Client Spotlight on Redesign: Community Developers

Client Spotlight on Redesign

Attorneys: John Saunders and Abby Pettit

The work of Avisen Legal Clients Chris Romano, Executive Director, and Taylor Smrikarova, Project Manager of Redesign Community Developers is never ending.

Redesign has been making quite an impact in the Seward and Greater Longfellow neighborhoods of South Minneapolis. Residents have Redesign to thank for its leadership in housing and commercial real estate development including notable projects like the purchase and redevelopment of the Coliseum building in Minneapolis, an 80,000 square-foot building that will be transformed into an affordable and inclusive space for local businesses and members of the community.

More recently, Redesign helped entrepreneurs Pinky and Samir Patel rebuild Elite Cleaners when their building was destroyed during the riots following George Floyd’s murder.  Redesign will also redevelop a 2.4-acre riot-damaged site donated by US Bank to build affordable housing, commercial businesses, and cultural organizations.

We sat down with Chris and Taylor to learn more about Redesign, and to have them answer some questions for us.

Q.  How does redesign engage in the community to identify housing and commercial redevelopment projects?

Believe it or not, Redesign has been part of the fabric of South Minneapolis for over 50 years. As a neighborhood-based nonprofit Community Development Corporation (CDC), Redesign engages residents and businesses to reimagine their local area to create jobs, affordable housing, and a vibrant and thriving business economy.

Our outreach focuses on coalition building with BIPOC business owners, property owners and residents with a common goal of making their communities inclusive and welcoming to residents and visitors.

Q.  Specifically who do you currently work with?

We own anywhere from 7-9 commercial buildings that house around 50 tenants. Over 80% of our tenants are immigrants, women, and members of the BIPOC community. We also provide over 900 affordable housing units for local area residents.

Q.  What is the secret of your success?

At Redesign, we are imbedded in the community. We have a presence all day, every day. Our offices are in the neighborhoods we serve, and our board is comprised of local residents.  We have deep relationship connections who like us, care about the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods. We deeply value the trusted relationships we have built over the many years of our work in the local communities we serve.

Q.  What is a recent example of a success story?

Through our equitable development approach, we are successfully working on many projects including:

A quick visit to the Redesign Community Developers website will allow you to see the impressive impact Redesign is having on projects that support affordable housing, commercial real estate, business development, and community planning projects Redesign has been involved in.

Q.  As your lawyers, how has the team at Avisen Legal help you live your mission?

Attorneys John Saunders and Abby Pettit have been trusting and important partners to us. They are responsive and professional and have a unique ability to simplify complex problems into action items that make sense. Some lawyers offer complex solutions that take a lot of legal time to implement. We have found John and Abby’s abilities to provide simple and efficient solutions to be invaluable. They focus on understanding what we need in a way that shows they put us first and make recommendations by putting themselves in our shoes.

Probably most important to us is that John and Abby truly value the work that Redesign does. They are committed to our values and mission, and that shows in everything they do for us. We’re a small organization and work really hard. Like everyone, we have our good days and bad days that sometimes feel like we are pushing a rock up the side of a mountain. In short, John and Abby make the darker days less dark.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
John Saunders

John Saunders

I am an experienced real estate and business attorney and focus my practice on advising business owners and licensed professionals including dental practices with succession planning and transitions as well as their general corporate matters. Read John's Bio.

Related Posts