Coalition hopes to give Lake Street's Coliseum Building new life

·1 min read

A century-old building vacated by tenants after the unrest and riots that followed George Floyd's death last year is poised to get new life.

A group of buyers, including Seward Redesign, has secured purchase of the Coliseum Building at 2700 E. Lake Street for about $2 million, according to Taylor Cooper, lead project manager at the local development nonprofit.

The buyers want to make it a neighborhood hub for businesses owned by people of color, immigrants and women. The purchase comes as Minneapolis approaches the Tuesday anniversary of Floyd's death in police custody and the rioting that destroyed many buildings on Lake Street. The Coliseum was one of the few structures in the area left standing after the unrest.

"The Coliseum is one of the most consequential buildings on East Lake Street that is still standing," Cooper said. "We really want it to be an example of a new way of doing things and a new way of equitable development."

Historically, the 70,000-square-foot building has housed ballrooms and barbershops and at one point was a department store. Most recently, it housed businesses largely owned by minority entrepreneurs.

The group is looking for more financial backing for a renovation. It hopes to not only house businesses that were displaced, but also other minority-owned establishments. The aim is to keep rent affordable.

"What we want to do is to bring it back online and let it live a fourth life," Cooper said. "What the neighborhood is telling us is that they want to show up and have a space that's welcoming to them. That they can be prideful of because it's their space."

Alex Chhith • 612-673-4759