About Redesign

REDESIGN IS A NONPROFIT COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (CDC) ESTABLISHED IN 1969.

We are dedicated to improving the five neighborhoods of Greater Longfellow: Seward, Longfellow, Cooper, Howe, and Hiawatha in South Minneapolis. Redesign Inc. provides comprehensive community development services including housing and commercial real estate development, infrastructure advocacy, business development, and program administration. We sustain our work through philanthropic support, government contracts, and earned fees in real estate development.

 

OUR SERVICE AREA

Redesign Inc. is a geographically based CDC working in the five neighborhoods of Greater Longfellow in South Minneapolis. Our service area is bounded by Hiawatha Avenue (west), I-94 (north), and the Mississippi River (east).

 

OUR MISSION

Redesign builds economic justice in collaboration with the community by developing and sustaining affordable housing and commercial real estate, investing in entrepreneurs, and creating living wage jobs.

 

OUR VISION

Redesign envisions an inviting community woven together by collective community voice where housing is affordable for all and local businesses thrive.

 

OUR VALUES

Community-led: Making decisions that are led by people in place and intentionally centering those most impacted, being open to new ideas, and utilizing our expertise to work together to solve challenges and create opportunity.

Longevity: Guiding the work we do today with care for how it impacts future generations through resiliency; design choices; financial stewardship; and environmental sustainability, including preservation, to promote the overall health and wellbeing of current and future businesses and residents.

Opportunity: Prioritizing decisions, projects, and programs to increase community wealth, stability, and to promote racial and economic equity. (Please see our Racial Equity Statement.)

Integrity: Leading with transparency and respect for internal and external stakeholders, recognizing that all voices play a vital role in fulfilling our mission. Fostering a healthy work environment where staff feel they belong, are supported, and can grow their professional skills.

Reciprocity: Working in partnership across organizations and communities to coordinate strategies and build a united community development ecosystem will grow opportunity for under-invested communities throughout our region. We pair creativity and skill with an abundance mindset to benefit both our community and the field.

 

RACIAL EQUITY STATEMENT

Systemic racism, the theft of native land, and the historical marginalization of communities of color have produced deep inequities in wealth, well-being and investment in the prosperity of our community.

Redesign commits to contribute to the dismantling of racist policies and practices internally and externally in all areas of our work by actively centering the perspectives and interests of BIPOC communities. We will work to build a more just and equitable economy and built environment.

To this end we will work to:

  • Increase the diversity of our staff and board,
  • Build a healthier work culture,
  • Investing in work that creates opportunities for and helps build the wealth of BIPOC businesses and individuals.

Note: Redesign uses the term BIPOC, which stands for Black, Indigenous, People of Color. This term seeks to acknowledge that not all people of color face equal levels of injustice.

Redesign-Community-Map_NEW

Redesign’s Service Area Map, courtesy of the U of M’s Center for Urban & Regional Affairs (CURA).

MEET REDESIGN

Project Manager

Abby Romero

Executive Director

Andy Hestness

Senior Property Manager

Alan Petroski

Director, Property Development

Taylor Smrikarova

Project Manager

Abby Romero

Abby joined the Redesign team in 2021 and is responsible for leading housing and community focused redevelopment projects within Redesign’s service area. She knows what it takes to create healthy communities and has managed over $38MM of redevelopment at the intersection of affordable housing, arts and culture, transit and renewable energy. Abby’s great love is serving projects and programs that build social equity, create more just economic conditions, and meet community need. While much of her work has been in redevelopment, Abby believes that community power is intrinsic and needs no saviors. She works through an asset-based and equitable development lens to acknowledge the past, understand the present, and build a future with folks who have traditionally been left out of the development process. Prior to joining the Redesign team, Abby worked in shared mobility at HOURCAR and community and real estate development at PLACE. Abby holds a Bachelor of Design in Architecture from the University of Minnesota and is a Certified Professional Project Manager. She is seeking a Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development from Penn State and a Leadership in Affordable Housing Certificate from Hamline.

Email:abby@redesigninc.org

Phone:612.435.0279

Executive Director

Andy Hestness

Before becoming the Executive Director of Redesign, Andy has been both a staff member and a member of the Board of Directors at Seward Redesign. He has a long history with the Franklin Avenue corridor, having worked for both the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) and Redesign on the Franklin LRT Station area development and other community projects. Andy has a background in architecture, real estate, construction management and community development. 

