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Commercial revitalization takes multiple forms and varying levels of targeted public investment. Neighborhood business districts are each unique with their own set of opportunities and challenges and therefore requires a customized approach. When districts use multiple tools and tap a variety of resources, revitalization efforts can succeed. The City of Minneapolis offers Business District Support Grants, Façade Improvement Matching Grants, Real Estate Development Gap Financing Loans under the Great Streets Program. Business=specific tools include the Small Business Technical Assistance Program and Small Business Loans.


Through targeted investments using these tools, Great Streets produces tangible results and leverages private investment. The façade program alone has stimulated over $6 million of investment in commercial façade improvements citywide since its inception in 2008. In eight years, grant administrators worked on 617 façade improvement projects, providing $1,772,100 in matching grants and leveraging $4,237,255 in private investment. For every $1.00 of public investment, the private sector invested $2.39. Many improvements have catalyzed additional private sector investments in nearby properties. The City has provided $3,385,000 in strategic real estate development gap loans to projects worth approximately $28 million. These loans are repaid to the City with interest. In 2012, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) awarded the Minneapolis Great Streets Program its top honor for Neighborhood Development Initiatives.


There are 116 eligible geographic areas where adopted City policy supports neighborhood commercial activities. These are: commercial corridors, commercial nodes, LRT station areas, and activity centers designated in The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Development. The Great Streets program prioritizes resources to areas with demonstrated need and where private investments augment public funding. Eligible areas are grouped into three categories (intervene, support, and monitor) based on several measures of economic health, need, and opportunity.



areas that are experiencing weak development interest or significant obstacles to attaining the City’s commercial development or business investment goals



areas showing signs of strength, but that remain fragile and have some barriers to market development and business investment



areas with strong market development and business activity

For more information, contact Rebecca Parrell, 612-673-5018.

Business District Support Grants (BDS)

Business District Support grants fund activities that strengthen neighborhood business districts. The grant program provides wide latitude to organizations so they are in the position of determining the strategies and initiatives that will best meet the needs and demands of their area. Overviews of grants awarded in 2012, 2013, 20142015, and 2016 help illustrate the diverse set of activities funded.

The City Council awards grants to community development corporations, business associations, neighborhood organizations, and other nonprofit entities that have the demonstrated capacity to perform business district development work. The Community Planning and Economic Development Department (CPED) issues an annual Request for Proposals (RFP) each January to solicit proposals.

City Council Staff Reports Recommending Business District Support (BDS) Contracts to the City Council

Annual RFP Soliciting Proposals, January-February every year

CPED issues an annual Great Streets Business District Support (BDS) RFP on in January each year with proposals due in February.
For more information, or to be added to the RFP distribution list, contact Rebecca Parrell at (612) 673-5018.

Façade Improvement Matching Grants

Real Estate Development Gap Financing Loans

The City has gap financing loans available for transformative commercial real estate redevelopment projects or acquisitions located in Great Streets Eligible Areas. The Application Form may be submitted at any time.

Examples of Gap Financing Projects, include:

For more information, contact Rebecca Parrell at (612) 673-5018.

Market Profiles

The City of Minneapolis has access to a wide range of demographic and market data, through a subscription to Business Analyst Online, a GIS-based market data program provided by ESRI.

In 2009, the City created “Market Profiles” or snapshots of the one-mile market area around the 65 neighborhood commercial nodes (see links below, by sector) to provide basic information about neighborhood commercial nodes to community groups and others involved in business district revitalization and retail recruitment. The reports provide basic market information and ARE NOT conclusive or comprehensive market studies. For a good primer on understanding market data and getting started on retail recruitment please see the Community Revitalization Planning Guide focused on neighborhood commercial district retail recruitment produced by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

The City did not create profiles for commercial corridors, LRT station areas, or activity centers because these areas can have significant differences in the geographic range from which they draw a customer base. To request an updated profile or a customized profile for a unique area, contact Rebecca Parrell 612-673-5018.

Business District Revitalization Case Studies

City Council Reports Related to Great Streets

Business Associations and Other Resources


Last updated Apr 18, 2017



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