Growing Minneapolis May: News and Information from the City of Minneapolis department of Community Planning and Economic Development

Growing Mpls 2

May 2018

Business Profile: Brave New Workshop

photo of Brave New Workshop Happy Hour Squared event
BNW's Happy Hour Squared monthly community service event has provided more than 135,000 sandwiches to the hungry since 2015. (Source: The BNW)

The Brave New Workshop (BNW) is the nation’s longest running satirical comedy theatre and 2018 marks their 60th year. Aside from delivering their own great entertainment, BNW hosts a variety of events in their ETC space; guest speakers and training for Fortune 500 companies; venue rental and improv training through their school, the BNW Student Union.

In honor of their 60th anniversary, the owners, Jenni Lilledahl and John Sweeney, have declared it the year of gratitude. The BNW hosts a “Happy Hour Squared” (HH2) event, where every third Thursday of the month, they bring together volunteers to make sandwiches to feed those in need in their neighborhood. They call it a "Happy Hour with a purpose," and celebrated the third anniversary of the HH2 program in April. To date, they have handed out more than 135,000 sandwiches via Allan Law’s Minneapolis Recreational Development, Inc.

The next HH2 event is Thursday, May 17 from 5 – 7 p.m. at the BNW at 824 Hennepin. All are welcome.

The owners acquired the downtown building at 824 Hennepin Avenue from the City in 2011 for fair reuse value, with a portion of the purchase price financed by the City at market-rate-terms. A few years later, the City assisted in securing a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan to purchase a new HVAC system and make energy-efficiency improvements to the building, as well as to another nearby building the owners purchased to expand their downtown presence.

A Successful Grand Re-Opening of 116 Affordable Homes across Three Historic Properties

photo of the Lamoreaux building

Aeon Homes has renovated apartments in The Lamoreaux, The Continental and The Coyle to provide 116 units of affordable housing and stability to those most in need, including some individuals who have experienced long term homelessness. The grand re-opening of the three buildings was held at The Lamoreaux on Thursday, April 26, 2018. Many gathered in the building’s new community space to listen to guest speakers which included Mayor Jacob Frey; Minnesota Housing Assistant Commissioner, Wes Butler; Enterprise Vice President for Syndication, Philip Porter; and Aeon President and CEO, Alan Arthur. The reconfiguration includes some tenants having their own kitchens and bathrooms, rather than sharing with others.

Aeon’s mission is to create and sustain quality affordable homes that strengthen lives and communities. The Opportunity Housing Partnership (OHP) program will provide on-site support services based on partnerships with Simpson Housing Services, RESOURCE Inc., and Aeon’s Resident Connections.

Funding for this project included $650,000 of the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Funds (AHTF) and 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the City and Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA), which generated more than $11M in tax credit equity. Federal Historic tax credits were $2.58M in equity. Also, there was $1.9 million in grants and loans from MHFA and the Federal Home Loan Bank. 

photo: The five-story building, the Lamoreaux. (Source: The City of Minneapolis)

Art Installation "Carry-on Homes" Wins 2018 Creative City Challenge; Find it on The Commons this Summer

photo of a screenshot of the carry-on homes video

The interactive art installation, “Carry-on Homes,” created by Peng Wu, Zoe Cinel, Shunjie Yong, Preston Drum and Aki Shibata has won the 2018 Creative City Challenge. The art piece is a home that hosts stories of immigrants in Minnesota and consists of an open structure, stage, reflecting garden, table and journey wall; each exploring the universal concept of home. The art strikes a conversation about what unites us through basic human needs of shelter, food, water and social interaction.

“Carry-on Homes” will debut on The Commons Friday, June 15 as part of Northern Spark, an annual nighttime arts festival in Minneapolis with tens of thousands of participants. The art will remain on The Commons through August 2018 for public participation.

The Carry-on Homes team is looking for new stories and images from immigrants to Minnesota to add to its growing archive; those interested can contact

photo: Carry-on Homes video render. (Source: Carry-on Homes website).

Nomadic Oasis Barber Lounge Celebrates Grand Opening

photo of owner of the nomadic oasis barber lounge and their logo

The Nomadic Oasis Barber Lounge offers clients an elegant setting to relax and experience quality grooming services, such as haircuts and even hot towel treatments. This contemporary barbershop is located in the newly renovated building at 2525 East Franklin. In 2017, Seward Redesign purchased the building and invested in a renovation that includes a mothers/prayer room, public art and more. Redesign then recruited a tenant mix that represents Seward’s diversity of cultures and causes.