Email:andy@redesigninc.org

Phone:612.435.0275

Senior Property Manager

Alan Petroski

Alan joined the Redesign team in 2015. He manages tenant leases and administration, monitors day-to-day operations of properties and implements construction improvement projects. Prior to joining Redesign, Alan worked for more than twenty years with tenants, owners, and brokers, managing, renovating, leasing and selling commercial and residential buildings throughout the metro area. Alan is a licensed real estate agent and a graduate of Metropolitan State University. 

Email:alan@redesigninc.org

Phone:612.435.0276

Director, Property Development

Taylor Smrikarova

Taylor joined the Redesign team in 2020. Her work is focused on the intersection of real estate development, architecture, urban-focused design and, community orientation. She believes that the development process itself adds beauty in creating occupiable art. Prior to joining the Redesign team, Taylor has worked in mixed-use development at The Excelsior Group; in both commercial real estate and architecture at THOR Companies and; office renovations at RSP Architects. She also worked in residential architecture at Nelson Architects; commercial mortgages at Capital One and; assisted homeowners during the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) after the 2008 crisis while at Dorner Law & Title Services. Her passion is real estate development that not only satisfies investors but also, uplifts end users from all walks of life. She values the full urban experience and gets excited about large & difficult mixed-use developments that feature mixed income housing. Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Northeastern University and a Master of Real Estate Development from the University of Maryland. 

Email:taylor@redesigninc.org

Phone:612.435.0278

MEET THE REDESIGN BOARD

Redesign’s volunteer Board of Directors is a vital part of our success. The majority of our board members live or work in the Longfellow community area. They bring to the organization many years of experience in community development, affordable housing, public service, urban planning, finance and lending, education, design, construction, neighborhood organizing, small business ownership, transit-oriented development, and nonprofit administration.

Adam Annis

Adam Annis

Secretary

Teshome Belayneh

Anna Growcott

Treasurer

Tadd Kelly

VP - Development

Claudia Klinkhammer

President

Sheldon Mains

Ewart Martens

Christine Diindiisi McCleave, M.A.

Lisa Middag

Abdullahi Mohamed

Abdullahi Mohamed

VP - Administration

Tony Scallon

Emily Kathrein Smoak

Adam Annis

Secretary

Teshome Belayneh

Teshome (Tesh) received a BS degree in Information Technology from the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and MS degree in Security Technologies (MSST) from the University of Minnesota.

He worked in the Information Technology field for over two decades including in Networking, Technical Support, PBX Management, EDI, and Cyber Security. Tesh also co-owns and runs Rebecca’s Bakery and Café along with his wife Asse in the Seward neighborhood since 2013.

“It is great honor and privilege to be a member of Redesign Inc. Board of Directors. It will be a tremendous opportunity to contribute to our community along the fine board members of Redesign Inc. and changing lives in a palpable way. I am passionate about the noble work of this great organization, the clear vision and mission of Redesign Inc for over half a century and continue to do the best service and life impacting projects to the Seward neighborhood and the surrounding community. I am ready to listen, learn, and support the board’s agenda with integrity, honesty, and
transparency along the experienced board members, and be a good team player whatever it takes to move forward in this organization’s vision. This will be once in a lifetime opportunity and a remarkable experience. It’s a delightful opportunity to learn and meet people in the organization and in the neighborhood at the same time giving back to the community”.

Anna Growcott

Anna is the Director of Artspace Consulting, a division of Artspace Projects, a national nonprofit developer for the arts. She consults with municipalities and arts organizations to help advance their plans for sustainable and affordable creative spaces. Prior to moving to Seward in 2012, she spent a decade living in China, New York City, and Australia, working in education and the performing arts. Anna also serves on the Board of Directors for ARENA Dances, a contemporary dance company in Minneapolis. 

Treasurer

Tadd Kelly

Tadd is a Vice President and Credit Manager/Team Lead at Wells Fargo in the SBA Lending Division. He joined Wells Fargo in 1990 and received his degree in Finance from the University of St. Thomas (1993). Tadd also secured his MBA in Finance and Strategic Management from the Carlson School at the University of Minnesota in 1996. Tadd’s work at Wells Fargo focuses on small business loans, including underwriting financing and interpreting financial statements for a wide variety of industry types, as well as managing construction loans. Tadd has previously volunteered with Nokomis Healthy Seniors, MN Red Ribbon Ride, Open Arms of MN, Habitat for Humanity and Feed My Starving Children. Tadd moved to Seward in 1998 and joined the Redesign Development Committee in June of 2012. 

