The Coliseum project along with 19 other redevelopment and new construction projects led by small business and nonprofits will receive more than $10 million in grants to help three key corridors in Minneapolis as they continue to rebound from the combined impact of COVID-19 and the destruction following the murder of George Floyd.
These grants were made possible by funding from the Minnesota Department of Employment and the Economic Development (DEED)’s Main Street Economic Revitalization Program, are part of a $96 million public-private campaign of grants and loans led by the Minneapolis Foundation in partnership with LISC Twin Cities, Propel Nonprofits and community-led advisory committees.
“The futures of all these corridors are better because of this partnership,” R.T. Rybak, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation said at a press conference October 20th. “We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.”
An additional $19.5 million in Main Street grants will be awarded in the next two years by the Minneapolis foundation and its partners, and $14 million has been raised through the Minneapolis Foundation’s Restore-Rebuild-Reimagine Fund. The grants support projects around Lake Street, 38th and Chicago Ave in South Minneapolis and West Broadway Ave in North Minneapolis.
” We’re thrilled to see these awards to directly to the entrepreneurs who are building the future of our economy,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “We know the state can’t thrive without Minneapolis thriving.”
Minneapolis is the state’s largest city and a key economic driver that will help the entire state’s economy grow stronger, Grove said. the grants are being matched in funds by the developers. Grove reminded those at the press conference that the package was a compromise – that more funds were originally proposed, as the grant funding only covers 30 percent of project costs in some cases.
“If there’s damage from a flood or drought, the state responds with direct funds, but in this case, they didn’t,” he said. A conservative estimate of the damage on Lake Street comes to $250 million, according to Russ Adams, Manager of Corridor Recovery Initiatives at Lake Street Council.
The $750,000 will support the renovation of the Coliseum Building on Lake Street and 27th Ave. into affordable and market-rate commercial space. “The Main Street Economic Revitalization funding from the State of Minnesota is a crucial piece of funding for Redesign and our partners to be able to begin construction on the Coliseum Building restoration,” Andy Hestness, Executive Director of Redesign Inc. said in a press release.
The future of the Coliseum will support a BIPOC ecosystem and serve community, said Taylor Smrikarova, Director of Property Development at Redesign. The first floor will be retail and restaurant space, with a planned restaurant from the folks behind Du Nord Spirits. The second and third floors will be affordable work space. They are currently in the process of closing on the building and then they will look to begin construction, which will likely be a 12 to 16 month project.
Redesign reached out to the business that had been located in the Coliseum prior to the uprisings of 2020, many of those businesses have opened new locations elsewhere, but some want to return and are working with Redesign. There is no official timeline at this moment.
Grant applications from these corridors will continue to be reviewed and applications for a second round of Main Street Grants will open October 25 with an additional $11.5 million in DEED funding directed toward six other geographic areas hard-hit in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder: East Franklin Ave, Cedar Riverside neighborhood, areas around Penn and Lowry Avenues in North Minneapolis, Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park. All told, the Minneapolis Foundation will distribute $29.5 million in Main Street grants by December 2024.
To learn more about these Main Street grants, check out the Minneapolis Foundation website.