Skip to Content

In the News

Sun Post: Klobuchar, Phillips laud small business center after $1M federal allocation

Two members of Minnesota’s federal legislative delegation visited Brooklyn Park March 19 to celebrate new financing for the Small Business Development and Acceleration Center project, which is being constructed in the Northwind Plaza mall. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Dean Phillips spoke in front of the mall, located at the corner of West Broadway and Brooklyn Boulevard, after the project was recently allocated $1 million in federal funding through the omnibus budget bill. 

This comes after Brooklyn Park purchased the mall last summer for approximately $7.3 million with the intent to convert a portion of it into affordable rental and retail space for the city’s emerging small businesses. 

“We all know that small businesses were really hit hard during the pandemic,” Klobuchar said. “It’s a place where local entrepreneurs who are just getting off the ground will be able to get space and technical help so that they can turn their ideas into action.” 

The business center ought to provide a more level playing field for those who traditionally face structural barriers when starting a business, Phillips said. 

“I recognize that our job in government is not to give people advantage over others, it’s to ensure that everybody has the same opportunity, and there are too many people in our community, especially communities of color, women, veterans, who face structural challenges, especially those that wish to become entrepreneurs,” he said. “I was thrilled to go to bat along with Sen. Klobuchar and get it done.” 

Daniela Lorenz, business development coordinator for Brooklyn Park, called the project “critical to the economic success of the city.” 

Considering Brooklyn Park’s diverse business population, the goal of the space is to ensure that all business owners and entrepreneurs feel welcome and supported by the project, Lorenz said. 

“You can’t tell right now, but what’s behind us is going to turn into something really amazing for many, many individuals, many small businesses, many people who don’t even know yet that they’re going to a business owner,” said Mayor Lisa Jacobson. 

Meanwhile, the City Council, acting as the Economic Development Authority, moved ahead with plans to request construction bids to remodel the space.  The construction budget is set at approximately $3.6 million.  In the 27,000 square-foot business center, approximately 5,000 square feet will be reserved for retail space. 

The remaining space have a mix of permanent and movable desks, offices, meeting rooms and training spaces, all housed within movable and flexible walls. “We do already have a list of interested tenants,” Lorenz said. 

The facility should be able to house approximately 60 businesses in larger, more permanent forms, while flexible drop-in spaces will allow for an almost “unlimited” numbers of users, she said. 

Klobuchar, Phillips laud small business center after $1M federal allocation 
March 30, 2022, Sun Post