VP - Development

Claudia Klinkhammer

Claudia is a Principal Project Manager in the Department of Planning and Economic Development at the
City of Saint Paul. Her work on the team covers a wide variety of areas including small business
development, property disposition, and major development sites. Prior to working in Saint Paul, she
spent over 7 years working in development with a focus on hospitality projects. Claudia is originally from
Milwaukee, WI and moved to Minnesota as a member of the Hewing Hotel project team in the North
Loop. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a BA in English and Women’s
Studies. She is a resident of the Howe neighborhood and enjoys reading, hiking, and camping with her
family.

President

Sheldon Mains

Sheldon provides consulting services to nonprofit organizations and foundations on technology, communications, management, and program transfers between organizations. Sheldon was a founder of SPOKES Bike Walk Connect, a program to promote biking and walking. His eclectic background also includes working on energy and environmental policy for three governors and six years of engineering design in the building industry. Sheldon has served as Chair of the Seward Neighborhood Group, the Twin Cities Media Alliance and the Minneapolis Telecommunications Network. He has also served on the Minneapolis Planning Commission, Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation, the Minneapolis Library Board and the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. Sheldon is currently Secretary/Treasurer of the Seward Towers Corporation board. He and his wife, Bev, have lived in their 98 year old home in Seward for over 30 years and just completed their first 5 year remodeling plan (25 years after starting it). 

Ewart Martens

Ewart is a co-owner of Mill City Builders, LLP, a design/build residential remodeling firm that has been in business since 1994. Mill City Builders specializes in renovations and additions to older homes in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The company combines an appreciation for the existing home with thoughtful design, solid workmanship, great attention to detail and quality materials. Ewart was originally from Germany, has been a resident in the US since 1988 and has lived in Seward since 1996. Ewart’s interest in Redesign stems from his wider interest in development issues, an interest in design and construction and a desire to impact the community in positive ways. 

Christine Diindiisi McCleave, M.A.

An enrolled citizen of Turtle Mountain Ojibwe Nation is the former Chief Executive Officer for the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. She is a leader and an activist for Indigenous Rights, advocating for truth, justice, and healing for the genocidal policy of U.S. Indian Boarding Schools. Diindiisi McCleave previously worked for Indian Land Tenure Foundation, has a master of arts in leadership from Augsburg University, and a bachelor of science in communication studies from Northwestern University. She has dedicated her life and work to pursuing truth and healing for the Indigenous survivors of historical and inter-generational trauma at the hands of colonialism and settler-states. She is one of the primary investigators for the “Child Removal in Native Communities: An Anonymous Survey,” and, recently, was instrumental in writing H.R.8420 – Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policy Act—the first bill ever introduced to for a commission addressing boarding school policy in the U.S. She is also a member of the Truth and Reconciliation working group for the City of Minneapolis.

Lisa Middag

Lisa Middag is an urban planner who collaborates with communities and artists to support equitable, vibrant, and sustainable public spaces through inclusive placemaking and intentional community development. Lisa is the Director of Nicollet Activation for the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District. She develops and implements an inclusive range of cultural experiences for daily users and visitors along the city’s historic pedestrian/transit mall. These efforts were rewarded in 2019, and again in 2021 with the International Downtown Association’s prestigious Pinnacle award for events and programming. She previously worked for Hennepin County Community Works and lead an effort to connect the Midtown Greenway bicycle trail to nearby cultural and commercial destinations through wayfinding and placemaking, as well as managed their federal Sustainable Communities grant program focused on transit oriented development. She is a member of the Project for Public Spaces Placemaking Leadership Council and was an Creative Community Leadership Institute fellow. She serves currently as Treasurer for Pollen Midwest, a media arts nonprofit that harnesses the power of narrative change to build towards a society that is free, just, and loving. She previously served on the Minneapolis Arts Commission and as Treasurer for Springboard for the Arts. She is a Certified Economic Development Finance professional (National Developers Council) and has an M.P.A. in urban and regional planning from the Humphrey School. She spent 10 years as the publications director and studio manager at the Walker Art Center.

