GrowingMinneapolis: News from City of Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development

Growing MPLS

September 2015

Upcoming Events

Northside Community Job & Resource Fair

Wednesday, September 16 3pm-7pm
Minneapolis North WorkForce Center
1200 Plymouth Avenue North Minneapolis, MN  55411
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Creating Community

Wednesday, September 16 5:30pm-8pm
Public Functionary
1400 12th Avenue Northeast
Minneapolis, MN 55413

$10 per person

A dynamic event featuring community-builders and creative producers from fine art, technology, design and nonprofits.
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Purchase a Ticket

Free IT Ready Training – Cedar Riverside

3 month program with a paid 6 month internship - earn up to $15/hr. Learn more at an IT Ready Info Session:

Thursdays, September 17 or 24
Brian Coyle Center, Computer Lab
420 15th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55454

Call Mohamed Ali at EMERGE at 612-236-0465.
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September 19 & 20
Downtown Minneapolis

EXPLORE DOWNTOWN LIVING offers an opportunity to see 23 residency communities in five downtown neighborhood up close. Event is free.
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Registration Link

Open Streets: Nicollet

Sunday, September 20
Nicollet Avenue Minneapolis
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Open Streets: Lowry

Saturday, September 26
Lowry Avenue Minneapolis
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In the News

Innovations Coming to Green Line Corridor Could Set National Standard for City Building

The Prospect North Partnership has a new vision for the densely populated, already busy Green Line corridor between the University of Minnesota and Highway 280. This new vision could support anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 jobs, and grow the local tax base from $2 or $3 million to $25 million annually – a huge boon for local governments. Read More

Women Drive Success of Somali Mall in Minneapolis

Women who own businesses are driving the growth of Karmel Square at the corner of Pillsbury Avenue and Lake Street. The mall is probably the largest collection of Somali businesses in the US. Inside are 175 clothing shops, hair salons, henna shops, restaurants and even a mosque. All but 25 are owned by women. Read More

Pro-Pollinator Community in Minneapolis

As Minneapolis is increasing public awareness about the plight of pollinators, it has mobilized beekeepers and gardeners, social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, educational institutions and government representatives to create new initiatives on behalf of bees and butterflies.
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New & Expanding Businesses





Coworking Space

Economic Gardening Program

The Economic Gardening program, brought to you by Hennepin County, is a holistic program that’s geared to arm second-stagers with the right information, resources, and referrals so they can make better decisions and grow their businesses faster.

Eligible businesses must be privately held, have 10-99 employees, have revenue between $1-$50 million, ready to transition from small to large (past start-up up but not matured), and want growth.

Applications are due September 30. To learn more, attend an information session or email Patrick Connoy or call

Information Sessions:

Monday, September 14, 12pm
Nokomis Library, Meeting Room
5100 34th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55417

Monday, September 14, 3pm
Sumner Library, Cargill Room
611 Van White Memorial Boulevard
Minneapolis, MN 55411
See Flyer
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Minneapolis Based Ability Network Inc. Expands with Help from DEED’s Job Creation Fund

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) newest program, the Job Creation Fund (JCF), encourages job creation and capital investment in new and expanding businesses. The program provides job creation awards of up to $500,000 and capital investment rebates of up to $500,000 for qualifying businesses.

The Minneapolis-based health care technology company, Ability Network Inc. (formerly known as VisionShare), will be expanding its workforce by planning to invest $518,149 and adding an additional 167 employees. ABILITY currently employs 118 at its Minneapolis headquarters. With support from DEED, ABILITY has been approved a $500,000 JCF. The new jobs will pay an average wage of $33.16 an hour.  
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Contact CPED

612-673-5001 or 311
Staff Directory 

Crown Roller Mill
Executive Administration
105 Fifth Avenue South 
Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Public Service Center
Development Review
Customer Service Center
250 South Fourth Street
Room 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Map and Parking

City Hall
Business Licensing
350 South 5th Street
Room 1C
Minneapolis, MN 55415

70 Percent of Pillsbury A-Mill Artist Apartments to be Hydropowered

A Mill Collage
Top and Bottom Right: Weis builders survey the tunnels located underneath the Pillsbury A-Mill; Bottom Left: Outside of A-Mill under construction.

Built in 1881, the historic Pillsbury A-Mill was once the largest flour mill in the world. It was in operation until 2003. Now, it is one of three Minneapolis structures designated as a National Historic Landmark and is undergoing a massive redevelopment into 251, affordable-housing artist lofts by Dominium, a Minnesota based real estate owner and developer.

