MINNEAPOLIS — There's a long history dating back to the 1930s of what's known as redlining, which involved denying lending and financial investments in predominantly Black neighborhoods.
It ended in the late 60s under the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
That history has weighed heavily on the heart of north Minneapolis native and entrepreneur Jesse Ross.
"As a kid, growing up in this neighborhood, riding my bike up and down this street or the corridor, I never thought or dreamed or imagined that I could own a space, period -- let alone this big," said Ross.
Those unimaginable ideas are now becoming Ross' reality in a building seated at the intersection of North Second Street and 26th Avenue North.
A space that is part of Ross' "Wealth Redistribution Project."
"Creating opportunities for ownership amongst people who are from north Minneapolis, Black and Brown businesses, women-owned businesses, they need a space to be able to do their work to be able to kind of build, grow and scale their spaces," explained Ross.
A need Ross says, energized by a shifting job market after mass layoffs during the pandemic.
"The need is high but the opportunity or the space to do that inside a commercial space, but also commercial space that's owned by somebody that looks like them, is almost unheard of."
The 68,000-square-foot facility will house 15 to 20 BIPOC-owned businesses, and will also include event space for things like weddings and conferences.
All for the purchase price of $3.8 million.
Helping with the down payment are several local corporations, and even the city of Minneapolis, in the form of grants.
"We're right there, we're almost at the end so we are about five percent, a little less than five percent away from our goal of raising $300,000 to make sure that this happens," said Ross.
An investment reaching far beyond dreams once thought unattainable.
"My dream is that literally that it would be a place where everybody can come together and see each other succeed and we all kind of move along together."
Ross and his team plan to close on the property at the end of the month, and hope to be in full operation by spring.
To learn more about the project or to donate, click here.
This story aired in part of our new segment "Lifting Voices," where we aim to hear from Minnesotans underrepresented in traditional media.
If you have a story idea that would lift up the voices of others, you can email them to us at email@example.com.
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