Great Streets Program
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
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, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 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
- 2018 Recommendations
- 2017 Recommendations
- 2016 Recommendations
- 2015 Recommendations
- 2014 Recommendations
- 2013 Recommendations
- 2012 Recommendations
- 2011 Recommendations
- 2010 Recommendations
- 2009 Recommendations
- 2008 Recommendations
Annual RFP Soliciting Proposals, January-February every year
CPED issued the annual Great Streets Business District Support (BDS) RFP on January 17, 2018. Proposals are due by 4:00 p.m., Friday, February 23, 2018.
- The RFP document (PDF) contains the information needed to submit a responsive proposal, including: restrictions to Great Streets-eligible geographic areas, eligible and ineligible activities, contract requirements, evaluation criteria, and important dates. Please review this carefully.
- The RFP Proposal Form is the Word document for organizations to use and submit as outlined in the RFP document.
- The Budget template is the Excel document for organizations to use and submit as outlined in the RFP document.
- RFP Questions and Answers (PDF)
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:
- Seward Coop (2007)
- Master Engineering (2008)
- 1200 West Broadway/Kindred Kitchen (2009)
- African Development Center (2009)
- Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center (2009)
- A short documentary film about the development of CAFAC
- Five Points (2010)
- Eastside Food Co-op (2015)
For more information, contact Rebecca Parrell at (612) 673-5018.
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 District Revitalization Case Studies
City Council Reports Related to Great Streets
- Updated Categorization of Eligible Areas November 11, 2017
- Adding Two Commercial Districts to Eligible Areas as Pilot April 29, 2014
- Review of Great Streets Program Fund Balance
- Loan Origination Fee and Underwriting Guidelines Nov. 30, 2010
- Categorization of Great Streets Areas March 10, 2009
- City Council report on Great Streets April 17, 2007
- Presentation to the City Council April 17, 2007
- City Council report on Commercial Corridors November 7, 2006
- The Minneapolis Plan, Chapter 4 Marketplaces: Neighborhoods 2000
Business Associations and Other Resources
- Commercial District Advisor, an online resource for sharing information, ideas, and strategies for successful commercial district revitalization around the country.
- Connect with neighborhood business associations (pdf) and other business owners to stay informed and work together to improve your district.
Last updated Oct 29, 2018