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

Growing MPLS

May 2016

CPED's Mission: Grow a vibrant, livable, safely built city for everyone. 


Minneapolis Bike Week

May 16 to May 22
Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis Bike Week is a series of events and activities promoting all types of bicycling.
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Little Free Library Festival

Saturday, May 21, 10am-4pm
Minnehaha Park
4801 South Minnehaha Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55417

Celebrate the joys of sharing books and reading with a colorful day of Library-building, storytelling, performance, poetry, and more!
Registration Link
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Explore Downtown Living

Saturday, May 21, 10am-5pm
Downtown Minneapolis

Explore Downtown Living is a free event that lets you tour Downtown Minneapolis and all it has to offer at your own pace. Visit approximately 30 residential communities while enjoying deals and specials from local businesses throughout.
See Flyer
Registration Link
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21st Annual

Friday, May 20, 5pm-10pm
Saturday, May 21, Noon-8pm
Sunday, May 22, Noon-5pm
Northeast Minneapolis

Art-A-Whirl is an open studio tour in Northeast Minneapolis. It’s a great opportunity to tour private artist studios and galleries, connect with the artists, and purchase original artwork. Event is free.
View Tour Map
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This is Our City Opening Reception

Thursday, May 26, 5pm-7pm
Intermediate Arts
2882 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408

This Is Our City is a new interactive visual art exhibition highlighting the recent work of the innovative Creative CityMaking Minneapolis artist-City collaborations. Event is free.
Registration Link
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New U.S. Bank Stadium will be Hosting Free Tours

If getting an early peek at the new U.S. Bank Stadium is a summer goal, it's time to schedule because the dates are set for free public tours. The open house is planned for July 23 and 24. Tickets will be free, but they are not available yet. The open house will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
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Minneapolis Chef Paul Berglund, Winner of James Beard Foundation “Best Chef” in the Midwest

Paul Berglund, chef at The Bachelor Farmer, has been named Top Chef Midwest by the prestigious James Beard Foundation.
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Metropolitan Economic Development Association Receives $1.5 Million from Federal Government

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has announced $1.5 million in additional funding to continue support for the MBDA Business Center in downtown Minneapolis. The business center is operated by the nonprofit Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA), which is the grant recipient. The program calls for the feds to provide $302,400 annually over a five-year period to MEDA.
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Why big Broadway shows are a big deal for Minneapolis

“The Book of Mormon” showing at the Orpheum for a three-week run will draw roughly 20,000 patrons a week to downtown Minneapolis. While they are a money making machine, they also bring vitality to Minneapolis’ marquee entertainment district, and underscore how the arts can serve as engines of civic growth.
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New & Expanding Businesses






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

Business Profile: Smoke in the Pit

Smoke in the Pit Collage
Left: Dwight Alexander, Smoke in the Pit co-owner; Right (top to bottom): Smoke in the Pit famous Mac and Cheese and Brisket and Wings. (Photo Credit: Smoke in the Pit)

In 1998, husband-wife duo Dwight and Ivy Alexander first opened doors to their barbeque restaurant, Smoke in the Pit. Famous for their smoked ribs and wings, the restaurant was a hit in the community. Unfortunately, after just two years in business, the Alexanders lost the lease to their restaurant space and decided to close.

This didn’t curb the Alexanders' interest in making delicious barbeque. While Dwight was running a catering business on the side, he built up a large enough clientele that made the Alexanders reconsider going back into the restaurant business. Ivy began researching small business funding programs and wrote a new-and-improved business plan for Smoke in the Pit. They discovered the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD) program, Open to Business, which connected them to Two percent loans from MCCD and the City’s department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED). This assistance allowed the couple to reopen Smoke in the Pit in April 2013 on 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.

Smoke in the Pit hit yet another road bump when the owner of their new building put it up for sale. This time around, MCCD and CPED stepped in to jointly fund the real estate purchase, which closed in March of 2016. With the stability of owning the restaurant space, the Alexanders plan to bottle and sell their barbeque sauce, reestablish their catering business and potentially add a second location. 

Celebrate National Historic Preservation Month by Entering the #Mplspreservation Photo Contest


May is National Historic Preservation Month! The City of Minneapolis department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) is calling all photographers to participate in a photo contest to celebrate the historic resources that make our city a special place to live. Minneapolis has 170 locally designated landmarks and 15 historic districts. Capture the characteristics of these places for a chance to be featured in the City of Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission’s annual report, the City’s Heritage Preservation website, and other CPED websites.  Rule alert, all photos should not contain identifiable people.

