Lifting Up Lake Street

This past year was among the most challenging in living memory for Minneapolis. Our neighbors, tenants, business partners and broader community were put under immense strain when faced with escalating public health and economic crises. The weeks following Memorial Day 2020 brought another wave of confusion and pain for us all to weather. Lake Street quickly became the epicenter of the protests and riots as our neighbors — along with so many visitors and others watching on live feeds around the world — mourned the loss of community member George Floyd.

As events played out, neighborhood assets were looted, devastated and, at times, totaled by the fires on Lake Street and in other parts of the metro. On the second day of protests, members of the Wellington team attempted to secure the Midtown Corner construction site and warned authorities of the apartment building’s vulnerable state. That night, they watched as the wood-framed structure went up in flames like a giant tinderbox. As the unrest persisted, two more Wellington-owned properties burned to the ground nearby.

Read leadership’s notes to the team on May 28 & 29 addressing these events, followed by progress updates.

Hundreds of buildings suffered a similar fate along our cultural hubs of Lake Street, West Broadway and University Avenue. Thankfully, no one was injured at our properties during these sad days. Our buildings are well-insured and our tireless team has stepped up to expedite reconstruction. We have been working along the Lake & Hiawatha corridors since 2004, and these events have done nothing but draw us closer to our South Minneapolis community. Wellington believes strongly in the neighborhood and its ability to recover.

In the end, buildings can be replaced, but human life cannot. These places must be rebuilt expeditiously so that people can do business and the community can thrive once more. Today, the grocery stores in Wellington’s buildings are open again, and Hi-Lake Shopping Center will be fully restored by late spring. Midtown Corner is anticipated to open later this fall and help fill a clear need in the Minneapolis housing market.

Still, this rebuild is only the first step. We remain committed to standing by our neighbors for the long haul and building on the decades of work that we have invested along Lake Street, West Broadway and University Avenue to keep our communities vibrant, diverse and resilient.