Four Neighborhoods Surrounding Midtown Exchange Express Strong Support for Access and Allina

Letter to Minneapolis City Council submitted by presidents of neighborhood organizations

 

"The Allina headquarters at the former Sears site would solidify the 1.2 million-square-foot Midtown Exchange development proposed by Ryan Companies. Allina would be the anchor tenant required to allow the site to be developed faster and with less risk of the development failing. Sears has been vacant for too long. A decision by Allina to locate here would be crucial to our remarkable and difficult neighborhood turnaround story."

 

REBUILDING LAKE STREET’S “MALL OF AMERICA”


Our urban south Minneapolis communities have unraveled over the past 45 years producing at-risk neighborhoods. The reweaving process involves not only looking realistically at the problems but working together with national and local resources to build on the existing assets. Major corporate, government and neighborhood/private business initiated commitments have been made to south Minneapolis in the past 10 years. Here are some of the significant, “industrial-strength” commitments that have happened and are happening:

Portland Place - $13M – investment by Honeywell to build 54 mixed-income homes.

Joseph Selvaggio Initiative - $7M – housing renovation in an eight-block area west of Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Phillips Park Housing Initiative - $15M – funded by Lutheran Social Services and the Phillips Eye Institute – 29 new homeownership townhouses and property improvement.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage - $175M – to renovate and build their campus for 4,400 jobs – many from our neighborhoods.

Abbott Northwestern Hospital - $200M – to build a world-class facility for its cardiology, neurology, orthopedics and spine programs, and campus upgrades.

Midtown Greenway/Bikeway and Transit Linkage - $20M – being developed by Hennepin County using the former Soo Line Railroad corridor.

Colin Powell Youth Leadership Campus - $20M – soccer fields and a program center being developed by Urban Ventures at 4th Avenue and Lake Street

Hope Community - $13M – for 60 units of affordable housing at Children’s Village Center and Hope Community Court and campus development at Franklin and Portland Avenue.

Children’s Hospitals and Clinics - $20M – ambulatory and surgical expansion specializing in kids and parking ramp facility.

Midtown Phillips - $6M – vacant lot reduction program with construction of 40 new single-family homes in the last four years.

Intersection at Bloomington and Lake Street Redevelopment - $17M


- El Mercado Central with 47 small Latino businesses - $1M
- Antiques Minnesota Building for medium-sized business and theater - $3.9M
- MeGusta restaurant - $2M
- Jose Lala grocery store - $1.5M
- Guayaquil Ecuadorian restaurant - $1.5M
- East Phillips Commons - $7M – 36 affordable apartment units

Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches - $4.5M – Division of Indian Works and the Russ Ewald Center for Urban Service on Lake Street.

Gesco Construction, Inc. - $19M – scattered privately developed housing in the Phillips neighborhood by local minority-owned contractor.

These and other combined efforts are significant and are designed to act as serious seed projects that will see the rebirth of south Minneapolis to be once again livable, sustainable and safe. There is one major area that remains as a sinkhole until completion: The Sears Complex . . . .the former Lake Street “Mall of America.”

Allina is going to relocate its headquarters. One of their options is the former Sears building. Allina, Abbott Northwestern and the Phillips Eye Institute have long been part of the community healing story of south Minneapolis. Crime rates are lower and poverty is less concentrated because of this health community’s leadership and investment. Together with PPL they have produced a training program that gives many people in our communities living-wage jobs with benefits.

The Allina headquarters at the former Sears site would solidify the 1.2 million-square-foot Midtown Exchange development proposed by Ryan Companies. Allina would be the anchor tenant required to allow the site to be developed faster and with less risk of the development failing. Sears has been vacant for too long. A decision by Allina to locate here would be crucial to our remarkable and difficult neighborhood turnaround story.

The neighborhoods that surround the former Sears site overwhelmingly support Allina locating here. All four neighborhoods, Midtown Phillips, Phillips West, Central and Powderhorn Park have passed resolutions supporting Allina locating here. We all would like to see the former Sears site developed with a high number of jobs, including the 1,250 professional jobs that would come with Allina.

As leaders of the four neighborhoods that intersect at the former Sears site, we want our city leaders to know and appreciate that our community organizations overwhelmingly support Allina locating here. We ask that the Mayor and the City Council do everything in their power to persuade Allina to choose south Minneapolis for its corporate home. We also support Allina’s requirement that the City support the 35W/Lake Street Access Project as one of the conditions for picking Sears. We believe it is time for the City Council vote to support this project.

This is an exciting time in south Minneapolis and these are crucial foundational projects that can continue the process of once again having a thriving set of communities.

Muriel Simmons,

Phillips West

Shirley Heyer,

Midtown Phillips

Staci Horwitz,

Powderhorn Park

Art Erickson,
Central Neighborhood