A historical building is being revived to give new life to the Camden Community

Anissa Nicole Keye (center) and family studying the building’s design plan.

This article was written by Amanda Dobbs

Back in the day, you’d find a young Anissa Nicole Keyes kicking a red rubber ball way into the sky then flying around the bases of the field at Lincoln Park. Many weekends were spent at the skating rink on Plymouth, while weekdays were meant for student life at North High. The highlight of the summers was Juneteenth, where the community came together to remember the past and celebrate the future’s possibilities. 

It seemed only natural to Anissa that she would invest in this community; she is proudly a Northsider for Life. She noticed that some people would succeed and then leave for other neighborhoods. According to Anissa, “North Minneapolis is the SPOT. We have so much richness and culture. I love it! I love the people. I see resilience and strength. We are powerful! Why would I do this anywhere else? This is the place that molded me and this is the place that I will invest in; give back to the place that has loved on me.”

Black owned businesses need more professional spaces and many BIPOC entrepreneurs don’t often have access to the best spaces, Anissa intends on changing that. She is working with others to put extra effort in protecting sacred spaces that are being built. She said it’s time to build a network where we create spaces where we check each other and check on each other. The historic building on 42nd and Lyndale will become a healthy and vibrant space, it will not feed from the community, rather, this property will generate wealth for the community. Anissa encourages the neighborhood to reclaim this space.

The Northside is abuzz with excitement over this development. Many are curious what is to become of the spaces, especially the ballroom. Anissa says she currently has plans to rehab all the spaces except for the ballroom. She knows something “grand” should be in that space and she would love community input. This building was home to a bank, a gym, a coffee shop, a barber shop, a cafe, as well as many other businesses. This building holds memories for many, and Anissa would love to hear some stories about how this place has shaped the lives of community members. Collecting and sharing stories is one way we can pay homage to the past and move into the future. If you would like to stay up to date with what is happening with this project look for the creation of the “Northside Epicenter” page online, also look for more updates from Anissa Nicole Keyes on different social media platforms.

The demolition and construction at 42nd and Lyndale have already begun. The old signs were taken down and a new “for rent’ sign is up. The timeline for renovation is flexible but the work on the basement should be done by sometime in March, this will allow the current tenants to reside there while the elevator is being built. The process of building an elevator should take approximately 14 weeks. By April, renovation on the second and third floor will begin. Look for more details about the grand opening celebration this summer. Anissa knows the success of this endeavor relies on creating a space that is community owned, she said it would be fabulous if Northsiders apply but is not a qualification. There is already much excitement from current tenants and much interest from prospective renters.

When we drive down Lyndale or come up over the Camden Bridge, we see this elegant historical brick building with the stone columns on either side of the front entrance. Anissa Nicole Keyes wants us to know that this is just the beginning. She wants us to envision hope. Hope for our future because she knows we can do this differently. We can celebrate the vibrant history of this community while working to create a neighborhood where vivid joyful memories will be made by future generations.