Owner and master barber Faysal Osman, who is Ethiopian-American, and his fellow barbers are connecting with Seward residents and participating in the business community. Along with their grooming services, they envision a gathering space that will host book clubs and special events where all are welcome.

Nomadic Oasis is the first upscale East African-owned barbershop in Minnesota. During their Grand Opening on Friday, March 23, 2018, they celebrated with great food, people, music and an interview with Somali TV.

In addition to leasing space to Nomadic Oasis, Seward Redesign provided a start-up loan from its Hiawatha Corridor Loan Fund. City of Minneapolis Business Technical Support Program (B-TAP) providers, Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD) and African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS), provided additional loan funds. The Great Streets Business District Support program (BDS) helped fund Seward Redesign’s work pairing Nomadic Oasis with Angel Bomb Design. The design studio developed a branding package that speaks to the nomadic heritage of the Oromo owners.

photo: (top, bottom) Nomadic Oasis Barber Lounge logo; owner, Faysal Osman giving a haircut. (Source: Seward Redesign) 

RS EDEN’s Emanuel Housing Receives the 2018 Affordable Housing Design Award

photo of Emanual Housing

RS EDEN’s Emanuel Housing has won the 2018 Affordable Housing Design Award. The Emanuel Housing project, designed by Cermak Rhoades Architects, provides quality affordable housing and support services to residents. Emanuel Housing is nestled in a mixed-use, vibrant neighborhood with transit access and provides a population coming out of homelessness the opportunity to connect to the broader community. Recognized for this award with RS EDEN and Cermak Rhoades are Frerichs Construction; Pierce Pini + Associates; Spencer Jones Landscape Architect; Mattson Macdonald Young; and Emanuelson-Podas, Inc.

The award is supported by the McKnight Foundation. The American Institute of Architects Minnesota (AIA Minnesota) partnered with the McKnight Foundation on this award to recognize those who create innovative, high-quality design for affordable housing. 

Read the press release here.

photo: RS EDEN's Emanuel Housing. (Source: Brandon Stengel) 

City Awarded Two Career Pathways Grants

photo of the DEED logo

The City of Minneapolis was awarded a total of $600,000 from DEED to support two Career Pathways projects in Minneapolis. DEED awarded 57 grants totaling $17.9 million under the program. The grants are designed to provide workforce development and training opportunities for adult’s barriers to employment.

The City was awarded $350,000 for HealthHire, a partnership with Minneapolis Community and Technical College, HIREDEast Side Neighborhood Services and Project for Pride in Living that will create clear, aligned, and coordinated entry points into health care training centered on the Health Care Core Curriculum (HCCC), a curriculum that prepares learners with baseline knowledge and skills that then articulate to three pathways in the health care field with employer partners ready to hire. The three pathways are Nursing Assistant Plus, Health Care Plus, and Patient Access Specialist.  

A second grant of $250,000 will build on the success of existing Public Safety Pathway including the 911 Telecommunicator training and the Minneapolis Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Academy. Pathways projects offer opportunities for a broader range of job seekers, particularly those that typically experience economic and employment disparities, to gain access to training that will fully prepare them for entry and mid-level positions in high demand.

Over 85 Families Attend Fair Housing Outreach

photo of people attending the faces of fair housing event

April was National Fair Housing Month and two culturally specific trade organizations came together to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. On April 21st, over 85 families attended the Faces of Fair Housing, a homebuyer expo and wealth building event presented by the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) and Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA). CPED staff tabled the event and interacted with attendees interested in homeownership opportunities through the Minneapolis Homes program. The event heightened community awareness about the importance of affordable homeownership as a wealth building tool.

NAREB and AREAA are professional real estate trade organizations with a focus on improving homeownership rates in African American and Asian American-Pacific Islander communities.

Minneapolis Homes provides an array of opportunities to own and maintain a home in the City of Minneapolis through homebuyer down payment and closing costs assistance, city-owned property for sale, development assistance and owner occupied rehabilitation loans. 

photo: (L-R) Julia Israel, NAREB Twin Cities President; Donnie Brown, MAAR; David McGee, BuildWealth MN; Linda Homsombath, Lao Assistance Center; Shannon Eckman, MN Homeownership Center; Rev Jerry McAfee, Salem Inc; Johnny Lee, Title Smart; Ricky Cheath, AREAA Twin Cities President

STEP-UP Seeks a Deeper Connection between Academic and Work Life for Interns

photo of the step up logo

The STEP-UP team at the City of Minneapolis is working to incorporate interns earning academic credit for their training and internships with two partnerships.