To enter the contest, post your photo on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with the hashtag #MPLSpresevation by Tuesday, May 31. By entering, submissions may be used by the City of Minneapolis in future prints and digital publications, with proper credit to the photographer. Winners will be announced in early June.

View map of Minneapolis Landmarks and Districts

Partner Profile: African Economic Development Solutions

Gene Gelgelu, Executive Director, AEDS

African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) opened its doors in 2008 with goals to support economic development for African immigrants in the Twin Cities and Metro area. The organization does so by helping break down the cultural and language barriers that many African immigrants face through business development training, loan access, homeownership, and creative place making through art and culture. By doing so, the organization hopes to achieve their ultimate mission of building wealth within African immigrant communities, namely the Oromo and Somali populations, in the Twin Cities and Metro area.

AEDS also acts as a link between their clients and outside resources. They’ve helped individuals and businesses connect with City of Minneapolis – Community Planning and Economic Development programs including the Homeownership Opportunity Minneapolis Program (HOM) and the Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP).

In addition to technical and financial assistance, AEDS supports marketing and creative place making through an initiative called Little Africa. This initiative encompasses a façade improvement program, public art initiatives, and sponsorship of community events. The ultimate goal of Little Africa is to highlight the diverse businesses and cultural assets and art of African immigrant populations.

Kraus-Anderson Breaks Ground on New Headquarters in Downtown Minneapolis

KA Groundbreaking

On Thursday, April 28th, Kraus-Anderson staff, partners, future building tenants and special guests like Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges joined together to celebrate the groundbreaking for its new headquarters in downtown Minneapolis. The five-story, 100,000 square-foot building will be located on 8th Street and 5th Avenue and will host approximately 300 employees. Designed by Pope Architects, the project has three development components – the corporate home office building, a residential apartment tower, and a Brewtel (Hotel, Microbrewery, and Event Center). Planned amenities include a fitness center, educational training center, rooftop deck, cafeteria, formal and informal meeting areas, and an appealing, well-landscaped exterior.  The City of Minneapolis provides grant management service for the $761,106 pass-through DEED Contamination Cleanup Grant Program (CCGP) awarded to the Kraus-Anderson Block project. 

Kraus-Anderson has been headquartered in downtown Minneapolis since 1897. During the new construction, Kraus-Anderson staff will be moving into a temporary facility located at 3433 Broadway Street Northeast. Occupancy of the new building is expected in late 2017.

NeighborWorks America's NeighborhoodLIFT Program Receives $5M from Wells Fargo

On Wednesday, May 10, Wells Fargo committed $5 million to expand NeighborWorks America’s NeighborhoodLIFT program to help boost homeownership in the Twin Cities. First launched in 2012, NeighborhoodLIFT offers homebuyer education and down payment assistance grants up to $7,500 for eligible homebuyers. The 2016 program is expected to create 450 additional homeowners with goals to make homeownership more affordable and to strengthen Twin Cities’ neighborhoods.

To be eligible for a grant, annual incomes must not exceed 80 percent of the local area median income (around $68,650 for a family of four). Approved homebuyers have up to 60 days to finalize a contract to purchase a home in Minneapolis or St. Paul, and must commit to live in the home for three years to reserve the full grant amount.

Prospective homebuyers can attend the free homebuyer event on June 10-11, 10 am – 7 pm at Minneapolis Hyatt Regency at 1300 Nicollet Mall. Those interested can register at or call 866-858-2151. Pre-registration is recommended for an opportunity to reserve a grant, but walk-ins will be welcome while funds are available. 

Bring Your Produce to Work, Downtown Minneapolis!

Downtown Flowers Farmer's Market

May 5 launched the season’s first Downtown Farmers Market, themed: Bring your Produce to Work. Opening day featured 14 vendors, sun and rain, with scores of people around the Government Center South Plaza, nibbling on cinnamon nuts, taking giant bites of even giant-er T-Rex cookies, buying garden plants and baskets of hanging flowers, stocking up on supplies like breads, local honey and homemade soaps, and purchasing fresh produce for dinner.

