May 26, 2021 - News
Minneapolis' Lake Street comes back to life year after unrest
The exterior of a new Midtown Center apartment building in Minneapolis.
A new Midtown Corner aparment building is being rebuilt a year after the former was burned down during construction. Photo: Nick Halter/Axios

The scars are still visible from last summer's riots on Lake Street, but the South Minneapolis corridor is coming back to life in a big way.

Why it matters: Lake Street is a vibrant and diverse corridor in the city, a place where people live, shop, eat and play.

Flashback: A year ago this week, more than 400 Lake Street businesses were damaged in riots following the murder of George Floyd.

The state of play: The Lake Street Council estimates that 90% of those businesses have reopened, with most choosing to stay on the corridor.

  • That includes big grocers — Target, Cub Foods and both Aldi stores — that were damaged but not destroyed.
  • Midtown Global Market, Mercado Central and Chicago Lake Liquors are also back.
  • Yes, but: There are still vacant lots that offer little sign of the auto-parts shops, pharmacies and restaurants that once stood there.

Some good news: Construction on many of those lots has commenced.

  • Midtown Corner, the affordable apartment complex at Lake and Hiawatha that burned down midway through construction, is being rebuilt. It'll open in the fall.
  • And, Midtown Global Market's owner is planning to redevelop the site of a nearby two-story building that was destroyed. Plans are up in the air, but it could include a business incubator and affordable housing.

The latest: Nonprofit Seward Redesign is planning to rehabilitate the historic Coliseum Building at 2700 E. Lake St.

  • It will set up an ownership structure for Black entrepreneurs, including Du Nord Craft Spirits' Christ Montana whose distillery was badly damaged, the nonprofit said in a press release.

By the numbers: The Lake Street Council — which raised $12 million after the riots — has given out $5.7 million in grants to help 360 businesses with repairs and replacing inventory, equipment or other furnishings.

  • Less than half of the damage inflicted on businesses is covered by insurance, according to the council.
  • Of note: The Minneapolis Foundation is raising $20 million for Lake Street as well as Broadway and University Avenues. (We'll have more on those corridors for you later this week.)

What's ahead: Small businesses still need help from the city, state and federal government since most of the reinvestment so far has come from private sources, said Allison Sharkey, executive director of the Lake Street Council.

  • "Anytime there's a big disaster — usually a natural disaster — you can generally count on the federal and state governments to step in and and provide support, and that hasn't happened yet."
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