MINNEAPOLIS—This city is one of the most vibrant in the US, but its North Minneapolis neighborhood suffered from disinvestment for years. That has begun to change, mostly with the help of THOR Cos., a hometown firm that made a commitment to the once-neglected area. This Friday, THOR, the state largest black-owned business, will celebrate the opening of its new Regional Acceleration Center, a sleek, glass-and-metal sheathed multi-use building on the southeast corner of the Plymouth and Penn intersection.
The company moved into the $36 million building in July, which will also host other tenants including community and workforce engagement programs. Both Hennepin County and Target Corp. invested in the development as well.
“It’s always been my dream to build up THOR as a successful company and then make its headquarters in North Minneapolis,” says Richard Copeland, founder and chairman of THOR, and a longtime resident of the area. “Just think about it. I started out with a truck and a shovel, and then I went to Metropolitan Economic Development Association for coaching on how to grow my business. And now MEDA is a tenant in our building, and I’m back in business in North Minneapolis again!”
Friday’s event kicks off with a public ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:30 p.m., with State Sen. Bobbie Joe Champion leading the way. Governor Mark Dayton and Brian Cornell, Target’s chief executive officer, are among the speakers. The company will also throw a free public block party along Plymouth Avenue North, closing the street between Newton and Penn Avenues north, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
THOR coined a theme for the party, Imagine North! to highlight the significance of the rebirth of Plymouth and Penn as a business, social and health hub. “It’s a game-changer for the community,” says Ravi Norman, chief executive officer of THOR Cos. “Our building is aptly named the Regional Acceleration Center. We want to play a role, through the building and through our company, in helping speed the process of economic and community revitalization on the Northside, and we want the rest of the world to know that this is a great community – with great neighborhoods, and great opportunities for businesses.”
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