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Years after it was destroyed, Minneapolis' Coliseum building reopens in "game changing" redevelopment

Coliseum building in Minneapolis reopens with renovations after burning during 2020 unrest
Coliseum building in Minneapolis reopens with renovations after burning during 2020 unrest 02:07

MINNEAPOLIS — Hours before Juneteenth events began in south Minneapolis Wednesday, people in the Longfellow neighborhood already had reason to celebrate.

In a crowd of dignitaries, including Rep. Ilhan Omar, Gov. Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, the community took a major step towards redevelopment.

Nearly four years to the day after the Coliseum building was destroyed during the unrest of 2020, it opened its doors once more.

The 85,000 square foot mixed-use building will now be home to a restaurant, event space, and small business incubator.

"I'm elated, overwhelmed, but also humbled and proud," said Project Manager Taylor Smrikarova following Wednesday's ribbon cutting.

The development represents hope to the Lake and Minnehaha corridor, she says. While companies like Cub Foods, Aldi and Wendy's have returned to the area with new builds, this project is community based. Smrikarova is hopeful it will be a catalyst for more similar projects.


"When lenders see a proven project, then this entire zip code becomes that much more palatably and more possible," she said. "Because downtown Longfellow, which is what this intersection is known for, has a lot of vacant land at this point, because those buildings didn't survive. This is a building that has survived, and has been renovated, and it provides people with hope, and says it is possible, it can be done, and that this community hasn't been forgotten."

Wednesday morning's kickoff coincided with Juneteenth celebrations – purposeful in execution.

"This building is ours, we own it, but it's really okay if people have ownership," said Janice Downing, a part-owner of the new Coliseum, as well as a future tenant. "Being able to imagine next year's Juneteenth, we're going to welcome in another building restoration, and then the year after that, another building restoration. That's my mindset."

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