Millions of Development Dollars to Revitalize North Minneapolis

Updated: 02/04/2014 5:57 AM
Created: 02/03/2014 5:27 PM
By: Beth McDonough

Tens of millions of development dollars are making their way into North Minneapolis.

Many are hoping new residents and businesses will follow and help the depressed section of the city make-up what it lost during the recession.

The corner of West Broadway and West River Road represents the revitalization taking place.  One business, DC Group, is expanding and hiring. Another business, LifeSource, is building its $13 million headquarters there.

"I think Minneapolis will succeed to the extent that all parts of Minneapolis succeed, the northside is such an important part of our city," according to Cathy Polasky, head of Economic Development in Minneapolis.

And that's why Tara Watson not only moved her chiropractic business to West Broadway, she just opened a health club too, "because there isn't anything like it here, there was a need." 

She admits it wasn't easy because of North Minneapolis' gritty reputation. But believes her investment on a block of West Broadway will payoff for the entire neighborhood, "we could help by attracting people to the area that patronize other businesses."

Because of the recession, foreclosure crisis and the 2011 tornado, North Minneapolis lost 11 percent of its population. City records show 25 percent of the North Minneapolis residents who want to work don't have jobs. That's compared to the rest of Minneapolis with an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent.

"I think all those pieces make sense to us to do some work in North Minneapolis," said Elfric Porte with the Green Homes Project. Like build 100 energy-efficient homes over the next few years. Half a dozen large housing projects are under construction. 

Plus, there are plans to create at least 1,000 jobs by 2018. That's by offering forgivable loans and tax breaks to companies that hire at least 75 North Minneapolis residents through the Grow North Program. 

Longtime North Minneapolis businessman and resident Keith Reitman says, "We have to create density on the northside, the downside is development happens on West Broadway and North Minneapolis with government dollars."

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