Roof Depot proposal in limbo after legislative session ends

A community’s dream to revitalize south Minneapolis’ vacant Roof Depot warehouse is currently in limbo.

In September, the city approved the framework for a potential sale of the property to the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI), which plans to turn it into an urban farm. Under that deal, the EPNI had to raise $3.7 million to pair with state funds to complete the $15.9 million deal.

Last session, the Minnesota Legislature approved $2 million to go towards a deposit on the sale. If the EPNI could raise its portion of the money, lawmakers promised to put up the remainder of the funds for the site, $5.7 million, during this year’s legislative session.

The deal would have been set to close in July 2024.

Only this year’s legislative session ended on Sunday, before lawmakers passed a bill to allocate the final earmarked dollars.

"It was agonizing to watch it. It’s like watching the team lose in seconds," EPNI Board President Dean Dovolis told FOX 9. "The portion that didn’t make it across the finish line is $5.7 million."

Still, Dovolis isn’t worried. He says after the legislative session ended, his phone started to blow up, and a plan b quickly took shape.

"I can’t get too specific, because I have to make sure the meal is cooked before I serve it," Dovolis told FOX 9. "I just want to say that multiple levels of government are pitching in and working with us to solve the issue."

Dovolis believes the involved parties will still be able to close on their deal by the previously scheduled deadline.

"There’s great enthusiasm to get this done and get it solved," Dovolis finished. "I hope next summer or fall of 2025 you’re here for the grand opening celebration."