Ward 8 Update: Community Meeting for proposed Food Co-op Store on July 9

News of the 8th Ward from Council Member Elizabeth Glidden

Update:  Community Meeting for proposed Food Co-op Store on July 9

The Seward Co-op and the Carrot Initiative are sponsoring a community meeting about a proposed Food Co-op Store across the street from Sabathani Community Center.

  • Community Meeting Details  
  • Doors Open 6 pm, Meeting Begins 6:30 pm  
  • Sabathani Community Center, 310 E 38th Street 

Seward Co-op:  Proposed second store in South Minneapolis

Seward Co-op has announced a location for a proposed second store, called the “Friendship” store, across the street from Sabathani Community Center (38th Street and 3rd Avenue).

Here are some common questions the Ward 8 office has received about this proposed development and answers as known to date.  Identifying and responding to community questions, ideas and concerns will be an ongoing process for this proposed project.

How did this proposed development come about? 

This is a sale of property between two private parties:  Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church is selling their property; Seward Co-op has negotiated a purchase agreement with Greater Friendship for their property.

Who is in charge of the project?

The Seward Co-op is the developer of this proposed project.

What is the role of the Carrot Initiative?

The Carrot Initiative website, carrotinitiative.com, states it is an autonomous partner in this process and plans to continue to engage and advocate with and on behalf of the community.  The Carrot Initiative is funded through community donations and is not funded by the Seward Co-op.

How far along is this project?  Is it finalized or approved?

This project is not finalized or approved – it is at the very beginning stages and at this point is a proposed project.  To move forward, the Seward Co-op will need approvals of the nearest neighbors on rezoning, and the neighborhood will be asked for input on land use applications and many other issues.  The city will also have a role in evaluating this project, particularly from a zoning perspective and evaluation of the actual development site plan. 

Because the proposed project is in its very early stages, and no applications have yet been filed with the city, city staff do not yet know all of the issues that will need evaluation and input.  In addition, the Seward Co-op will need to complete environmental reviews and finalize financing before it can move forward with this proposed project.

Why doesn’t this project involve a traditional supermarket, like Rainbow or Cub or SuperValue?

This is a private sale of property between Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church and the Seward Co-op.  To date, despite outreach, no supermarkets have indicated interest in opening a store at the location across from Sabathani, or in our general area of South Minneapolis. 

What is the community’s role in a project like this?

The community and the neighborhoods have an important role in this project.  The proposed project will need approvals from the nearest neighbors to rezone the property.  On a private development project like this, zoning issues (including evaluation of parking) are presented to the neighborhoods for input and there will be public hearings.  There will be many other issues for community engagement, as this is a project that impacts jobs, health, food availability, and many others items.

How can my voice be heard?

The conversation about this proposed project is just beginning.  The city will provide support for a neighborhood led process for ongoing engagement that will be an open opportunity for community members and groups to get updates and express concerns, ideas, and questions. Stay tuned for more details, as the neighborhoods establish an ongoing engagement structure.  You can attend your neighborhood organization meetings or send comments to your neighborhood organization.  You can contact Ward 8 Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, at (612) 673-2208 or elizabeth.glidden@minneapolismn.gov.  And, any zoning issues will have many formal opportunities for comment through public hearings and other processes.

What is the neighborhood’s role in a project like this?

The proposed project is within the Bryant neighborhood, and directly across the street from the Central neighborhood.  Neighborhoods are invited to comment on zoning and land use issues, and may have a role in providing comment on a variety of other issues for a large project like this.  The neighborhoods also play a role in helping to facilitate community engagement and getting comments from neighbors on aspects of this project.  Engaging with neighbors can also happen with many community partners including Sabathani, faith organizations, labor and food related organizations, senior groups, youth serving organizations and schools – and many other partners in our community.  

What is the role of the city in a project like this?

The city reviews and evaluates all applications for land use and zoning changes for redevelopment projects.  The city will request input from the neighborhoods as part of its evaluation process, which includes review of variances, parking issues, conditional use permits, and other applications.  The city licenses business like grocery stores, and so will evaluate from this perspective as well.

The city provides support to neighborhoods and the broader community to help with structure and process for community engagement.  The city can assist the neighborhoods in outreach methods, in translation and interpretation services, and in developing relationships with groups outside of the neighborhood organization.  The city is ready to assist the community as next steps are developed cooperatively.

As a project like this may touch expertise in many city departments, other areas in the city are ready to engage.  This includes our economic development division, as there will be construction and career/permanent jobs associated with this project, our health department, which is very engaged in assisting with food access to all communities, and other areas within the city.

Background and history of neighborhood plans for E 38th Street

Through the years, many neighbors have worked on redevelopment plans and economic projects for E 38th Street.  In the mid 1990’s, neighbors worked on a plan for a proposed food co-op at the intersection of 4th Avenue and E 38th Street, organizing political support and funding from multiple neighborhoods and sponsoring a market study.  Identifying opportunities for commercial development and housing along E 38th Street is also a focus of the East 38th Street Economic Enhancement and Urban Design Plan prepared for the Bryant Neighborhood Organization and the Bryant Village Initiative in 2000.  The current adopted plan, the 38th Street and Chicago Avenue Small Area/Corridor Framework Plan, also identifies parcels on 38th Street as potential for mixed use and commercial development opportunities. 

For more information about the proposed development from the Seward Co-op and the Carrot Initiative, here are links to their websites:

http://seward.coop/friendshipsite

http://carrotinitiative.com/friendship-store/