more merchant offices and production or fulfillment space.
  • $800,000 to Resolute for the group’s $26 million redevelopment of a dilapidated building at 1300 West Broadway Avenue. The project includes mixed-use housing and renovations of four Black women-owned commercial units in childcare, beauty and salon, boutique bar and cafe, and office space.
  • $750,000 to Entrepreneurship Market Plaza, part of the 80-acre Brooklyn Center opportunity site.
  • $400,000 to the City of Bloomington for a $2.5 million fire hall redevelopment at 2050 E. 86th St. that will include co-working space that will serve 15 businesses with flexible tenancy terms.

The 18 winners were selected from 47 applicants by a multi-agency panel comprised of staff from Hennepin County, Carver County and the Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC).

As part of the same Hennepin County Reinvestment Plan, $9 million in community investment funds were provided last year to the county’s three-year “Elevate Hennepin” small business support program, developed with the Chamber of Minneapolis regional trade.

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