If you take a leisurely drive east over the 3rd Street bridge, you will see a familiar building. Familiar in the sense, the building is 90 years old. Your grandparents likely could have seen it as children. However, today unlike 90 years ago, fences surround the building with visible graffiti and construction equipment. It is the sight of one of many development projects in historic Northeast Minneapolis.
The plan for the 90 year old building, previously occupied by Washburn-McReavy funeral home, was demolition to make way for a 40 story high rise. The project thus far is similar to the redevelopment efforts of Nye’s Polonaise which occupied the historic Harness shop and 112 Hennepin building. The Nye’s Polonaise project originally planned a high rise building, but in the end scrapped 24 of the original 30 floors to accommodate the neighborhood and Heritage Preservation Commission.
While it is not the same building as Nye’s, the project has been postponed now for almost a year. It will be interesting to see what happens, but recent history and potential project pressures may indicate serious alterations to the original plans.
Central Ave NE. Bordering Northeast Minneapolis’ Art District, a neighbor to St. Anthony Main, and home to delicious ethnic restaurants such as Holy Land, Sen Yai Sen Lek, El Taco Riendo, Adelita’s Mexican Restaurant and numerous bakeries and cafes (Diamonds Coffee Shoppee, a personal favorite), Central Ave is capturing more and more investment attention.
Most metro residents and RE professionals are aware, once a working-class neighborhood “Nordeast” has recently seen an influx of young professionals and artists. The demographic shift combined with revitalization efforts, has resulted in a resurgence of both commercial space and a thriving artistic community.
In considering commercial development on Central, traffic counts are attractive ranging between 18,000-20,000 vehicles per day. The City recently renovated the local library, and is currently rehabbing Central Avenue’s median. Several Northeast agencies are also combining forces to install artwork along this important corridor.
700 Central Ave Mixed Use Development, photo source: Java Properties
Following these and other like initiatives and perhaps following the influx of new blood in the Northeast community, there are some very exciting new development projects including the redevelopment of blighted buildings and luxury-slash-low income artist live work spaces. From for-profit neighborhood cooperatives, to commercial developers, to non-profits, investors are working on an array of projects ultimately enhancing and maybe even redefining the corridor.
One such active investment group includes the Northeast Investment Cooperative (NEIC), a for-profit coop working to convert vacant spaces into neighborhood businesses. The cooperative, made up of neighboring residents, aims to collectively buy, rehab and manage commercial space along Central. Its members are also considering working to serve an “incubator for small businesses” to help small business along the corridor succeed.