Currently, Dominium is working on making the building once again hydropowered (the conversion of water into energy). The A-Mill’s location next to St. Anthony Falls, in addition to an 16- by 25-foot preexisting historic tunnel system (originally used to convert river water flowing through the system to mechanical power for milling flour inside the building) makes it ideal for hydropower. The City helped this project by conducting a study helping inform Dominium of the feasibility of using the tunnel system for implementing hydropower in the A-Mill. A five-foot diameter pipe from the Mississippi River located above the falls will transfer water through a tunnel under Main Street to a drop shaft, where it will drop into a turbine spinning at 600 rotations a minute generating 600 kilowatts of energy. The water will be emptied out below the falls without any endangerment to wildlife and/or the aesthetic appearance of the falls. It is expected to generate clean, renewable and efficient energy to meet about 70% of the property’s electrical needs and will be completed by December. In addition, Dominium also will use efficient hydrothermal energy from the water flowing through the tunnel system for heating and cooling the building.

So the public can enjoy the historic tunnel system, Dominium is in talks with the Mill City Museum to allow them to have guided tours and an interpretive space inside the basement and tunnel of the A-Mill. In addition, Dominium worked closely with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service, the State Historic Preservation Office, the City of Minneapolis and Xcel Energy throughout the planning and design of the project.

Already 100 percent leased, a grand opening celebration for the A-Mill is being planned for late 2015 or early 2016. 

Greenway Heights Celebrates Opening of Affordable Large Family Housing on the Midtown Greenway

Greenway Heights Collage
Top: New Greenway Heights apartments located on the Midtown Greenway with 2-, 3-, and 4-bedroom units; Bottom Left: Family oriented community spaces: Bottom Right: mail area. (Photos by Lisa Ventinque)

On September 10th, Greenway Heights hosted a celebratory open house. Located at 2845 Bloomington Avenue South in Minneapolis, Greenway Heights is an affordable housing apartment building for larger families and contains 42 two to four bedroom apartment units on the Midtown Greenway.  The open house included tours of the units and offered attendees the opportunity to interact with the project management team, City leaders, and building residents.

Greenway Heights was co-developed by PRG and Phoenix Development and is the product of years of community planning efforts by the East Phillips Improvement Coalition (EPIC), which saw the need for affordable larger family units in the neighborhood. With rents ranging from $840-$1,087 and amenities that include balconies, a youth activity center, a fitness room, an indoor play area, and a community room, the apartments were in extremely high demand.

"Phoenix developed both this affordable project and a market rate project on the Greenway. The opportunity to create housing along the Greenway affordable to large working class families is especially satisfying," said Loren Brueggemann, principal Phoenix Development Company.

Sources of funding for Greenway Heights include the City of Minneapolis, City Real Estate Advisors, Dougherty & Company LLC, the East Phillips Improvement Coalition, the Family Housing Fund, Hennepin County, the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Metropolitan Council, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, and U.S. Bank.

Business Profile: Peace Coffee

Peace Coffee
Images provided by Peace Coffee

Peace Coffee began in 1996, roasting and distributing fair-trade, organic coffee to local Natural Food Co-ops and specialty grocers like Lund’s and Kowalski’s. It wasn’t until 2010 that Peace Coffee opened its first retail store in the Longfellow neighborhood, and since then has opened locations in the Cappella Tower in downtown Minneapolis and in Richfield. The company is also committed to environmental preservation, using compostable products whenever possible and delivering coffee beans by bike across the Twin Cities year round!

Owned by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), a nonprofit, Peace Coffee’s core mission is to benefit small coffee farmers.  With a social mission at heart, the company believes in forming strong relationships with the farmers they source from in Central and South America, Ethiopia, Sumatra, and Laos. Peace Coffee also places a strong importance on community building in Minneapolis and is involved with Open Streets; farmers markets throughout the city; and the arts, including the Minneapolis Fringe Festival, In the Heart of the Beast, and Pillsbury House Theatre.

Peace Coffee employs 75 people and distributes to over 1000 retailers nationwide, from small coffee shops to large stores such as Target and Whole Foods. The growing interest in coffee keeps Peace Coffee on its toes, always coming out with new seasonal drinks and roasts to keep things interesting. This fall, Peace Coffee has a “Nocturnal Brew,” a dark roast with beans sourced from Ethiopia and southern Laos. At the coffee shops they are offering a seasonally appropriate Harvest Moon Latte, made with organic pumpkins from Big River Farms located at Marine on St. Croix in Minnesota. 

PRIME Digital Academy Graduates its first Co-hort

Founded by the creators of The Nerdery in 2015, PRIME Digital Academy is an intensive program that teaches students the fundamentals of computer programming in just 18 weeks. PRIME’s students come from diverse backgrounds and varying levels of technical experience (including those with zero programming experience), making it an ideal option for those seeking a career in computer programming. 

