Brooklyn Center Strip Mall To Become Small Business Center
A Brooklyn Park-based nonprofit and a business cooperative hope to bring good news to the Brooklyn Center business community.
African Career, Education and Resources Inc. (ACER) and the Ignite Businesswomen Investment Group Cooperative (IBWIG), two Black women-led organizations, have plans to buy the Shingle Creek Center mall in Brooklyn Center. The two mall buildings are next to the shuttered Brooklyn Center Target.
The closure of the Brooklyn Center Walmart in April 2023 left the community with large vacant commercials spaces.
“People really started questioning our community, whether it was a good place to continue living in, or whether it was a good place to continue doing business in,” said Nelima Sitati Munene, executive director of ACER.
Likewise, business population began to dwindle at the Shingle Creek Center mall, she said.
“We realized businesses were closing, you know, and vacating that mall strip,” Sitati Munene said.
And while large commercial buildings sat vacant, there were relatively few small commercial storefront spaces for the city’s budding entrepreneurs.
As a result, Sitati Munene said that ACER began searching for a space to build a small business incubation center. They eventually landed on the Shingle Creek Center mall.
“It is a mall strip that has been central in our community,” Sitati Munene said.
The building will offer smaller retail and commercial spaces for the region’s micro-businesses that have struggled to find a permanent home, according to Sitati Munene.
“A lot of our micro businesses don’t need 2,000 square-feet,” Sitati Munene said.
With funding from the community and grant funds, among other financing sources, the $5.2 million real estate purchase is expected to close next week.
With additional closing costs and other expenses, the total costs for the deal are expected to be around $5.5 million.
After closing, the partnership will have own both the 6000 and 6050 Shingle Creek Pkwy. buildings. They will have 18 leasable units with 39,178 square feet of total leasable space.
New Businesses at Brooklyn Center’s Opportunity Site
The mall will continue to house its existing tenants, as well as an estimated 27 businesses from the the IBWIG cooperative.
ACER also expects to move from its offices at 6800 78th Ave. N. to the mall.
From the site they’ll offer a business resource center with small business technical assistance programming.
They will also offer affordable rental space, and an opportunity for cooperative members to own a piece of the building.
“I think the only challenge we’ll have to be honest with you is we’re not going to be able to fit in everybody,” Sitati Munene said.
The city has plans to redevelop large portions of the site, creating a new city center with housing, commercial development and a park.
“We’re excited about being there and being in the mix of things,” Sitati Munene said.
The project is giving giving tenants a chance to not only build wealth, but to also change the narrative that Brooklyn Center isn’t a good place to build a business.
“To be honest we view it as, you know, putting a stick in the ground to say that, you know, this is our community, we’re not going to run away from it,” Sitati Munene said. “We’re really sending a message that we’re still open for business, we should be invested in.”