Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Getting Better All the Time!
Guest post by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Image from www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us.
I was at a meeting today where a presentation was made and other info was passed out that clearly shows how things are getting better all the time in NoMi. Granted, it's not all glitter and rainbows; we're expecting another wave of foreclosures. Those could very well affect renters and landlords, the biggest gap in terms of what service is available.
The two most exciting things, though, were crime being down (again) in the EcoVillage and development on West Broadway...
First off, in the EcoVillage: Several months ago, the crime stats came in and over a 3-month period (April - June 2009) there were 23 calls for service related to narcotics. Most of those centered around the corner of 30th Ave N and 6th St N.
From July through September, there was ONE narcotics-related call.
The really great news, though, was brought out by Catalyst Community Partners. In their presentation, they said, "The question is not 'What does it take to start a business in a low-income area,' but 'what does it take to start enough businesses to wake up an underperforming market?'"
On the one hand, with a large population surrounding Broadway, and 20,000 commuters traveling it daily, one would think this would be easy pickings for development. But we all know that Target failed on Broadway and other businesses have historically struggled.
Instead of looking to a single "White Knight" to revitalize Broadway, Catalyst went with 10-15 small buildings along much of the corridor; including a coffee shop, credit union, 24/7 daycare, a sit-down restaurant, and KMOJ.
Catalyst has also been committed to hiring women and minorities, and generating jobs locally. One defense (perhaps even excuse) I hear about MnDOT and various trades and labor jobs is that there just aren't enough women and minorities QUALIFIED to do the work, and that's why minority hiring goals aren't met. Somehow, Catalyst has found a way around this issue, although they say it hasn't been easy. They state that over 40% of their hires have been women and minorities.
A few other areas of success have been that their projects so far have been 100% leased by the time they are completed. Let that sink in for a moment...in the midst of the greatest economic depression of our lifetimes (for most of us), their commercial space is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT leased by the time the project is complete.
Much of the buildings that once housed apartment units above retail are now being converted to office space. So the employees who work in those offices who do not live in NoMi will be spending more daytime hours in our community. Having that mix is important because when too many people are away from the community during the typical 9-5 workday, then businesses need to do much more commerce in that 5 pm to 9 pm slot.
It gets even better. Crime is down dramatically at the Catalyst project sites. In fact, at 1101 West Broaday, the site of the Bean Scene and City-County Federal Credit Union, there has not been one incident (knock on wood) of violent crime OR graffiti in the three years since the building opened.
And Catalyst has no plans to dominate the West Broadway market. Their desire is to stimulate it so that others can come in and do business and thrive as well. Is it working? Well, West Broadway is the only commercial corridor IN THE NATION where development is proceeding uninhibited by the economic downturn.
This community is being TRANSFORMED and I am thrilled to be a part of it!