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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday June 16th 2024

Immigration, Growth, Change and Community Maturity


By Harvey Winje 

The large old bakery building on 24th Street between Elliot and 10th Avenues has been converted ino a “Mall” for retailing of about 100 small businesses. The need for such space apparently out-weighs the availability and so too the need for parking to accommodate customers.

The Mall owners have proposed expansion and some parking changes.

It has become a very controversial issue as it affects the lives of residents and visitors to other community places.

Ours is a community of immigration, innovation and change.

Coincidentally two old buildings in Phillips were bakeries owned eventually by the same company, Emrich Bakery, that grew including the buying of other family owned businesses, like Egekvist (founded by two Danish brothers) and McGlynn (founded by an Irish immigrant). One is at 2603 through 2619 Bloomington Avenue””owned by Basim Sabri. The other is at 920 East 24th Street-owned by brother to Basim, Omar Sabri.

Today those two buildings have been converted from bakeries to retail and service centers with one having had a newspaper office and press, beehive company, casket storage, housing contractor, county satellite probation office, and cabinet shop in intervening years.

The business office of one of the bakeries was in the house with its livery stable in the building behind for the horses that pulled the wagons of BAMBY Bakery on house delivery of the Best American Made Bread Yet.

That house/office became a home again 60 years ago of Carl and Helen Peterson.

Both properties went through decades of change as they responded to growth and the economy.

Growth, expansion, and the inherent characteristics continue today as the 8,000 square foot 24th street building”'s owners and vendors contemplate their needs and encounter the regulations of the City of Minneapolis and their impact on surrounding neighbors and their livability issues.

The issues of livability affect neighbor”'s more closer by than blocks away. Some neighbors are closer to the site who live in a different Neighborhood than that in which the Mall is located. East 24st is the boundary between Ventura Village and Midtown Phillips. Impact of traffic doesn”'t differentiate between arbitrary political borders.

Neither does the StarTribune whose recent local coverage only referred once to a Neighborhood organization and that was Midown””across the street from the Mall. The nuances of those differences are too sophisticated for some media but they are important to political protocols. Nonetheless the neighbors work at working together on some issues that have an effect on all regardless if they live in Ventura Village, Phillips West, Midtown Phillips, or East Phillips””all of which are within Phillips Community which is a Planning District.

Midtown Phillips voted as an organization to oppose the expansion. Ventura Village voted to “ support the expansion of the 24th Street mall contingent on solving the parking and traffic problems on surrounding residential streets and that approval also be contingent on continued elimination of parking and traffic problems that are subject to ongoing review.”

Individuals may differ in their viewpoints from their respective organizations”' positions. This is expected, acknowledged and welcomed. Some such background is provided below by two residents from different neighborhoods.

Phillips resident Jim Graham who recalls some of the early process of reuse of this empty building.

The Mall owners proposal to the the City was denied by the Planning Commission on Monday May 19th with a recommendation for owners to further study neighborhood impact and they did approve a rezoning plan that would allow extra parking spaces and restricted use of an alley. City Planning Staff had supported the project.

Phillips resident Tara Beard provides below the clue to how neighbors can interact with agreeing and disagreeing while maintaining a great deal of noble confidence and personal and communal self-esteem.

This article is reprinted.  To read the articles by Jim Graham and Tara Beard see or hard copy June 2014.

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