Over the past year, the STEP-UP team has collaborated closely with Project for Pride in Living (PPL) to realign the STEP-UP work readiness training curriculum to correspond with the Minneapolis Public School (MPS) Career Readiness Seminar course. Interns will earn high school credit through PPL’s Loring Nicollet Alternative School (an MPS contract alternative high school). This pioneering approach allows STEP-UP interns the option to earn high school credits for their work experiences in any job – STEP-UP or otherwise – once they earn this prerequisite credit. This integration supports youth who are credit deficient and fosters a deeper connection between how an intern’s work experience connects to his or her education. Curriculum design was done by Erin Jordan at EJ Design Firm.

Additionally, STEP-UP has partnered directly with Minneapolis Public Schools credit recovery team to pilot a project this summer. A small number of 9th grade STEP-UP interns who are currently not on track to graduate high school on time will attend a required class, in coordination with their STEP-UP internship, so they can be closer to on track when starting 10th grade in the fall. The curriculum will be designed specifically for STEP-UP interns and include components of their summer jobs as part of their learning. If successful and funding allows, the program will expand in 2019. 

STEP-UP connects Minneapolis youth ages 14-21 with training and paid internships at over 200 top local employers. The program helps organizations diversify their workforce and build a strong base of young, skilled workers for the entire region. STEP-UP is a partnership with the City of Minneapolis, AchieveMpls, DEED and Project for Pride in Living.

Ground is Broken for Supportive Housing Community in North Loop

photo of the ground break of Great River Landing

Ground was broken on Thursday, May 3 for Great River Landing, located at 813 North 5th Street in the North Loop. Great River Landing is an innovative supportive employment and housing community which will include apartment homes for 72 people, whose lives have been impacted by homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration. Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) leaders, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative and Better Futures Minnesota were among those celebrating the event which aims to transform the lives of people in greatest need. Mayor Jacob Frey has been instrumental in bringing this project to fruition and was a featured speaker. He acknowledged CPED Director David Frank for his work as President of the North Loop Neighborhood Association for not just accepting but welcoming the development to the community. 

photo: Site of Great River Landing, 813 North Street. (Source: The City of Minneapolis)

Mayor Frey stated, “Access to affordable housing can be a launching pad for economic opportunity – and housing is especially important for people who have been impacted by homelessness or incarceration and just need a second chance. That’s why Great River Landing is a model for effectively addressing our housing crisis through a comprehensive and collaborative approach. This partnership shows that Minneapolis and its community partners will be united in action on affordable housing and criminal justice reform. Where other cities might reject housing like Great River Landing, Minneapolis says, ‘Yes, In Our Backyard.'"

Of the total development costs, $1.8 million comes from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (the City and Minnesota Housing jointly awarded tax credits that generated more than $13 million in private equity). 

photo of leaders breaking ground at Great River Landing

photo: (L-R) Rev. Dr. Paula Northwood, Acting Senior Minister at Plymouth Congregational Church; Rev. Dr. Timothy Hart-Andersen, Senior Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church; David Frank, City of Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Director; Dr. Thomas Adams, CEO Better Futures Minnesota; Lee Blons, Executive Director, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative; Milton Dodd, Board Member Better Futures Minnesota; Minneapolis Council Member Ward 5, Jeremiah Ellison; Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.   

May is National Historic Preservation Month

photo of the stone arch bridge

Help celebrate National Historic Preservation Month in May by capturing photos of Minneapolis landmarks and historic districts. Use #MPLSpreservation when sharing photos to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Winners will be announced in early June. The three winning photos will be featured in the Heritage Preservation Commission's annual report, the City's Heritage Preservation webpage, and other CPED webpages. Click here for details.

photo: Morning light on the Stone Arch Bridge #MPLSpreservation. (Source: The City of Minneapolis)

Minneapolis Farmers Market Opens for the Summer

photo of the farmers market

The Minneapolis Farmers Market opened both its downtown markets (Government Center and Nicollet Mall) the first of May with familiar faces and some new vendors lining the walkways. 

