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A $250,000 state grant will kick off efforts to turn a 7,500-square-foot building into an anchor for the 38th Street "Thrive" Cultural District, a south Minneapolis corridor that's long been home to Black-owned businesses.

The vacant building sits at the corner of E. 38th St. and 4th Av. S., but some day could be workshop space for entrepreneurs in the food business and an event space for community gatherings, said Anthony Taylor, a consultant helping with the project.

"That whole corner was a Black business district," said Taylor, whose relatives own the building. The grant will go to the Cultural Wellness Center, a nonprofit that co-owns the Midtown Global Market, which has chosen the architectural firm 4RM+ULA as its partner on the project. The building was donated by Freeman Waynewood, the CEO of Kingfield Family Dental.

The grant money was included in the recently passed bonding bill. It will launch a $5 million private fundraising campaign for the building's renovation, said Cultural Wellness Center Executive Director Atum Azzahir.

The project's name, Dreamland on 38th, is a nod to the building's history, having once been the Dreamland Cafe. Opened in 1937, the restaurant was a cornerstone of the south Minneapolis Black community.

Planning for the Dreamland site was well underway when George Floyd was killed in May on East 38th Street about six blocks away.

Matt McKinney • 612-673-7329