Future affordable housing lost due to flames during Minneapolis riot

The apartment complex under construction in south Minneapolis that burned Wednesday night and into Thursday morning was a mixed-use development which would have provided affordable housing for the area.

The site of Midtown Corner is in the former Rainbow Foods parking lot located at East Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue. Flames ripped through the wood-framed, six-story building Wednesday night and could be seen for several city blocks well into the morning hours. 

The fire started during protests in response to the death of George Floyd who was killed Monday night after Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin forced his knee on the neck of Floyd for several minutes during his arrest. 

According to the developer, Wellington Management, the project began this fall and was set to be completed next spring. 

The plans called for 189 apartments, including 38 affordable units. The project also included ground floor retail space. 

A spokesperson for Hennepin County said $200,000 in public dollars were set aside for the project to support transit-orientated development. The money would have been used for things such as utilities, lighting, bike trails and storm-water infrastructure.

The developer said it was too early to know what future plans might be for the site.

A press release from the Minneapolis Fire Department stated it responded to about 30 fires Wednesday night, including at least 16 structure fires, adding that “the causes of the fires were intention.”