The gentrification that is in process in South Minneapolis is growing and ever apparent. The building our business and community organizations we are stakeholders in are in is now on its third owner in just three months. The price of the building increased by over $100,000 with each flip of the building ownership and now the price has gone up again. This building was listed at $250,000 at the beginning of 2017 and now less than 12 months later is being quoted at $525,000, more than doubling in price. This of course affects us directly because with each turn over, rent increases. Our future in this building that we and so many others have invested our lives into is even more unstable as we don't have a clear picture of what the new owner intends for us or the building. We only secured a 12 month lease. We need to buy a building that community can have confidence will continue to be there for and with them. We need funding sources for long term, stable ownership. Anyone out there got half a million they wanna donate?
The predatory building and home buying that is happening, i.e. offering lower than market value to struggling owners, is changing our neighborhoods. If there were real accessible programs available for current owners of commercial and residential properties, and current business owners, we could help long term residents and business owners stay in the neighborhood. Instead, those folks are forced out by rising property taxes, predatory development corporations, foreclosures, etc. and new folks move in.
The city does have several programs for business owners and for property owners, but they are hard to find and access. The programs also don't often compliment one another, or make it easy to even collaborate between business owners and landlords.
The process of owning and running a business is quite stressful. When, as a business owner, you are unsure about the longevity of the space your renting for your business it makes it almost impossible to plan for the future.
Development or redevelopment is not a bad thing. The displacement of residents and business by those developers is tragic. The lack of sharing of the development derived resources that come into the neighborhood with the existing communities in that neighborhood, is gentrification. The solution to the food desert in our neighborhood was a coop, which is more expensive to shop at and inaccessible for many. The coop received millions from the government to open and run, but yet the long standing food shelf across the street from the coop often doesn't have fresh food available for most of the community of folks who cannot afford to shop at a generic grocery store let alone an organic coop. That's so messed up.
Even the writing of this response has proven difficult for us. It brings up fear, anxiety, feelings of not being in control of our business, uncertainty about the future and frustration because we don't have the resource to just buy our spot. It brings up the reality that unless you have a boatload of money or great credit that you are at the mercy of those who don't really care about you, your home, your business, or the people you serve and live in community with.
Roxanne Anderson and Anna Meyer, co-owners of Café Southside, are both life and business partners. Recently, Roxanne and Anna announced that Cafe SouthSide would close on Friday, February 23, 2018. In a statement from Roxanne and Anna they note, “We have been trying for months to negotiate a fair and equitable agreement with the building owner. After years of beautiful connections, artful expressions, happy reunions, resistance, healing, community connections AND sub-par space accommodations, property turn over and gentrification we have decided to refocus our energies and efforts.”
Roxanne Anderson aka DJDaddyRocks is a local broadcast journalist who's been on the airwaves of KFAI Radio’s Fresh Fruit since the late 90’s. Rox is also a community organizer who’s been working in social service for some 25 years and is an award activist - 2016 Co-Grand Marshal for Twin Cities Pride, honored by the University of Minnesota with a Community Excellence Award, Lavender Magazine’s 100 Fab Community Organizer Award, Twin Cities Black Pride Community Service Award for Diversity and Inclusion. Rox has been featured in Curve magazine, Lavender Magazine, Star Tribune, The Column, Rolling Stone and several Radio and TV stations for their community leadership and activism. Currently Roxanne is the Board Chair for the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition, co-owner of Cafe SouthSide, the co-founder and director of RARE Productions, a multimedia arts and entertainment company focusing on producing and promoting queer artists of color. Rox is a skilled and highly sought facilitator and is a parent, producer, promoter, DJ and likes to write and take pictures, and is a SouthSider for LIFE!!!
Anna Meyer is a light skinned mixed race queer femme who lives, works and loves in South Minneapolis. Anna has been working in local and national LGBTQ and POCI communities for over two decades. She spent over 15 years working with youth and families experiencing homelessness in the Twin Cities and in Washington DC. She has worked for equity and supported community in a variety of movements, organizations and methods throughout the years. She is skilled in creating, supporting and holding space for folks to be seen, supported and resourced with a harm reduction based holistic framework. She has been an advocate with and for youth, people of color and indigenous people, queer, trans and gender non conforming folks. She is the Co-Owner of Cafe SouthSide, works with RARE Productions and is focused on healing within our communities. Anna also helps organize sex positive education and events for the POCI kinky communities. She is an artist and is a fierce believer of art and expression as revolution and survival. Anna loves to spend time in the woods, by the water and with her two rescued pitbulls.