2011. An Idea is Born.
NEIC was founded by a small group of community members who were tired of looking at poorly used property in their neighborhood and waiting for traditional developers to fix it. So they decided to do something about it. They envisioned a way for community members to become owners and investors in a real estate development cooperative that would buy and rehab properties in their community.
In November of 2011, NEIC was incorporated as a cooperative under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 308A. The year ended with a group of 39 founding members willing to go out on a limb to change their community.
2012. A Big Step.
In March of 2012, NEIC's founding member-owners elected a board of directors and adopted bylaws. In the spring, NEIC was approached by Recovery Bike Shop about potentially partnering on a renovation project on Central Avenue. At the same time, a vacant and former hardware store and furniture store came on the market near the corner of Central Avenue and Lowry Avenue. By July of 2012 NEIC was actively pursuing the property at 2504/2506 Central Avenue.
As the project evolved both NEIC and Recovery Bike Shop realized the project was too large for anyone organization to tackle. To make the project possible both groups agreed that Recovery Bike Shop would purchase 2504 Central Ave and NEIC would purchase 2506 Central Avenue. By the end of 2012, NEIC had a signed purchase agreement and a total of 90 member-owners committed to the project.
In January of 2013, NEIC authorized the creation of Class C & D shares to help raise capital for the 2506 project. NEIC retained McMonigal Architects to complete the design and plans for the project. With a purchase order in hand, NEIC began the process of recruiting additional members and finding potential tenants. By the end of 2013, NEIC had hired a contractor, begun demolition at 2506 Central Avenue, signed leases with Fair State Brewing Cooperative and Aki’s Breadhaus, and had a total of 175 member owners.
2014 was landmark year for NEIC. With the help of countless professionals who provided project management, legal, and real estate services, construction was completed and our tenants opened for business. What started with a vacant, underutilized property ended with three thriving, local businesses and more than 25 new jobs. Although there were bumps along the way, all the hard work and dedication of everyone involved resulted in transformation of part of the community and confirmation of an idea three years in the making.
2015. Proof of Concept.
With its first project complete, NEIC proved that the concept of cooperatively driven development was a sustainable business model with its first profitable year. Because of that NEIC as able to allocate a 4.17% return on membership A‐shares and authorized payment of 2.0% and 4.0% dividends on nonvoting preferred C&D shares. Not only did members investments help transform a once vacant storefront but they were rewarded with a financial return on their investment. NEIC was also the recipient of a $25,000 McKnight Foundation Grant for startup costs related to project number two. With the momentum from the first project behind us, NEIC worked hard to find another project.
2016. The Next Chapter.
NEIC made finding another project a priority 2016. Members of the Board and volunteers toured numerous properties and refined our process for analyzing developments. By the end of the year we had closed on 1601 37th Ave NE and started our second project.
2017. Rehabbing and Almost Leasing.
In 2017, NEIC took on its second project outside NE Minneapolis. The building is across the street in Columbia Heights and NEIC ever so slightly expanded its service area. With rising real estate prices in Northeast Minneapolis, NEIC has had to push the boundaries to find transformative properties that can yield a return to its members. The year was spent renovating 1601 37th Ave both inside and out and courting possible tenants. Although we had many close calls and nearly leased the building to several tenants it wasn't meant to be.
2018. Preparing for Sale and Listing.
In 2018 the NEIC board elected to list 1601 37th Ave for sale with the hopes of selling the building to an independent small business owner. NEIC would not be where it is today without the hard work and dedication from countless people. We appreciate every member, every volunteer, and every Northeast Minneapolis business who made an investment in NEIC and helped transform our community, one property at a time.