Abdullahi Mohamed

VP - Administration

Tony Scallon

Tony currently serves on several charter school boards and is a vocational consultant to another. He is the retired superintendent for the Minnesota Transitions Charter School and its founder, and formerly served as Alternative Program Coordinator for the West St. Paul School District. Tony has previously served on the boards for the Longfellow Community Council, Federal Home Loan Bank and National Cooperative Bank, among others, and was a Minneapolis City Councilmember and a founder of Redesign. 

Emily Kathrein Smoak

Emily is a planner at the Minnesota Department of Health where she works to create equitable, active, and thriving communities through public health policy. Her love of community planning was first inspired during a cross-country bicycle tour where she experienced communities of all shapes and sizes at the pace of a pedal stroke. Prior to moving to Minneapolis, she lived in Seattle where she worked in the transportation and urban planning field. Outside of work Emily spends her time practicing yoga, riding bikes, and growing and cooking food at her home in Longfellow. Emily and her husband have two small kids that they hope will also share in their love of food, bicycling, and community. 

OUR HISTORY

REDESIGN (FORMERLY SEWARD WEST REDESIGN) GOT ITS START IN 1969

as an outgrowth of opposition to the “urban renewal” of Seward West and the proposed demolition of homes on Milwaukee Avenue.

THE EARLY YEARS: SEWARD WEST REDESIGN

In the late 1960s, the City of Minneapolis and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development prepared an urban renewal plan for the west half of the Seward neighborhood. The plan called for demolishing most of the homes in this working-class area, including what is now the Milwaukee Avenue Historic District, to provide land for new development.

2107 Milwaukee Avenue circa 1910 (photo courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society)

Milwaukee Avenue in 1974 (photo courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society)

However, in 1969 an ad hoc group of residents secured wide-spread neighborhood support to successfully fight the urban renewal plan. They went on to rehab or develop 42 units of housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families over the next five years, without an office or paid staff. These were the founders of what today is known as Redesign, Inc.

Modern Day Milwaukee Avenue circa 2007 (photo by Kate Madson)

From 1973 to 1985, Redesign successfully rehabilitated or constructed 164 units of affordable housing, valued at $7 million in 1994. The two Seward Towers, East and West, are a powerful example of the role that an organization like Redesign can play in the preservation of affordable housing.

In 1985, the Board of Directors decided to expand Redesign’s mission to address the broader economic development needs of the neighborhood. As a result, Redesign reorganized as a Community Development Corporation (CDC) under the State of Minnesota.

 

GEOGRAPHICALLY-BASED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Economic development includes a broad range of activity that improves the economic health of the community. As the CDC for the five neighborhoods of the Longfellow community, Redesign is an “engine” that drives four closely related aspects of local economic development: affordable housing, infrastructure planning and advocacy, commercial and industrial development, and neighborhood business district vitality.

While each of these aspects of our economy is equally important, progress in any one area depends to some extent on progress in each of the others. That’s why it’s important to have a community-based organization that can coordinate and manage economic development activity with the best interests of the neighborhood at heart. This is the role Redesign plays throughout Longfellow.

As a CDC, Redesign is a catalyst for change and an effective connection to resources in the Twin Cities community. Our effectiveness depends upon the strength of the partnerships we forge: with business and non-profits, with government agencies, and our community resources. Redesign nurtures deep, positive relationships with the Seward Neighborhood Group and the Longfellow Community Council. We assisted in the formation of the Seward Civic and Commerce Association, and work closely with the Longfellow Business Association.

Redesign’s work has transformed our neighborhoods’ commercial corridors: East Franklin Avenue, East Lake Street, and Minnehaha Avenue. Key real estate interventions such as project management of Seward Co-op’s expansion and relocation and redevelopment of 3300 East Lake (Sonora Grill and Repair Lair) have been catalytic. Those achievements are complemented by numerous smaller-scale projects such as façade grants, brokerage services, and design assistance. Because we are focused on specific geographic locations, Redesign can support these vibrant, stable business districts that are a huge part of what makes our community a great place to live and do business.

Today, Redesign owns and manages 105,000 square feet of space at 9 commercial properties, home to 44 diverse tenants, 77% of them owned by women, immigrants, and/or people of color. In the last ten years alone, we have developed and preserved 776 units of affordable housing. With a focus on women, immigrants, and people of color-owned enterprises, Redesign has recruited dozens of new businesses, provided seven low-interest revolving loans, and overseen 80+ façade improvement grants, among other types of support.

We encourage you to explore more of our history and accomplishments:

CONTACT US