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North Minneapolis DEI leader to purchase, transform 68,000 sq. ft. building for businesses

North Minneapolis DEI leader to purchase, transform 68,000 sq. ft. building for businesses
North Minneapolis DEI leader to purchase, transform 68,000 sq. ft. building for businesses 03:10

MINNEAPOLIS -- A local speaker, activist and business owner is crafting a path for other North Minneapolis businesses to grow and be discovered.

For years, Jesse Ross has called North Minneapolis home. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) leader is also a real-estate developer and the brains behind the Wealth Re-Distribution Project. The initiative aims to provide a home for Black, Brown, Indigenous and Women-owned businesses to grow in North Minneapolis.

"We moved to North Minneapolis when I was a baby. My house is actually less than a mile away from this location," Ross said. "A community that I feel like is one of the most overlooked and under resourced communities in the country, but one of the most vibrant and rich communities I've ever been in in my whole life."

Ross is purchasing the 68,000-square-foot building located at 2518 North Second Street. Right now, funding is secured for all but 5% of the multi-million dollar project with plans to close on the property by the end of the year.

The building is located less than half a mile from the North Loop and half a mile south of Upper Harbor Re-development. The re-development is a partnership initiative between the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.

"In the next 10 years there will be tons of people, probably hundreds of thousands of people that will drive right by this space and this could be the potential missing middle," Ross said of the building near 26th Avenue and 2nd Street.

He said small business owners can benefit from that potential.

"Creating ownership in a space that's in the middle of those two vibrant geographic locations I think is very important for those business owners, for the residents and for everybody who is to come," Ross said. "I do feel responsible for making sure that I'm a good steward of my resources but also that other people are a good steward of their opportunities to contribute resources."

Ross described himself as a connector.

"So many people in a lot of the DEI work that I do ... have said to me, 'I don't know what to do. I wish I could do more. Our company should be doing more.' Here is a practical opportunity . There will be businesses here. There will be people here. There will be bills that need to be paid as well," Ross said. "Opportunities for companies, for institutions, for people to just say ... 'Hey I really want to do something and here's somebody like Jesse who is creating a platform."

The business owner plans to transform 2518 North Second Street into a commercial rental and event space. Renovations are expected to begin in 2023 and take six months to complete. A summer soft opening will follow. For more information, click here for details.

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