Community Dividend

Fed Governor Duke tours Minneapolis marketplaces

On a recent visit, Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke toured two culturally diverse marketplaces that have helped revitalize their surrounding neighborhoods.

Published July 1, 2010  | July 2010 issue

On April 15, the Minneapolis Fed's Community Affairs team had the honor of hosting a community development meeting and tour for Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke, who was making her first official visit to the Ninth District since her appointment to the Federal Reserve Board in August 2008.

During her visit, the governor engaged in a roundtable discussion with a group of Twin Cities community bankers and small business development practitioners. The discussion centered on the challenges and outlook for small business lending and community development financing in the current economic climate. Participants included Mihailo Temali, President and CEO, Neighborhood Development Center; Mary Mathews, President, Northeast Entrepreneur Fund; David Chapman, Director of Lending and Operations, Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers; Julie Causey, Chair, Western Bank; Yvonne Cheung Ho, President and CEO, Metropolitan Economic Development Association; and several representatives from the Minneapolis Fed.

Following the roundtable meeting, Temali led Governor Duke on a tour of two culturally diverse marketplaces that have helped revitalize East Lake Street, a once-blighted commercial corridor in south central Minneapolis.

The first stop on the tour was Midtown Global Market, an international-themed public marketplace featuring nearly 40 vendors from 25 countries. The market offers restaurants, grocery stores, and an eclectic mix of gift and apparel shops, and it frequently hosts cultural events, musical performances, and community meetings. Midtown Global Market is located on the first floor of the Midtown Exchange, a massive building that served as a Sears distribution center until the company abandoned the site in 1994. After a decade of vacancy, the building underwent a $190 million redevelopment led by the Latino Economic Development Center, Neighborhood Development Center, African Development Center, Powderhorn Phillips Cultural Wellness Center, and Ryan Companies. The site opened as a mixed-use retail, housing, and office complex in June 2006.

Next, Governor Duke traveled farther east along Lake Street and toured Mercado Central, a Latin American marketplace and community gathering space located at a formerly crime-ridden intersection. Mercado Central was created in 1999 through a partnership among the local Latino community, Project for Pride in Living, Whittier Community Development Corporation, and Neighborhood Development Center. The complex houses more than 40 businesses, including restaurants, shops, a bakery, an accounting firm, and a beauty salon.

Combined, Midtown Global Market and Mercado Central have created nearly 350 jobs and generated more than $30 million in total sales. And as Governor Duke saw on her visit, the two marketplaces are vibrant, inviting spaces where people can eat, shop, and gather.

Photo Gallery: Images from Governor Elizabeth Duke's visit to the Ninth District