Brooklyn Center’s Shingle Creek Center is under new ownership. The strip mall, across the street from the Hennepin County Regional Center, now belongs to African Career Education & Resources Inc. (ACER) and the Ignite Business Women Investment Group.
The two entities closed on the $5.2 million purchase of the property on Oct. 13, buying it from BPC Shingle Creek Holdings, a Delaware registered LLC based in Encino, California.
ACER is a Brooklyn Park based nonprofit that works on connecting people of color, especially Black immigrants and refugees, to resources such as affordable housing, employment opportunities and education.
IBWIG came into existence in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when 32 African immigrant women business owners who were facing rent increases, evictions and poor landlord practices came together and formed a Real Estate Investment Cooperative.
According to U.S. Census data, as of July 2022, people who identify themselves as Black or African American make up 31.5% in Brooklyn Center, and 29.8% in neighboring Brooklyn Park, making them the single largest minority group. African immigrants call the two cities “Little Africa.”
“We came together because we believe that, by bridging our businesses, we can create wealth, change lives, and build a larger market audience,” said Jannie Seibure, manager of Cavalla Travel, a member of IBWIG. “This purchase proves that we can do anything, if we stick to it long enough.”
ACER and IBWIG closed on the property in October and have taken possession of the entire strip mall with the exception of where the former Brooklyn Center Target store stands. The empty Target store is under the ownership of the city.
With the newly acquired property, ACER and IBWIG plan to transform the strip mall into a destination hub of small and commercial spaces for the region’s microbusinesses. Businesses and tenants currently housed within the Shingle Creek Center will not be affected.
There are 16 commercial units in the strip mall and only four vacancies and on track to have all of the nearly 40,000 square feet leasable space taken up.
Ms. Denise Butler, associate director of ACER, told Mshale her organization’s offices will move its headquarters from neighboring Brooklyn Park and occupy one of the four vacant spaces at the mall in the spring of 2024. IBWIG will also have a home at the mall.
ACER, which as part of its mission is the provision of technical assistance to BIPOC-owned small and microbusinesses, plans to establish a small business incubation center at the mall once it moves in.
“We know that it’s not enough for our businesses to have access to commercial spaces — we need to have control of those spaces ourselves so we can be the architects of our own economic futures,” Butler said.