Community Planning & Economic Development

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Great Streets Program

The City of Minneapolis Great Streets Program offers grant opportunities to perform business district revitalization and economic development work to community development corporations, business associations, neighborhood organizations, cultural organizations, and other nonprofit entities. Commercial revitalization takes multiple forms and varying levels of targeted public investment. Great Streets is one tool for assisting neighborhood business districts with continued health and improved vitality.

 

Areas that are eligible for Great Streets resources include: commercial corridors, commercial nodes, LRT station areas, and activity centers, as designated in The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Development. The Great Streets program prioritizes resources to eligible areas with demonstrated need. Eligible areas are thus grouped into three categories (intervene, support, and monitor) based on several measures of economic health, need, and opportunity. 

 

Intervene

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

 

Support

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

 

Monitor

areas with strong market development and business activity

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

Business District Support Grants (BDS)

The City Council awards Business District Support (BDS) grants to not-for-profit organizations with the capacity and mission to perform business district revitalization and economic development work.

Each neighborhood business district is unique - with its own set of opportunities and challenges and requires a customized approach to improving its economic health. BDS grants fund a wide range of activities, with the overarching goal of strengthening neighborhood business districts and building sustainable mechanisms for ongoing vitality and investment.

Eligible proposals are focused on initiatives and investments that enhance business district vitality, benefit existing businesses, diversify an area’s client base, or increase the diversity of goods and services provided, particularly in communities where there are existing racial, ethnic, and economic disparities.

Overviews of grants awarded in 2012201320142015201620172018, and 2019 help illustrate the diverse set of activities funded. Staff reports to the City Council recommend grantees and describe program achievements of the past year: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014.

City staff issue an annual Request for Proposals (RFP) each January to solicit proposals. Documents from the most rece nt RFP include:

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

Façade Improvement Matching Grants

Neighborhood business districts are the front door of Minneapolis neighborhoods. A welcoming, vibrant business district sends a powerful, positive message, just as a poorly maintained or vacant row of storefronts conveys a negative impression.

The Façade Improvement Matching Grant Program helps revitalize and sustain the economic vitality of the city’s commercial districts through public/private investments in façade projects for commercial properties. Façade improvements make an aesthetic impact, improving the appearance of individual buildings and consequently entire commercial districts.

From 2008–2017, the Great Streets façade program stimulated over $5.8 million of private investment and over $2.3 million of public investment in 820 façade improvement projects citywide.

Who can apply?

Building owners and commercial tenants (with property owner’s approval) can apply for a Great Streets façade grant if:

  1. the façade improvements are for a commercial business or commercial building, meaning it has a retail or office use AND
  2. they are located within an eligible business district (PDF).

How does the program work? What do grants pay for?

The program's Business Guidelines (PDF) explain how the program works, what types of improvements are eligible in the program, which are not, and other important information about the program. Read this document carefully before you begin planning your project.

Need design ideas?

The Great Streets Façade Design Guide is a fabulous resource for all commercial property owners and business owners considering façade changes or updates. The encouraged projects listed are eligible for façade grants and the discouraged activities are NOT eligible.

For more information

Contact Judy Moses at (612) 673-5283.

City Council Staff Reports Recommending Façade Improvement Matching Grant Contracts to the City Council

 

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.

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. Staff can provide demographic and market reports about neighborhood commercial areas to community groups and others involved in business district revitalization and retail recruitment. The reports ARE NOT conclusive or comprehensive market studies. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), has a good primer on understanding market data and getting started on retail recruitment - Community Revitalization Planning Guide. To request a customized profile for a geographic area, contact Rebecca Parrell at (612) 673-5018.

Staff can also provide businesses and entrepreneurs with customized demographic and market reports based on factors related specifically to their business type and location. Contact Rebecca Parrell at (612) 673-5018.

Business Associations and Other Resources

City Council Reports Related to Great Streets

Last updated Aug 19, 2019

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