Has Love MPLS purchased Merwin Liquors?

  • Love MPLS does not own Merwin Liquors.  Love MPLS had a signed purchase agreement with Merwin Liquors from August 2021 through June 2022.  Love MPLS was unable to close due to one central unmet contingency–Merwin Liquors needs to find a viable relocation site in Minneapolis and has been unable to do so due to the ordinances and zoning laws which dictate where a liquor store may relocate.  It is still Love MPLS’s desire to purchase the property so that the corner of Lyndale and Broadway may be transformed in a way that will bring new life to North Minneapolis.

What is the story behind the Love MPLS Art Garden?

  • To address the violence in the Merwin lot that often accompanies warmer weather, Love MPLS applied for and won a grant from the Office of Violence Prevention.  Merwin Liquors has permitted Love MPLS to put a security plan in place which involves:
    • Closing the Broadway entrance/exit to the lot
    • Adding 100 feet of raised garden beds and 16 concrete planters in order to decrease the Merwin parking lot by 50% (to reduce loitering, speeding, and illicit activity)
    • Hiring artists to paint all of the planters and garden beds
    • Hiring 4 Step Up interns to grow the produce and prepare it for free distribution at the Haven Pantry
    • Adding $20K of new lighting to increase safety at night
    • Adding 2 new video cameras to increase safety

What is the relationship between Love MPLS and the Sanctuary?

  • Love MPLS seeks to partner with a wide range of groups, corporations and foundations that align with the mission of bringing healing and economic opportunity to North Minneapolis. We were founded in 2020, as a sister organization to The Sanctuary Covenant Church. Spurred by the church’s efforts to address community insecurities around food and other household goods resulting from that summer’s civil unrest, there was an opportunity to reimagine life near the intersection of West Broadway and Lyndale in North Minneapolis.
  • Love MPLS was established as a separate, non-religious entity with its own Board of Directors and leadership structure. The early work of Love Minneapolis has been in partnership with The Sanctuary Covenant Church, which currently owns a significant part of the property on West Broadway between Lyndale and Aldrich Avenues and is aligned with the goal of reimagining, redeveloping, and bringing healing and opportunity to that block and the broader community.

What is the Mission of Love MPLS?

  • The mission of Love Minneapolis, Inc. is to be a catalyst for healing and economic transformation in North Minneapolis, beginning with the corner of Broadway and Lyndale Avenues. As a Northside organization, we partner with the people and other organizations of this community to reimagine what life on the Northside of Minneapolis can be for us as residents, workers, current & future leaders.

What is the Vision of Love MPLS?

Together, we are becoming a more just, well connected, safe community where Black and Brown people are thriving, prospering, and building generational wealth.

Should Love MPLS purchase Merwin Liquors, what is the vision for how the space will be developed?

  • This opportunity is a huge opportunity to bless North Minneapolis by fundamentally changing one of the major intersections in the entire city! We’re not simply acquiring a building, we are gaining site control of the property, which gives us the opportunity to reimagine the entire block! When we acquire Merwin Liquors, we will have site control over the front field, the parking lot, and the Sanctuary Resource Center/former Merwin building. The best name for this first phase is Acquisition. Phase two of the project is what we’d call Pre-Development. The goal of this phase would be to undergo an extensive community engagement process to hear from our Northside neighbors, from our congregation, and from other community partners in various sectors about what we need and how future development of this corner can aid in meeting those needs. We would re-envision the entire block. From there, in the pre-development stage, we would vet and determine who the best partners would be to join with us in the work of the third and final stage, Development. Love Minneapolis, nor the Sanctuary will assume costs for future development on the corner. We will be looking to find the right development partners to join us. Our primary “skin in the game” will be the property itself.
  • During the community development and subsequent construction phase, we will put in place an interim plan that addresses safety needs on the property (addressing the loitering and other problematic uses that currently happen) and helps us use the expanded space for further ministry.

Those plans include the expansion of our resource center, allowing us to bring drug and alcohol counseling, expanded youth programming, and job creation opportunities to this central location. His hopes for the broader development on the corner is that we would be a part of transforming this corner into a true sanctuary, a place of healing, hope, and community building where Northsiders and others from around the city gather throughout the week and on Sundays!