U.S. Bank is donating its branch property at 2800 E. Lake Street to nonprofit community development corporation Seward Redesign.
Seward Redesign will partner with 4RM+ULA, an architectural design firm, to redevelop the property into up to four sub-divided parcels to include affordable housing, commercial and outdoor retail spaces, nonprofit services and arts and cultural destinations. The partnership with 4RM+ULA represents an innovative model that will focus on design and aesthetics, community input and activation and will be inclusive of multiple people of color partners.
“In response to the civil unrest that followed the death of George Floyd, our communities invested significant effort to first stabilize, and now rebuild Lake Street in a more equitable fashion,” said Taylor Smrikárova, project leader from Seward Redesign.
“Our team is intently committed to ensuring that the U.S. Bank property is lifted up as a demonstration site for wealth creation for communities of color. When this shared vision is achieved, the result will be that each parcel will be owned by BIPOC-led businesses or community organizations.”
Seward Redesign recently celebrated its 50-year anniversary and is the only community development corporation with an exclusive focus in the Seward and greater Longfellow neighborhoods of South Minneapolis. 4RM+ULA is a nationally renowned, award winning firm with an extensive portfolio in the Twin Cities.
“We are both humbled and honored to be awarded the opportunity to help facilitate this innovative process,” said James Garrett, Jr., partner at 4RM+ULA. “Our goal is to create a new model for equitable development and demonstrate new ways in which architects can engage and partner with community.”
Foundational to the winning proposal submitted by Seward Redesign and 4RM+ULA were strategic partnerships with both Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES) and National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS). Both CLUES and NABS have been invited to own and co-develop specific site parcels. Preliminary project concepts include:
• An intensive community engagement and activation process to ensure broad and diverse participation.
• Creative interim uses and site activation strategies including pop-up retail facilities, public art installations, and community events/gathering spaces.
• CLUES ownership to ensure long-term service to Latino communities in South Minneapolis inclusive of affordable housing, client services and arts and technology center
• NABS ownership inclusive of a national center for truth and healing, affordable housing and retail locations.
• A development owned and operated by 4RM+ULA inclusive of affordable housing and commercial/retail spaces.
• The opportunity for an additional people of color developer/owner to co-develop a remaining land parcel.
“After listening and learning alongside community partners through an extensive RFP process, we are excited to announce our plan to donate this property to Seward Redesign,” said Reba Dominski, chief social responsibility officer for U.S. Bank. “We were looking for a community-focused developer who was aligned with our commitment to racial equity throughout the entire property donation process – in the interim and after the redevelopment of the location. Seward Redesign knows and understands the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods deeply and will bring strong relationships, credibility to navigate community engagement and technical capacity to the project.”
The development will be consistent with community input and will include a combination of affordable housing, commercial and retail locations and outdoor community spaces. Seward Redesign and 4RM+ULA are exploring a range of interim uses for the property to engage the neighborhood through arts and culture, while also creatively soliciting community feedback regarding permanent uses for the site. A community engagement process will begin in the next couple of months.
The Lake Street property was damaged during the civil unrest in May 2020. Shortly thereafter, U.S. Bank set-up a mobile banking unit in the parking lot that will continue to provide banking services to the community on-site until it completes its redevelopment of a former commercial building at 3600 E. Lake Street in 2022. U.S. Bank is also building a new branch location at 919 E. Lake Street set to open in 2022.
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