The opening week was accompanied with warm, sunny days and multitudes of patrons and growers with their fresh plants, produce, and tasty treats. Among the visitors, news stations and Mayor Jacob Frey stopped by the Nicollet Mall re-opening.   

Take a stroll this summer through the Government Center Market on Tuesdays and the Nicollet Mall Market on Thursdays to see what the fields are bringing your way. Talk to growers and get recommendations on planting and cooking for all that you find.  Every week brings something new.

photo: Taking a stroll down the Farmers Market. (Source: Jenny Buck)


Minneapolis 2040 Plan 5 Open Houses

Saturday, May 12, 2018
10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Northeast Recreation Center
1530 Johnson St. NE

Monday, May 14, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center
4055 Nicollet Ave. S

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
North Commons Recreation Center
1801 James Ave. N

Thursday, May 17, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Dayton YMCA at Gaviidae Common
651 Nicollet Mall #300

Thursday, May 31, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Powderhorn Recreation Center
3400 15th Ave. S

photo of comprehensive plan engagement event

Minneapolis 2040 is a draft Comprehensive Plan that shapes how the city will grow and change. The draft covers topics such as housing, job access, the design of new buildings, and how we use our streets. Attend one of five open houses this month as this is one of the last opportunities to engage and give feedback. Over the past two years there have been over 50 meetings and conversations with thousands of residents, business owners and others. Join the conversation and enjoy family-friendly activities, as well as free food from local businesses. 

More Information

Night at the Nic 

Thursday, May 17, 2018
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Nicollet Island Pavilion
40 Power St. 

Night at the Nic (formally known as the East Side Wine Tasting) includes samples of wine, local cuisine, and microbrews. Night at the Nic supports educational pathways for children and youth, social engagement for older adults, and growth for families. One must be at least 21 years of age to attend. 

More Information

Drive Roundtable: Riverfront Development 

Friday, May 18, 2018
7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
The Local
931 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, 55402

With a history dating back to the late 1800s in the flour and lumber industries, the “Mighty Mississippi” has seen its fair share of change. At May’s DRIVE Roundtable, Tom Evers, Executive Director of Minneapolis Parks Foundation, will present on what to expect this year for better access to the river, improved public amenities, and key community events held by the river.

More Information 

Lake Street Dumpling Tour

Saturday, June 2, 2018
11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Midtown Farmers Market
2225 East Lake Street 

Enjoy this self-guided tour anyway you like: on your bike, by car, via the 21 bus, or on rollerblades. Participants can win prizes and enjoy entertainment. Participating Restaurants include: Halwo Kismayo - Sambusa; Gandhi Mahal - Samosa; Panaderia San Miguel - Empanada; Himalayan - Momo; Safari Express - Sambusa; Akshay Paatram (at the Midtown Farmer's Market) - Samosa; Dumpling (at the Midtown Farmer's Market) - Dumplings; and more to come. The event is sponsored by Metro Transit and hosted by Visit Lake Street & the Lake Street Council, with support from the Minneapolis Great Streets Program.

More Information

Upcoming Free Training Events

Session 2: 10 Things You Should Know Before Signing a Lease

Friday, May 18, 2018
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

Moon Palace Books
3032 Minnehaha Ave

If you are a small business owner in Minneapolis and want to learn more about leasing business space, then this session is for you. Discussed in the session will be the major elements of a lease, advice on negotiating a lease, and information about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

More Information 

Creating Successful Social Enterprises for Nonprofits 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 &
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Main Street SE, Suite 600

The session is facilitated by Propel Nonprofits and assists nonprofits in successfully launching a social enterprise, with the long-term goal of building the sustainability of each organization to further their missions.

More Information

New/Expanding Businesses 



photo of MN Nice Cream business
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In the News

Grand Cafe in Minneapolis named one of the country's best restaurants by Food & Wine 
Read in the StarTribune

Amazon says it'll hire 200 for Minneapolis tech office (video) 
Read in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Northside's Green Garden teen bakers three-quarters of way to goal 
Read in the StarTribune

Neighbors: one of Broadway's brightest spots 
Read in North News

Lending art library on the move, but has roots in South Minneapolis Read in Messenger

Longfellow ReStore hits $1 million mark 
Read in Messenger

About this Newsletter

Growing MPLS is published monthly by the City of Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Department. If you have questions, please contact

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