Chelsea Photo

For Chelsea Okey, a PRIME Graduate, army veteran, and graduate of the University of Minnesota, PRIME helped launch her career as a software developer. After debating going back to school for Computer Science, Chelsea chose PRIME because its short length, affordability and the relevant skill set the program teaches. Now, Chelsea is a software developer at SmartThings, and accredits PRIME for preparing her for the fast pace of the tech industry and giving her a foot in the door for networking.

While technology is an evolving industry, Chelsea states that more diversity is necessary to bring new ideas, building stronger end-products. One PRIME’s greatest benefit is the opportunity it gives those from non-technology backgrounds a chance to be a part of the field.

The City of Minneapolis and Mayor's Office is a strong supporter and partner of PRIME.  In March, Minneapolis along with 20+ other cities was officially named a TechHire city by the President of the United States.  As part of this initiative, the City's employment and Training Division  is offering scholarships for future PRIME students who qualify as low-income.  Students simply need to fill out the application and request scholarship assistance.  If they qualify, they will be connected through PRIME

For more information or to apply for PRIME, you can contact the City or visit the PRIME website.

Mayor Hodges, City Bring Tech Training Opportunity to Cedar Riverside Neighborhood

Mayor Betsy Hodges and the City of Minneapolis in partnership with EMERGE and Creating IT Futures Foundation have announced the launch of a free 10 week IT-Ready career certification program geared specifically for young adults aged 18-24 in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood.

The IT career training is part of the Mayor and City’s TechHire initiative which aims to increase the number of women and people of color working in the tech sector by providing nontraditional, accelerated technology training and support.

“With an 8.36% increase in tech job employment gains Minnesota is leading the nation according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges.  “For Minneapolis to remain competitive we need to make sure our workforce supply matches the needs of employers and engages the genius of our diverse population.”

Information sessions and application help for the program are available September 17, and September 24 from 12:00-2:30 p.m. at the Brian Coyle Community Center (420 15th Avenue South, Minneapolis).

Find more information and an application here.

The Cedar Riverside IT-Ready program is funded by the City of Minneapolis, Creating IT Futures Foundation, and the Pohlad Family Foundation.

Minneapolis on America’s Top 10 Most Educated Cities

WalletHub’s “2015’s Most and Least Educated Cities” analysis compared 150 U.S. metropolitan areas using nine metrics, including percentage of high school diploma holders and highest average quality of top universities, to see where well-educated citizens flock to – and avoid.

Minneapolis is named the ninth most educated city with Ann Arbor, Michigan holding the crown at first.

America’s Top Ten Most Educated Cities:

  1. Ann Arbor, MI
  2. Washington, D.C
  3. Madison, WI
  4. Provo, UT
  5. Colorado Springs, CO
  6. Seattle, WA
  7. Boston, MA
  8. Lansing, MI
  9. Minneapolis, MN
  10. Raleigh, NC

Commons at Penn Avenue Hosts Sneak Peek Tour

Commons at Penn Photo Collage
Top: Rendering for Commons at Penn; Bottom Left: Guests enjoy sneak peak reception; Bottom Middle: Devean George of Building Blocks; Bottom Right: City of Minneapolis Council Member Blong Yang

On September 10, the Commons at Penn Avenue, located at 2205 Golden Valley Road in North Minneapolis, hosted a sneak peek hard hat tour showcasing the 47-unit affordable apartment development. The apartments are the first project by local non-profit, Building Blocks. Founded in 2011 by Minneapolis native and former professional basketball player Devean George, Building Blocks empowers youth and families through life skills mentoring and development of affordable housing.

The development is comprised of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units featuring modern appliances and spacious floor plans. Amenities include bike storage, a fitness center, laundry facilities, a picnic area, and an outdoor playground. In addition, Wirth Co-op will be anchoring the first floor and is expected to open in early 2016. Funding for Commons at Penn came from Minnesota Equity Fund/Great Lakes Capital, City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Metropolitan Council, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, Pohlad Family Foundation, Family Housing Fun, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and Sunrise Bank.

An interest list is currently being formed and new residents are expected to start moving in mid-December 2015. For additional leasing information, click here

Catch Final Two Cinema in the Cemetery Films this Fall

Cinema in the Cemetery Images
Images provided by Friends of the Cemetery

Cinema in the Cemetery will feature two spooky films this fall to provide family fun in the spirit of Halloween:

Saturday, September 26, 8pm
Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery
2945 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55407

Advance (through September 19): $5 ($6.17 with service fee)
General (September 20-26): $8 ($9.27 with service fee)
Purchase a Ticket

Hӓxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages
Saturday, October 3, 8pm
Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery
2945 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55407 

General: $10 ($11.34 with service fee)
Purchase a Ticket

If there is inclement weather, the events will be rescheduled for October 3rd (Poltergeist) and October 10th (Hӓxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages).
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