The City of Minneapolis would like to create a new 93,000 square foot Africa Village cultural area by:
- replacing a parking lot which has a history of crime and public safety issues.
- purchasing land next to the parking lot.
The parking lot is Lot A. It is located on the West Bank, 1500 4th St. South. Lot A has 93-stall surface parking stalls. The City would also like to buy land immediately north of Lot A which Hennepin County owns.
Lot A is an ideal location for several reasons:
- it is located between two light rail stations, with connections to Minneapolis, Saint Paul, the Mall of America and the airport.
- it’s very close to the campuses of the University of Minnesota and Augsburg University.
- Lot A is in the middle of a thriving business district.
The new Africa Village development project would:
- have a new public market with a range of retail and other small businesses serving both African and non-African communities.
- include space to provide economic opportunities for new and upcoming business owners to grow their trade.
- attract a wide-range of customers and resources to the broader West Bank business community.
- create a new housing community, including affordable housing.
Africa Village is aligned with the economic inclusion and transit development goals important to the cultural district planned for the Cedar Riverside Neighborhood. The district will be designed to bolster the business goals of local immigrant communities.
The cultural district will add benefits for businesses along this corridor including brighter lighting, litter sweeps and improved appearance investments from the City of Minneapolis.
The City’s development goals for this site include:
- a new Africa Village public market – featuring a range of retail and other small businesses serving and available to both African and non-African communities.
- uses that support the public market such as a mix of affordable and market-rate housing, office, clinic, and/or youth programming space.
- a building of 10 stories or greater on a portion of the site.
- an overall design that increases pedestrian and bike connections to the West Bank Green Line light rail station.
- improvements including new public sidewalks, public plaza space and additional greenery.
- connections to existing and future public park space.
- preference to proposals that include public parking.
As the City moves forward, we will continue to engage residents, businesses, neighborhood organizations and community stakeholders.
- The key elements of the Request For Proposal (RFP) listed in West Bank Business Association’s (WBBA) 2012 Lot A Vision and Planning document were incorporated into the RFP.
- The development objectives – the heart of the RFP - for the site were collectively developed and shared with WBBA, Cedar Riverside Partnership (CRP) and the neighborhood for review and comment before the RFP was advertised.
- The selected development team is required to connect regularly with the neighborhood throughout the process to get feedback on its proposal and development concepts.
Planning Commission and City Council involvement
- The Planning Commission’s Committee of the Whole will preview the project before final approvals. The Planning Commission may offer suggestions and comments that the developer/builder will use for changes to the project proposal.
- The Planning Commission has the power to grant or deny certain project “entitlements” (or rights) prior to construction. If denied, the builder can appeal to the City Council.
- The City Council’s Economic Development and Regulatory Services Committee (EDRS) will need to approve a term sheet and land sale for the project. The land sale requires a public hearing giving further voice to the community.
- Finally, the full City Council would need to approve the term sheet and land sale for the project to proceed.