More vendors will come to the market every week, as the freshest, best foods are plucked from farms just down local roads and brought smack into the center of the city. Every Thursday will bring something new, beautiful and delicious, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine.

Share your Farmers Market photos at #MplsFarmMarket on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Discover all Minneapolis Farmers Markets!

City of Minneapolis Launches New Co-operative Technical Assistance Program


On Wednesday, April 20, more than 50 people attended the City of Minneapolis’ presentation announcing the expansion of its Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP) to include services aimed at supporting the development of new Minneapolis co-operatives through the new Co-operative Technical Assistance Program (C-TAP). C-TAP was officially launched during a “State of Co-ops in Minneapolis” event hosted by City staff at Open Book.

The "State of Co-ops in Minneapolis" presentation provided information and resources to current co-ops and those interested in developing one. C-TAP has a goal to use the co-op model for maximum community benefits and to do so C-TAP will offer assistance to groups interested in forming new co-ops in Minneapolis including feasibility classes, technical assistance to redefine feasibility, board member and organizational design, and technical assistance for co-op retention and expansion.

On Wednesday, May 11, the first C-TAP feasibility class focused on introducing participants to the co-op business model. Over the course of the next seven classes attendees will develop a business plan, learn financials, governance, and the co-op legal framework. They will also be introduced to the building community and graduate in a better position to evaluate or refine their co-op model. 

Minneapolis 2040 Officially Up and Running

Minneapolis 2040

Minneapolis 2040, the three-year process to update the City’s comprehensive plan, is officially up and running! Minneapolis 2040 is an opportunity to shape the future of our city, guiding changes to the built, natural, and economic development.

At the April 2 Community Connections Conference, and in a message posted on the project web site, Mayor Betsy Hodges extended an invitation for everyone to get involved. The mayor said, “Your engagement is a truly crucial part of this process. To build a stronger, more sustainable, more equitable Minneapolis, we need to hear from Minneapolis. Whether you are a resident, a business owner, a developer, or anyone else with an interest in growing our city the right way, you will have an opportunity to provide your input. Please take that opportunity.”

To get involved, please visit, where you can engage interactively on the future of Minneapolis, including an initial survey about how you would like to be engaged and a chance to post your big ideas for growth in Minneapolis. You can also learn about in-person opportunities to make your voice heard. Be sure to also sign up for email updates and follow @mpls2040 on Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you!

Over 500 Teens Attend the Minneapolis Teen Job and Opportunity Fair

On Saturday, April 30, over 500 teens, many with parents in tow, descended on the Minneapolis Central Library for the 10th annual Minneapolis Teen Job and Opportunity Fair.

The teens, dressed in their best, took advantage of the opportunity to connect with 40 exhibitors offering training, employment, and volunteer experiences. 

One hundred teens attended one or more of the workshops offered at the fair. In the ‘Get a Job Now’ workshop teens learned how to conduct a job search and land a job from Minneapolis North WorkForce Center and EMERGE Community Development staff. The ‘Who We Hire’ session that was conducted by the Minneapolis Youth Congress featured a panel of employers who gave advice on how young people can leave a positive impression when applying for a job. Attendees also learned how to dress professionally at two ‘Pro Up to Glow Up’ fashion shows created and coordinated by Aveda Institute and the Minneapolis Youth Congress.  

Hennepin County librarians were on hand to help teens fill out online resumes and with resources for their employment searches.

The Teen Job Fair was produced by City of Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development , Hennepin County, Hennepin County Library, AchieveMpls, Minneapolis WorkForce Centers, Lunds and Byerlys, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis Youth Congress, Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board, EMERGE, East Side Neighborhood Services, and Aveda Institute. 

Students Get a Second Chance to Explore Careers

City of Minneapolis Employment and Training, using funds from the state of Minnesota targeted toward career advising, is partnering with the Minneapolis Workforce Centers to deliver career advising workshops to high school students.

On April 23, 20 students attended the first set of workshops. The students in this group were youth who had applied for the STEP-UP summer employment program but were unable to attend the required work readiness training.

Using the Career EdVenture curriculum, the workshops provided a second chance for students to explore career interests using current assessment tools and coaching. In addition, the three-hour sessions allowed the participants to learn effective job search and networking strategies, interview techniques and update or develop a resume that highlights their skills. All workshop participants received individualized coaching and feedback and left the session with three current job leads that fit their skills and interests. Additional workshops are scheduled in June.